The Department had its origins in the demands of students and others in the Third World Liberation Front on campus in 1969 for scholarly programs that would focus on the understudied histories and situations of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicanos and Native Americans. In response to these demands--as well as to a resolution from the faculty Senate--four programs where established, with comparative Ethnic Studies added subsequently. The programs’ intellectual rationale was grounded on the presumption that racially marginalized groups were not, and could not be, adequately represented or theorized in the existing disciplines (a rationale that remains very much at the heart of Ethnic Studies to this day). While student strikers initially proposed the creation of a Third World College, a number of factors have made that project impossible on campus to date. Of the different ethnic studies programs, African American Studies became a separate department in the College of Letters and Science in 1974. The Ethnic Studies Graduate Group was founded by faculty members of the Ethnic Studies and African American Studies departments in 1984.