UI cries fake news while canceling 'whiteness' event

  • The University of Iowa canceled its "Understanding Your Whiteness" event.
  • The school says it scrapped the event, in part, because the media "misconstrued" it.
  • However, Campus Reform and other outlets merely quoted the university's own description.

The University of Iowa canceled an event, titled, "Understanding Your Whiteness," after questions over what content it would have presented.

Campus Reform initially reported on the event in November. Following that reporting, at least one Iowa state lawmaker raised concern over how the event was being marketed to students. 

"the university needed to do additional work to educate our broader community and stakeholders about the purpose of these events, which has been misconstrued by online publications..."   

“The name got our attention. There are some things in the name that can cause red flags or raise questions about what is this about,” Republican state Rep. Steve Holt told the Cedar Rapids Gazette recently. 

But university spokeswoman Jeneane Beck didn't acknowledge anything wrong with the event itself. Rather, she cited how the event had been "misconstrued" by the media.

Campus Reform's reporting at the time merely quoted the university's own description of the event. 

A university spokesperson told another online outlet that "after receiving feedback from some campus partners, we realized we may have been unclear with our language and have since updated the description to more directly align with the workshop’s learning goals."

[RELATED: Univ of Iowa invites students to reflect on their 'whiteness']

“In preparing for this year’s workshops, it became clear the university needed to do additional work to educate our broader community and stakeholders about the purpose of these events, which has been misconstrued by online publications,” Beck said. “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leadership became concerned that the confusion and misinformation surrounding the title of workshops could mar the event for this year’s attendees." 

"As a result, the workshops for this spring were canceled to give the university the necessary time to meet with concerned stakeholders and address any concerns or misperceptions," Beck added, according to the Gazette

Some of that "confusion" could stem from the university changing the description of the event back in the fall. 

[RELATED: Calif. students learn ‘construction of whiteness’]

“This interactive workshop is for people who want to learn about and discuss the inherent privileges that come with being White. This can be the first step to eliminating false diversity and assuming greater personal responsibility for eliminating racism," the original event description read. The university later altered the latter part of the description to read, “this can be the first step for self-reflection and assuming greater personal responsibility for eliminating racism."

About 100 people were registered to attend the February event. The university held a similar event during the fall semester, which also drew about 100 people, according to the Gazette. 

Follow the author of this article on Facebook: @JonStreetDC and Twitter: @JonStreet



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Jon Street
Jon Street | Managing Editor

Jon Street is a news editor for Campus Reform. Six years ago, Jon cut his reporting teeth fresh out of college as an intern at Media Research Center's CNSNews.com, where he interviewed multiple members of Congress and former presidential candidates. From there, he went on to complete a stint at Watchdog.org, where his exclusive, investigative work was picked up or cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, National Review, and the Drudge Report, among others. More recently, Jon spent three years as an assistant editor at TheBlaze.com. In his free time, Jon enjoys trying new coffeehouses around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and traveling back to his home state of Missouri to spend time with his family.

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