UMich hosts space for 'students that do not identify as persons of color'
- The University of Michgan Dearborn Center for Social Justice and Inclusion hosted a "Non-POC Cafe" event, as well as a "BIPOC Cafe" event.
- The events were meant to bring students together to discuss their lives as "Non-POC" and "BIPOC" students.
- The university has since taken down the event descriptions and "regrets" how they described the event.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn Center for Social Justice and Inclusion hosted a “Non-POC Cafe” virtual event on Tuesday, as well as a "BIPOC Cafe" to "discuss their experience as students on campus." The bi-monthly "Non-POC Cafe" is described on the website as “a space for students that do not identify as persons of color to gather and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as non-POC in the world.”
Similarly, the "BIPOC Cafe" was described as "a space for student [sic] from marginalized racial/ethnic/cultural communities to gather and relate with one another."
"Feel free to drop in and unwind, meet other students of color, discuss your experiences as persons of color, and hopefully brainstorm solutions to common issues within the BIPOC community," the description stated.
Both event descriptions were taken off of the university website before the time of publication.
“This is a lot of words to convey ‘whites only,’” Commentary Magazine Associate Editor Noah Rothman wrote on Twitter. “And all in the name of social justice.”
This is a lot of words to convey “whites only.” And all in the name of social justice. pic.twitter.com/SM6wN3RHlk— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) September 9, 2020
The event description invited students to "feel free to drop in and discuss your experiences as non-persons of color and hopefully brainstorm solutions to common issues within the non-POC community."
According to the website, both virtual cafes would meet twice a month.
The “Non-POC” event was the counterpart to a “BIPOC Cafe” for “students from marginalized racial/ethnic/cultural communities to gather and to relate with one another and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as people of color in the world,” according to an official UM-Dearborn Instagram Story post that has since been removed.
The University of Michigan Dearborn issued a statement Wednesday stating that it regrets how the event was described.
“UM-Dearborn sincerely regrets the terms used to describe the 'cafe' events held on September 8. The terms used to describe these virtual events and the descriptions themselves were not clear and not reflective of the university’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion," the statement read. “As campus activities continue to operate in a predominantly remote capacity due to COVID-19, our Center for Social Justice and Inclusion has looked to develop virtual spaces that allow for these important conversations to continue."
“The 'cafes' were virtual open conversations developed to allow students the opportunity to connect to process current events, share their experiences related to race, share knowledge and resources and brainstorm solutions," the university continued.
The school stated that the events were "never intended to be exclusive or exclusionary for individuals of a certain race," and added that all members of the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus community could have attended.
Beth Marmarelli, the executive director of communications and marketing at the University of Michigan-Dearborn told Campus Reform that the event listings have been removed and are currently being "reevaluated."
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