UMN LGBT program's non-white description disappears
University of Minnesota (UMN) officials are pushing back against previous media coverage of “Tongues Untied,” a program reserved exclusively for, “People of Color who identify as LGBTQIA and/or Same-Gender-Loving,” proclaiming there has been “confusion about” and “misrepresentation” of the group, and that “all members of the University community” are welcome.
However, quietly and unannounced, the description of Tongues Untied on the university’s website has been edited, removing a key disclaimer that made it clear that Tongues Untied is not intended for white and/or straight students.
“For our allies: we do appreciate your voices and commitment to dismantling racism and homophobia; however, please note that this is a space created for LGBTQIA and/or same-gender-loving people of color,” the now disappeared disclaimer read.
UMN is a public, four-year university, and Tongues Untied is run by the school’s “Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life (GSC).”
“In the past week, there has been some confusion about and misrepresentation of one of our initiatives, Tongues Untied, sponsored by the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life,” Dr. Katrice Albert, UMN Vice President of the Office for Equity and Diversity, wrote in a statement via the GSC’s Facebook page.
“Tongues Untied is a group that provides educational and social opportunities and spaces for students, staff and faculty who identify as queer indigenous people and people of color (QIPOC). This program is designed to enhance and center the experiences of queer indigenous people and people of color. It is open to all members of the University community,” the statement continued.
Dr. Albert currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer at UMN. She previously served as the Chief Diversity Officer at Louisiana State University for eight years.
Campus Reform reached out to Dr. Katrice Albert to determine why the description for Tongues Untied had been altered, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for UMN provided the following statement to Campus Reform:
"It is disingenious [sic] to say that because Tongues Untied is specifically geared toward a particular audience it is therefore automatically exclusionary or discriminatory of another. The language you reference was meant to inform potentially interested individuals about the focus of the group - to provide educational and social opportunities and spaces for students, staff, and faculty who identify as queer indigenous people and people of color (QIPOC) - and appeared on the Tongues Untied page for several years without any concerns being shared with the university. However, a change was made to further clarify that it is open to all members of the university community."
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