Public university to host retreat solely for ‘Women of Color’

Toni Airaksinen
New York Senior Campus Correspondent

  • The University of Vermont offers students of color several racially segregated events, including an upcoming "Women of Color Leadership Retreat" and a "Sisterhood Circle" exclusively for women of color.
  • For students who "self-identify as while," on the other hand, the university hosts an annual "Examining White Identity Retreat" so participants can examine their "white privilege."
  • The University of Vermont will soon host a leadership retreat exclusively for “women of color” to participate in “self-care.”

    The “Women of Color Leadership Retreat”—open only to non-white, female students, faculty and staff—will be held November 3 to November 5, and was launched under a partnership between the school’s Women’s Center and Student Center in a collaborative effort “to celebrate our women of color and to help women grow in their leadership journey.”

    "We hope to encourage the community to develop positive self-care habits."   

    [RELATED: UMN safe space only for ‘same-gender-loving people of color]

    During the retreat, participants will “proudly take ownership of  [their] unique identities as women of color from varying cultures, gender expressions, religions, spiritualities, sexual orientations, and backgrounds” through discussion and group activities.

    “We hope to encourage the community to develop positive self-care habits that will positively affect our academic and co-curricular experience and strengthen our connection to, and impact on campus,” an overview of the retreat explains.

    With a focus on leadership development, the retreat promises a to provide a safe space for attendees to “find meaning, healing, love, and trust” together, and ultimately to “strengthen [their] connection to, and impact on campus.”

    [RELATED: College awarded $1.2 mil for ‘women of color’ activists only]

    Although it remains unclear where the three-day retreat will be held, it appears that significant travel may be involved, since the organizers warn that “it may be up to 10 degrees colder at the retreat site” than on campus.

    Notably, the university will also hold an “Examining White Identity Retreat” later this year for students who “self-identify as white,” which previous attendees have hailed as a “safe space” to learn about “social justice” and “white privilege.”

    [RELATED: UVM holds privilege retreat for students who ‘self-identify as white’]

    Both retreats are part of the school’s extensive efforts to support students of color on campus, with the school offering resources such as “Sisterhood Circle,” a discussion group that describes itself as a “safe space” for women of color, and “Racial Aikido,” an annual retreat for students of color.

    Campus Reform reached out to the University of Vermont for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Senior Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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