MA college offers voluntary segregation for 'historically marginalized' students

A Massachusetts college allows students to reside in “identity-based” housing communities, provided they have a “unique social identity” that has “historically experienced oppression.”

“These residential spaces give support to members of our community with social identities that have been historically marginalized in this country, and strive to counter systemic oppression,” Hampshire College explains on its website, adding that its promotion of such living arrangements “arises from our commitment to fostering diverse, socially just, and inclusive communities.”

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An accompanying informational booklet further elaborates that “identity-based housing is an institutional structure designed to assist members of historically oppressed groups in supporting each other,” and “helps to create an added level of psychological comfort and safety for those who choose to live in those spaces, often providing the foundation for those students to be able to engage fully in the greater community.”

One section of the identity-based housing program consists of “permanent” mods, covering categories such as LGBTQQIAAP, Queer, Students of Color, and Women of Color. The “not-yet-permanent” mods include Marginalized Gender Identities, Asian Heritage, and Pan-Afrikan Diasporia [sic].

Students can also apply to establish new identity-based mods, though all such groups “must be unified by a social identity (such as race, culture, gender, or sexual orientation)” and “must currently experience or [have] historically experienced oppression within or outside the Hampshire community.”

Identity-based housing arrangements are part of Hampshire’s “intentional housing communities,” many of which are based on shared interests rather than demographic qualities, and all of which must hold two educational programs per semester related to their particular focus.

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The Musician’s Mod, for instance, contains “a group of students who intend to create an inclusive, respectful, and encouraging environment for music lovers, creators, and listeners of all shapes and sizes.”

The Mindfulness Mod, meanwhile, fosters “a space where students support one another to be mindful and cultivate moment-by-moment, non-judgmental, focused attention and awareness.”

“Self-identified Womyn” can congregate at the Spiritual Womyn’s Mod, “a collective space to support and guide spiritual paths and encourage the mindful growth of the Hampshire community,” which advertises that “female and/or female self-identified continuing students [are] welcome to apply.”

Spokespersons for Hampshire College had not responded by press time to requests for comment from Campus Reform.

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