Binghamton defends '#StopWhitePeople2K16' event for RA's

An event entitled “#StopWhitePeople2K16” was an official part of Binghamton University Residential Assistant training on August 12.

The training aimed to “take the next step in understanding diversity, privilege, and the society we function within,” according to the description.

The Binghamton administration defended the training, noting that it was optional.

“I have no indication that this particular program was inconsistent with the respectful environment we hope to support and sustain,” Brian Rose, Binghamton University’s Vice President of Student Affairs, said in a statement.

Rose asserted that the program was not “‘anti-white,’” and was simply a “discussion” which “explored reverse racism, the relationship of communities of color with police, whiteness, crime, and segregation in an open conversation format.”

Rose also wrote that the hashtag “is commonly used ironically,” adding that “as the senior student affairs officer on campus,” he is “supportive of the students’ efforts to facilitate dialogue around a challenging set of topics.”

According to one Residential Assistant who attended the meeting, the discussion itself was not harmful or offensive.

The RA, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the typical topics discussed during RA training “include policy, mindset as an RA, effective communication, and inclusion.”

“[The #StopWhitePeople2K16] hashtag was used because it’s what people on the Internet used to counter discussions about white privilege, and a lot of the controversy behind black and white conflict is expressed through the internet,” said the RA.

When asked about whether or not they had seen the official response from the Student Affairs office, the RA said they had not, and when asked to comment on the statement that the “hashtag is commonly used ironically,” the RA stated they “do not know how to interpret this statement.”

The RA concluded if the event is to be included in future Residential Assistant trainings, the presenters should “probably change the name so people get mad less,” but remained firm in insisting that “this discussion should continue or similar discussion should come about as it was very engaging, helpful, and thought provoking.”

Binghamton University, also known as SUNY Binghamton, is part of the State University of New York system.

This article was originally published in Binghamton Review, a conservative student newspaper affiliated with the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished here with permission.

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