NC State admin proposes exclusive housing for 'women of color'

The new Director of Multicultural Student Affairs at North Carolina State University recently pledged to create a segregated housing option for “women of color” only.

Nashia Whittenburg, who was hired by NC State less than a month ago, shared her plans to create the housing option for female minority students in a university news release published Tuesday, adding that she plans to submit an official proposal for the housing option by February 2018.

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“The point and purpose is if you are a Latina and you are an engineering major, with a very specific specialization, you may not ever see anybody who looks like you,” Whittenburg explained. “But when you come home, here is your opportunity to get some support and to deal with some of the microaggressions you might have had to deal with throughout your entire day when you’ve been at class.”

While NC State already has two housing options for racial minorities—one exclusively for black males and another for Native American students—the school does not currently have one for female racial minority students, hence Whittenburg’s proposal.

Executive Director of University Relations Fred Hartman told Campus Reform that NC State has 16 different “living and learning villages” for students, and while he claimed that the applications for each one are “open to any student,” he did not answer whether an applicant’s race would factor into admission decisions.

Hartman also declined to explain to Campus Reform how the segregated housing options are funded.

Whittenburg was hired to manage the school’s Multicultural Affairs Office, which plays host to events such as the “Tunnel of Oppression” (an interactive experience of intersectional oppression) and a “Multicultural Graduation Ceremony.”

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In the news release, Whittenburg also discussed her plans to retain more African American and Latina students, and plans to host discussions on campus about “multiculturalism” and “ race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexuality” with students when they return from summer break.

She also plans to continue hosting celebrations such as “Latino Heritage Month,” and “Native American Heritage Month” while working to meet student demands for new programming.

While she is already aware of potential steps to promote multiculturalism on campus, such as “taking diversity into account when hiring or developing curricula,” Whittenburg solicited input from colleagues with ideas for additional initiatives, noting that faculty members and staff often have insights that she lacks.

Whittenburg did not respond to a request for comment on her proposal to to create another racially segregated dorm option from Campus Reform.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen