Student ‘study group’ to address ‘depravity of whiteness’

St. John’s College in Santa Fe recently promoted a new “study group” for “those who most often exhibit racist and sexist behavior—white males.”

According to correspondences obtained by Campus Reform, the study group was advertised in a campus-wide email forwarded to all students and faculty, explicitly encouraging white people to attend four sessions on privilege so they can “begin to be self-critical.”

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“This is a group where those who most often exhibit racist and sexist behavior–white males–can begin to be self-critical of the very dangerous, brutal, and depraved hierarchical pathologies of superiority, supremacy, and inferiority handed down to us by white Euro-American institutions,” an email advertising the study group elaborates.

Participants will apparently deal with two main problems, those being “the depravity of whiteness and the brutality of masculinity.”

“The main topic for discussion will be an ongoing one: How do we deal with the depravity of whiteness and the brutality of masculinity? How can we get to the root of this problem?” the announcement confirms.

The email goes on to explain that members of the study group will “read about and discuss the privilege of white people (especially white males), patriarchy, sexism, and racism in the neoliberal capitalist empire of the United States of America,” warning prospective attendees that “the discussions will be graphic and contain graphic material.”

According to SJC’s website, “members of the community, both students and faculty, often come together to form extracurricular study groups on various topics of interest.”

In this case, the email announcing the study group’s formation was forwarded to both the student and faculty listservs for SJC’s Santa Fe campus by Maggie Reitz-Wells using her SJC email address. Campus Reform was unable to determine whether the original sender was a student or an employee, and has therefore redacted the individual’s name and email address.

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The individual who provided the email to Campus Reform indicated that Reitz-Wells is an employee in the Office of Student Life, an assertion corroborated by a LinkedIn profile referring to her as the Student Life Office Manager, but no listing for her could be found on the school’s website.

Campus Reform reached out to Reitz-Wells for comment, and received a reply of sorts from Assistant Dean Jan Arsenault, who demanded to know “who are you and how did you obtain a copy of an email sent in-house?”

When Campus Reform responded to her queries, Arsenault sent a perfunctory reply stating that she is “not interested” in providing any comment.

Campus Reform has contacted the SJC personnel office to inquire further into Reitz-Wells’ role at the college, but has not yet received a response.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski