Students call out university for its 'power and privilege’ workshop

Ohio University is set to host multiple workshops next month, one of which will focus on 'power and privilege.'

One student called the workshop 'random.'

Ohio University (OU) is hosting a workshop on August 11 for staff to learn about “power and privilege.”

The event, focused on “co-creating equitable, inclusive campus environments at Ohio University,” is part of a larger series of workshops being coordinated by OU’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion.

The Aug. 11 training session will focus on providing participants with opportunities to explore their individual social identities and their relationship to power and privilege, expand understanding of bias (implicit and explicit), and identify ways to engage respectfully across differences and strategies for interrupting/intervening when they witness bias behaviors occurring,” the university announcement reads.

The workshop will be led by Dr. Kathy Obear, who has a history of facilitating inclusivity and diversity initiatives at OU.

“I am even more passionate and committed to helping organizations create inclusive, equitable environments where all people feel valued, respected and challenged to continuously deepen their capacity to effectively meet the needs of the increasingly diverse populations they serve,” Obear writes on her professional website.

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Obear has also published multiple books on inclusivity and diversity, including ...But I’m Not Racist! Tools for Well-Meaning Whites.

Campus Reform spoke with multiple Ohio University students about the upcoming workshop.

“Seems a little random to me because I have never had an interaction with a faculty member that would portray that description,” OU student Matthew Edwards told Campus Reform.

Edwards is a member of OU’s College of Business, in which he hasn’t “seen anything that would exemplify power or privilege.”

Another OU student, who requested to remain anonymous, called out his university for hosting a workshop like this.

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According to the source, students are also required to take similar trainings every two years.

“I think educators shouldn’t be put in a class that teaches them about power and privilege, wasting their time on something that they should be trying to become better educators,” the student told Campus Reform.

He added, “I also don’t want to be seen as having power and privilege because even though I come from a nice white family and have nice things, I don’t act or treat it as such.”

Campus Reform reached out to Ohio University, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and Dr. Kathy Obear for comment, but did not receive a response. 

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