Univ. of Vermont holds privilege retreat for students who 'self-identify as white'

The University of Vermont held a three-day retreat so students could confront their “white privilege.”

The University of Vermont held a three-day retreat so students who “self-identify as white” could confront their own “white privilege.”

“Examining White Privilege: A Retreat for Undergraduate Students Who Self-Identify as White” took place last weekend, November 13-15, and was “specifically for white students.”

According to the university, the self-identifying white students who attend the retreat will come to “recognize and understand white privilege from an individual experience” and have the opportunity to “conceptualize and articulate whiteness from a personal and systematic lense as well as the impact of white privilege on the UVM community and beyond.”

The self-identifying white students also tackled tough questions such as “What does it mean to be white?” and “How does whiteness impact you?”

The university website features testimonials from past attendees of the retreat, who praised the way the event was a “safe space.”

According to the school’s website, the University of Vermont offered the retreat at no cost to its privileged white students, covering all expenses including meals. The retreat was hosted at the Common Ground Family Center in Starksboro, Vermont. The center advertises its use of solar power and “green construction projects” on its website, and offers its services for everything from family reunions to civil unions.

The University of Vermont does host a retreat for “women of color” as well but it focuses on building leadership rather than confronting one’s own privileges. Aside from the women of color retreat, the university does not appear to offer similar race-specific retreats.

Additionally, the university’s Center for Cultural Pluralism recommends various readings for its students, including "The Invention of the White Race," "White Privilege, Male Privilege in Race, Class, Gender," "The Feminist Classroom," and "The Abolition of Whiteness."

Campus Reform previously reported on a similar conference held at Mount St. Mary’s Los Angeles, which was also specifically intended to help white students confront their privilege.

The University of Vermont did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.

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