UMaine charges hefty fee for online diversity training

UMaine’s Hutchinson Center, whose purpose is to serve as an educational and cultural resource center to the mid-Coast region of Maine, will sponsor the program.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter Movement, several colleges have offered similar diversity training to UMaine’s program, but without a fee.

The University of Maine is set to host a virtual diversity training program that will cost attendees $95. 

The program, titled “Racial Equity, Implicit Bias & Diversity Training,” is designed to help participants deepen “awareness around racial equity, implicit bias and diversity” and help them reflect on how they can take “meaningful action to create a more equitable world,” according to UMaine. 

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The school’s Hutchinson Center, which serves as an educational and cultural resource center to the mid-Coast region of Maine, is sponsoring the program, while David Patrick and Desiree Vargas, the co-founders of the race awareness group Racial Equity and Justice, are instructing the five-hour-long session. 

Topics covered in the program will include equitable program solving, how to hire and retain a diverse staff, strategies for addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as reflection and self-awareness around identity and privilege.

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In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, several colleges have offered similar diversity training sessions, but without a fee. For instance, Vanderbilt held “Disrupting Everyday Bias” workshops on a monthly basis throughout the fall. Boston University holds regular diversity training workshops. Neither Vanderbilt nor Boston University, however, have fees associated with their program, which are available to anyone within the schools’ communities. 

Some colleges have even made diversity training available to anyone who seeks it.

Western Nevada College offers eight diversity training courses free of charge to any attendee, regardless of their affiliation with the school. 

Harvard’s Project Implicit is cited by some universities in their bias training workshops because of its Implicit Association Test, which is said to help people identify attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report surrounding race and gender. 

The test is free and open to anyone to take online. 

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Hutchinson Center Conference & Professional Development Coordinator Michelle Patten told Campus Reform that the fee related to its session exists since it is a Professional Development program not just offered to those at UMaine, but available to those within the surrounding region. The cost also helps to cover the cost of the instructors for the program, according to the center. 

Current UMaine students qualify for a 20 percent discount while those from the surrounding area who plan on using the skills to help benefit the community are encouraged to apply for a need-based scholarship, according to the session webpage. 

The virtual program will take place on March 5. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AlexCorey320