The University of Michigan-Dearborn has issued an apology after being called out for giving white students a safe space to discuss being white.
Earlier this week, the school’s Center for Social Justice & Inclusion hosted a Zoom session where Black, Indigenous, and people of color were assigned one group, while another was meant for “non-POC” in an effort to “gather and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as non-POC in the world.”
As with most awful ideas, students screenshot the explanation of this idea on Michigan’s IG story before sharing it to Twitter, which led to immediate criticism.
So, naturally, the University of Michigan-Dearborn apologized for trying to segregate their student body in 2020.
“The original intent was to provide students from marginalized communities a space that allowed for them to exist freely without having to normalize their lives and experiences, while also providing students that do not identify as persons of color the opportunity to deepen their understanding of race and racism without harming or relying on students of color to educate them,” Beth Marmarelli, the school’s Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, explained in a statement, via FOX News. “The events were never intended to be exclusive or exclusionary for individuals of a certain race. Both events were open to all members of the UM-Dearborn campus community.”
Marmarelli added that while anyone could attend either group, the intent behind the event was to “create opportunities for all students to discuss their life experiences openly and honestly – for some, this might be an emotional experience.”