Elon University is slated to host a weekly “white caucus” meeting for white students to “unpack race and systemic oppression.”
According to a letter obtained by Young America’s Foundation, the North Carolina university’s school of education will put on a white-only caucus every Tuesday night.
“A white caucus is a space for white-identifying individuals to engage in conversations that unpack race and systemic oppression,” the email reads. “White caucuses allow white-identifying [sic] allies to have these conversations in a way that does not burden or re-traumatize people of color.”
“White caucuses give white people a space to learn about and process their awareness of and complicity in unjust systems without harming their friends of color.”
The caucus was branded to students as a coalition of white people serious about rectifying past racial injustices. It described white caucusing as “one part of a lifelong and multifaceted commitment to antiracism for white-identifying people who are passionate about racial justice.”
According to a Google Form obtained by Young America’s Foundation, interested students were required to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they would not share the content of meetings with an outsider. This includes recording, taking photos, posting about the group on social media, and even “talking negatively about others outside of the caucus.”
Racially segregated events on college campuses have increased in the name of racial justice. Many of the events claim to be “safe spaces” for people of color to avoid hearing white voices that may offend them. A 2019 report from the National Association of Scholars discovered numerous instances of campuses segregating residence halls, commencement ceremonies, cultural centers, alumni groups, and classes on the basis of race.
At the University of Florida, Ph.D. students in the anthropology department hosted a segregated virtual town hall that barred white students from attending. At the University of Kentucky, Resident Assistants were separated into two training groups. “One for RAs who identify as Black, Indigenous, Person of Color, and one for RAs who identify as White.”
Even smaller universities have succumbed to the pressure to racially segregate. A satellite campus for the University of Michigan hosted segregated online student “cafes” intended to spark discussions about race. One was for students of color and the other was for “non-person of color” students. The university has since apologized.
Such events have drawn the attention of the federal government. In Oct. 2020, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) penned a letter to the Department of Justice calling for an investigation into racially segregated campus events.
Both the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the University of Kentucky were listed in the letter.
The two Republicans wrote that they believe schools that host racially segregated events may be violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination at taxpayer-funded institutions.