Texas Tech University has said it canceled a so-called anti-racism seminar that segregated students by race.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that the university said it had canceled the seminar after the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) revealed the segregation through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
“Upon reviewing materials from the ‘Deeply Rooted Conversations’ discussion series, we learned that some of the content does not align with our university values, and we have discontinued this program,” Texas Tech spokesman Matt Dewey told the Caller.
YAF’s Kara Zupkus reported on Thursday that the organization had received documents showing Texas Tech segregated its students by race during “anti-racism” training. Video footage revealed by YAF showed Mica Curtis-Wilson, who the Caller reported is no longer employed at the university, telling students and faculty to separate according to skin color. The groups were referred to as the “BIPOC affinity space” and the “Ally affinity space.” The groups were part of the “Allyship and Co-Conspirator” session of the training, which was called the “Deeply Rooted Conversations.”
“We are breaking up into two separate rooms just to facilitate conversation…and also to allow those who identify with each other to be able to communicate ways in which we can be better allies in different spaces,” Curtis-Wilson said in the video.
“If I accidentally move you to the wrong room please just let me know,” she added, saying she was segregating students based on their registration. “The point of this is to be able to identify how we experience these concepts and ideas and deeply listen to others and how they understand these ideas.”
Students were also segregated during the “Understanding Whiteness and White Allyship” and the “Racial Battle Fatigue” sessions. More from YAF:
During the “Understanding Whiteness and White Allyship” session, TTU administrators listed law enforcement as an example of “white supremacy.”
Another aspect of the training asked students and faculty to reflect on “When have my racist ideas and actions affected others?” and “How have I benefitted from my privilege…?”
In addition to law enforcement, “immigration laws,” and “service institutions” as examples of white supremacy.
YAF said it obtained the information through the FOIA request after a student tipped them off. Dewey, the university spokesman, defended the trainings by calling them “optional educational opportunity conversations.”
“When they registered, they self-identified…if they wanted to switch they could do that at any time,” he reportedly told YAF.
“This was an opportunity for people to discuss their individual experiences both on our campus and in their lives more broadly. I think in a lot of these situations it’s kind of a personal reflection and then they come back together and kind of discuss within the broader group,” he added.
Dewey later told the Caller that the seminar “was not part of the sanctioned academic curriculum at Texas Tech University.”
“It was a series of strictly voluntary, optional discussions offered as part of a pilot program to students who were interested in participating through the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,” he added.
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