The University of Michigan-Dearborn hosted racially segregated events on Tuesday, one for “Non-POC,” and the other for “BIPOC” (Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color) students. During the two racially segregated “cafes,” the groups were encouraged to “discuss their experience as students on campus.” The university now says that it “sincerely regrets” describing the cafes as “Non-POC” and “BIPOC” events.
“The Non-POC (People Of Color) Cafe is a space for students that do not identify as persons of color to gather and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as non-POC in the world,” read the event description on the university’s website. Although the university has since pulled the relevant pages off their website, archives of the information pages exist.
“Feel free to drop in and discuss your experiences as non-persons of color and hopefully brainstorm solutions to common issues within the non-POC community,” added the description.
The school’s website went on to explain that the “non-POC” event will not be the only of its kind, and will appear as a bi-monthly event, occurring on the first Tuesday of every other month.
“The Cafe will be facilitated by a non-POC faculty/staff member to ensure that discussions are kept safe and respectful,” the description added.
Conversely, the school also hosted a “BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color) Cafe on Tuesday.
“The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color) Cafe is a space for student from marginalized racial/ethnic/cultural communities to gather and to relate with one another and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as people of color in the world,” the website states. The site for the “BIPOC” cafe was also pulled down by the school, but is available in archive format.
Like the “Non-POC” event, students were encouraged to “drop in” and discuss their experiences as members of a BIPOC community.
“Feel free to drop in and unwind, meet other students of color, discuss your experiences as persons of color, and hopefully brainstorm solutions to common issues within the BIPOC community.”
The BIPOC Cafe will also be hosted bi-monthly on the first Tuesday of every other month, and like the Non-POC event, will be facilitated by members of their own community “to ensure that discussions are kept safe and respectful.”
Breitbart News reached out to the University of Michigan-Dearborn to request comment on why it endorses segregation, and how this advances the academic mission of the university.
“UM-Dearborn sincerely regrets the terms used to describe the “cafe” events held on September 8,” said a university spokesperson to Breitbart News. “The terms used to describe these virtual events and the descriptions themselves were not clear and not reflective of the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
The spokesperson continued:
University of Michigan-Dearborn is committed to fostering and maintaining an inclusive campus environment and encourages ongoing dialogue amongst our students, faculty and staff on challenging issues. As campus activities continue to operate in a predominantly remote capacity due to COVID-19, our Center for Social Justice and Inclusion has looked to develop virtual spaces that allow for these important conversations to continue.
The “cafes” were virtual open conversations developed to allow students the opportunity to connect to process current events, share their experiences related to race, share knowledge and resources and brainstorm solutions. 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.
To ensure that these spaces were kept safe and respectful, the “cafes” had a faculty/staff member as a facilitator.
In response to Breitbart News’ inquiry as to whether participants were screened to ensure they attend the racially appropriate meeting, the university says “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,” the spokesperson added.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.