The University of Michigan-Dearborn is apologizing for its “virtual cafes” that appeared to hearken back to the days of “Whites Only” signs in America … claiming it was a serious snafu and it regrets the error.
Here’s what happened — the university’s Center for Social Justice & Inclusion hosted a Zoom session Tuesday called a “Non-POC Cafe” for students who don’t identify as people of color to “gather and to discuss their experience” living as non-POC in the world.
At the same time, it also hosted a virtual cafe for Black, Indigenous and POC students from marginalized communities to gather on Zoom to do the same thing.
Naturally, people were outraged and called UM-Dearborn out for allowing apparent segregation on campus, or at the very least … promoting exclusionary virtual events without thinking of the repercussions.
The college is owning up to it and apologizing now, saying the way it described the virtual events was “not clear and not reflective of the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
As for the thought-process behind the dual “cafes,” UM-Dearborn claims it meant well … but simply missed the mark in its delivery.
It says … “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.”
Each session had a staff member as a facilitator and we’re told a total of 8 students participated.
The school’s making it clear that these virtual events are open to all members of UM-Dearborn campus community … so maybe attendance — and reception — will improve next time.