University of Michigan-Dearborn apologizes for 'Whites-only' event, Internet slams 'apartheid' system

The Dearborn campus described the virtual event as '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'


                            University of Michigan-Dearborn apologizes for 'Whites-only' event, Internet slams 'apartheid' system
(Getty Images)

The University of Michigan-Dearborn has apologized for hosting two virtual cafe events titled as "Non-People of Colour" (non-POC) and "Black, Indigenous and People of Color" (BIPOC) cafes. The University also clarified that these events were held in order to allow students to get an opportunity to connect and process current events and share their experiences related to race.
 
According to MLive, The Dearborn campus, one of the public university’s two regional campuses, described the virtual event as “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.” However, the virtual discussion hosted on Tuesday, September 8, appeared to only welcome White students, thus igniting criticism for the university’s decision to hold a segregated event.
 
These events were supposed to be held bi-monthly, but the webpages for these events have now been taken down. Expressing regret over the events, the University in a statement said, "UM-Dearborn sincerely regrets the terms used to describe the ‘cafe’ events held on Sept. 8. 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 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,” the statement added. “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 statement further stated.
 
The “non-POC” event was "a space for students that do not identify as persons of color to gather and discuss their experiences as students on campus and as non-POC in the world.” Whereas, The "BIPOC cafe was a space for students from marginalized racial, ethical, and cultural communities to gather and to discuss their experiences as students on campus and as people of color in the world." According to TMZ, each session had a staff member as a facilitator and a total of eight students participated.
 
However, the initiative has caused quite a stir, receiving criticism for being divisive. It has come under fire on social media, with Twitter users expressing disappointment over the events. People were outraged and called out the university for allowing segregation on campus and hosting exclusionary virtual events without thinking of the repercussions. One user, seemingly upset, tweeted, “Yup I’m definitely reconsidering getting my MBA from University if Michigan Dearborn. These the type of programs y’all highlighting/sponsoring? You have got to be joking?”



 

“This is so.... racist?? it was hosted then the school apologized for it,” wrote another user expressing disappointment over the recently hosted events.



 

A user wrote on the micro-blogging website, “I know you meanwhile apologized, but what the hell, University of Michigan Dearborn? University of Michigan Dearborn Holds Whites-Only Virtual ‘Cafe’ Event.”



 

Another one, echoing similar sentiments tweeted, “This can’t possibly be legal. And this doesn’t end anywhere good.”



 

"I would expect nothing less from 2020. “[T]he University of Michigan-Dearborn's Center for Social Justice launched a virtual discussion group for “non-POC” to “gather and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as non-POC in the world,” wrote a Twitter user.



 

“Apartheid and segregation are both policies of separating human beings based on race. What motivates that separation does not matter; this is straight up racism and it is happening online under the auspices of a major American university,” a user tweeted.



 

“Is this shit real? We’re segregating now? I thought college was for higher education,” wrote another user.



 

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.