As colleges across the country kick off a new academic year, one university has come under fire for a new course offering.
This year, the State University of New York at Binghamton has created a course called “Stop White People,” which it intends resident advisors (RA) to take.
Three RAs teach the course, the Binghamton Review writes, which is meant to encourage deeper understandings of privilege and diversity. You can read the full description below:
“The premise of this session is to help others take the next step in understanding diversity, privilege, and the society we function within. Learning about these topics is a good first step, but when encountered with ‘good’ arguments from uneducated people, how do you respond? This open discussion will give attendees the tools to do so, and hopefully expand upon what they may already know.”
Some Binghamton students were quick to assail the course, saying that it intends to divide more than it does unite.
“The terrifying implication here is not that students on campus think it is appropriate to call an event by that name, but that the university seems to endorse it as a proper part of a RA training,” Binghamton Review journalist Howard Hecht wrote.
“For a university dedicated to providing an inclusive environment, calling an event ‘#StopWhitePeople2K16’ seems counterproductive at best,” Hecht continued. “The name is divisive.”
University administrators were quick to respond to these criticisms, assuring critics that the course does not harbor a racist agenda.
“We verified that the actual program content was not ‘anti-white,’” Brian Rose, Vice President for Student Affairs, said. “The program title, ‘#StopWhitePeople2K16’ was drawn from a familiar hashtag in use on Twitter, and was not invented by the program facilitators,” Rose said in a statement. “It is my understanding that the hashtag is commonly used ironically.”
Furthermore, Rose added that he feels the voluntary course, does not create an atmosphere of racial division.
“What we strive to do from an administrative level is cultivate an environment where our students listen to one another, learn from one another and do so in a manner that doesn’t cause unnecessary harm,” Rose said. “I have no indication that this particular program was inconsistent with the respectful environment we hope to support and sustain.”
Next, see the racist sorority shirt that might help explain why courses on diversity are not necessarily a bad thing.