Texas Tech University has cancelled an anti-racism seminar where students were segregated by race, the school told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Faculty and students were broken up into two groups within the “Allyship and Co-Conspirator” session of the “Deeply Rooted Conversations” training, Young America’s Foundation (YAF) reported based on documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. YAF filed the requests for information in May 2021 after a student told the group about the “anti-racism” training.
“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,” Matt Dewey, a spokesman for Texas Tech University, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
In a video of the seminar, Mica Curtis-Wilson, who is no longer employed by Texas Tech, instructed attendees to break off into two groups, the “BIPOC affinity space” and the “Ally affinity space.” (RELATED: Columbia University Promotes Program Where Students ‘Critically Engage With Whiteness’)
“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.
“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,” she added.
NEW: Through a FOIA request, YAF has uncovered hundreds of documents from an “anti-racism” training at @TexasTech.
For some breakout sessions, students and faculty were segregated by race. Abhorrent. pic.twitter.com/B57mVm6sbT
— YAF (@yaf) September 16, 2021
During the “Understanding Whiteness and White Allyship” session, TTU administrators listed law enforcement as an example of “white supremacy.”
This is a public university.https://t.co/IbzTz0bhVt
— YAF (@yaf) September 16, 2021
Students were also broken into groups based on race during the “Understanding White and White Allyship” and the “Racial Battle Fatigue” seminars, YAF reported. The FOIA office at Texas Tech said the latter session was not recorded, but the office provided YAF with PowerPoint slides from the session.
YAF identified an administrator, referred to as JST in internal notes, as Jade Silva Tovar, senior director of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the university, who came up with the idea to have two different breakout sessions for black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students and non-BIPOC groups, according to the FOIA documents.
The segregated sessions, once reunited “could discuss the groups and find comparisons/contrast … Means to segway into white fragility … Also discuss what BIPOC members need from their non-BIPOC allies,” internal documents show.
During the “Understanding Whiteness and White Allyship” session, “immigration laws,” “mass incarceration,” “the war on drugs” and “law enforcement,” were listed as examples of “white supremacy,” YAF reported.
The seminar also asked students to consider questions such as “When have my racist ideas and actions affected others?” and “How have I supported racist/antiracist policies and norms?”
“The program was not part of the sanctioned academic curriculum at Texas Tech University,” Dewey told the DCNF. “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.”
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