Columbia University to Host No-Whites-Allowed Student Leadership Retreat

Toni Airaksinen, The College Fix, October 4, 2016

Students of color at Columbia University can apply to attend an upcoming racially segregated retreat hosted by the school that promises to embolden and empower participants, according to organizers.

The “Students of Color Leadership Retreat 2016” is open to students within the Columbia University undergraduate community, including its all-women’s Barnard College.

Slated for the weekend of Nov. 12 at Greenkill Retreat Center at the New York YMCA Camp, the event is billed as “an intensive weekend of personal development, empowerment and community building for student leaders at Barnard and Columbia who identify as African/African-American/Black, Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Arab and Middle-Eastern, Native & Indigenous, and Multiethnic/Multiracial,” according to the university’s website as well as the retreat’s online application form.

“SOCLR is designed for students who identify themselves as a person of color as a primary identity,” Columbia’s website adds.

The application asks students to state their gender identity/expression, their gender pronoun, their racial identity, and also answer a few questions on what they plan to gain from attending the retreat, paid for by the private, Ivy League institution. Lodging, food and transportation are provided, the application notes.

Event organizers declined to comment to The College Fix, instead redirecting email inquiries to other campus officials.

Asked for additional information, such as whether white students may attend, the cost of the retreat, and about how many students will attend, Melinda Aquino, associate dean of multicultural affairs in Columbia College and Columbia Engineering Undergraduate Student Life, gave a statement on the benefits of the event in an email to The College Fix.


The multicultural office also offers a racially themed mentoring program called the Columbia Mentoring Initiative, which offers programming to the following groups:

Arab & Middle Eastern Family Tree
Asian Family Tree
Black Family Tree
Indigenous Family Tree
Latinx Family Tree
LGBTQ Family Tree
Mosaic Family Tree (International & Multiracial)


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