Toni Airaksinen, Campus Reform, June 25, 2018
The University of Vermont is renewing a retreat exclusively for white students next February, even though it appears to violate the school’s own non-discrimination policy.
School officials confirmed to Campus Reform Thursday that the Examining White Identity Retreat has been renewed for February 2019, and that it will give white students the ability to explore issues surrounding “identity, diversity, and culture.”
The retreat is “specifically for white students” according to the program’s website, which explains that attendees will debate topics such as “What does it mean to be white” and “What does whiteness mean to you?”
For students, retreat goals include learning to “articulate whiteness from a personal and systematic lens,” as well as “understand white privilege from an individual experience.”
Spokesman Enrique Corredera told Campus Reform by email that the “non-credit bearing retreat is designed to engage white students who want to become more effective allies in confronting racism and supporting students of color at UVM.”
“These students look for an educational opportunity for themselves to learn about and understand issues surrounding white identity and white privilege, their historical roots, and their current dynamics and impact,” he added.
The retreat reflects UVM’s commitment to “fairness, equity, and equality,” Corredera asserted.
“While the focus of this retreat is on the exploration of white identity and white privilege, non-white students are permitted to attend,” Corredera said, though he did not respond when Campus Reform pointed out that this is false according to the retreat’s own website.”