Grace Gottschling, Campus Reform, September 14, 2018
Update: After publication of this article, University of Maryland-College Park changed the name of the group to “Anti-Racism and Ally Building Group,” along with a shorter description, which reads, “Do you want to improve your ability to relate to and connect with people different from yourself? Do you want to become a better ally? Members will support and share feedback with each other as they learn more about themselves and how they can fit into a diverse world.”
The University of Maryland at College Park announced Friday a new diversity support group to create a “safe space” for white students to discuss their feelings about “interactions with racial and ethnic minorities.”
The support group, called “White Awake,” will help white students who may “sometimes feel uncomfortable and confused before, during, or after interactions with racial and ethnic minorities.”
The description asks students if they want to “improve [their] ability to relate to and connect with people different from [themselves]” or if they want to become a better “ally.” The new group is now one of four in the university’s “Diversity Issues” program series.
The group is being led by Noah Collins, who works for the UMD Counseling Center, and will be held once a week. Collins specializes in group therapy and is interested “especially in the areas of racial and cultural awareness,” according to his faculty bio.
The safe space has been met with harsh criticism from students on social media.