Posted on April 24, 2019

University Hosts No-Whites-Allowed Faculty and Staff Listening Sessions—To Promote Inclusivity

Jennifer Kabbany, College Fix, April 24, 2019

Wake Forest University is hosting a series of “listening sessions” for faculty and staff of color that aim to advance inclusion efforts on campus.

The listening sessions come amid ongoing racial tensions on campus, including a protest Monday at which some students decried the “white supremacy” that allegedly runs rampant at the private, North Carolina institution.

“Dear faculty and staff colleagues, this is a reminder about our upcoming listening sessions on inclusion that I am holding for faculty and staff of color over the next several weeks,” stated an April 18 email from Michele Gillespie, dean of the college, to campus employees.

The email, a copy of which was obtained by The College Fix, continued:

Here are the upcoming dates and information:

–For faculty/staff who identify as faculty/staff of color: Monday, April 22 at 4:00 pm in ZSR Room 476 (we will be joined by Associate Dean Erica Still)

–For faculty/staff who identify as faculty/staff of color: Thursday, May 2 at 11:00 am in ZSR 476 (we will be joined by Associate Dean Erica Still)

–For staff who identify as staff of color ONLY: Monday, May 6 at 4:00 pm in ZSR Room 477

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As for the campus protest, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that “a coalition of students, faculty and staff at Wake Forest University demanded Monday that university officials immediately begin a zero-tolerance policy for white supremacy after several developments in recent months heightened concerns about racism on campus.”

The article cites a few examples that have riled the campus community, including a “racist Instagram post” that quipped about building a wall between Wake Forest and its crosstown rival, a historically black university.

Also cited was old yearbook blackface photos, and a photo of Wake Forest students posing in front of a Confederate flag in the 1980s, two of whom are now WFU administrators.

{snip} And the two administrators pictured in front of the Confederate flag — they’ve apologized. Their apologies have not been accepted, however. {snip}

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The group leading the accusations of white supremacy and racism calls itself the Wake Forest University Anti-Racism Coalition. {snip}

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The coalition contends black students at Wake Forest “are facing the same problems encountered by the first black student admitted” to the university way back in 1962.

One professor at the school who asked for anonymity said the situation is absurd right now.

“It’s hard to respond to the ridiculous accusation that Wake Forest tolerates or encourages ‘white supremacy’ and inflicts ‘trauma on students of color,’” the professor said in an email to The Fix. “I question whether it is worth responding to people who use such hyperbolic and hysterical rhetoric. Though the more you placate them, the more they escalate their rhetoric and demands.”

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