Matthew Wilson, Campus Reform, February 18, 2021
Cornell University altered the course description of a racially-segregated physical education course offered to students during the Spring 2021 academic semester after Campus Reform reached out for comment.
The class, entitled “BIPOC Rock Climbing,” was originally restricted to “people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other people of color,” before its description was edited to state that the class is “designed to enable Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other people of color underrepresented in the sport of rock climbing to learn the sport and to feel included and supported.”
The course’s original description, noting the class’s race-based enrollment restriction, is still visible, courtesy of an internet archive.
According to the new description, posted on Cornell’s website, the class will provide a “high degree of individual attention” and a “supportive space” where students will discuss “BIPOC individuals and groups in rock climbing.” The new description states that the class is now “open to all” students who are “interested in learning rock climbing with this special focus.”
The total price for students taking the course is $1,890—including the standard cost of a one-credit course, $1,575, and an additional mandatory “course fee” of $315.
When asked for comment, John Carberry, Cornell’s Senior Director of Media Relations and News, issued a statement to Campus Reform claiming that “all Cornell students” are “welcome” to enroll in the course, contradicting the original course description.
According to the New York State Attorney General’s website, “Students in New York schools are protected by federal, state, and local laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and other categories.”