- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2020

The University of Michigan-Dearborn apologized Wednesday after catching heat for a pair of virtual “cafes” that appeared to be segregated by race.

The university’s Center for Social Justice & Inclusion hosted two virtual Zoom sessions on Tuesday, one called a “Non-POC Cafe” for White students and another called “BIOPIC Cafe” for students who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

“The Non-POC (People Of Color) Cafe is a space for students that do not identify as persons of color to gather and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as non-POC in the world,” read the now-deleted announcement on the university’s website, The Detroit News reported.

“Feel free to drop in and discuss your experiences as non-persons of color and hopefully brainstorm solutions to common issues within the non-POC community,” it said.

The school later apologized for the wording of the events.

“The terms used to describe these virtual events and the descriptions themselves were not clear and not reflective of the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” the school said in a statement.

“The ‘cafes’ were virtual open conversations developed to allow students the opportunity to connect to process current events, share their experiences related to race, share knowledge and resources and brainstorm solutions,” it continued. “The original intent was to provide students from marginalized communities a space that allowed for them to exist freely without having to normalize their lives and experiences, while also providing students that do not identify as persons of color the opportunity to deepen their understanding of race and racism without harming or relying on students of color to educate them.”

“The events were never intended to be exclusive or exclusionary for individuals of a certain race,” it added. “Both events were open to all members of the UM-Dearborn campus community.”

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