University of Florida students receive invitation to segregated town hall
Alex Munguia, Campus Reform
Two University of Florida graduate students held a “BIPOC Anthropology town hall” in November that was advertised as “only for those who identify as a BIPOC.” BIPOC stands for “Black, Indigenous, People of Color.”
A Nov. 18 email, a copy of which Campus Reform obtained, from two Ph.D. students was sent to anthropology majors detailing the event and explaining that it was only for students who identify as BIPOC.
“We kindly remind all that you respond to this space is only for those who identify as BIPOC individuals in this department. While we appreciate white students may want to join to learn more about the BIPOC perspective, we ask they respect this space as a chance for BIPOC students to come together as BIPOC,” the email from Jordi Rivera Prince and Isis Dwyer states.
The email went on to ask that White students “respect that this is a space where BIPOC students can come together,” adding that the town hall is a space where BIPOC students to meet “without the need to perform any emotional or mental labor to explain their experiences as BIPOC.”
The email further, “while we appreciate white students may want to join to learn more about the BIPOC perspective, we ask they respect this space as a chance for BIPOC students to come together as BIPOC. We cannot hide our skin color, and for this reason we already navigate the University of Florida as BIPOC surrounded by a majority white student body and faculty body.”
A University of Florida spokesperson pointed Campus Reform to a statement calling the event “inconsistent” with the university’s policies and values: “The University is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the event and will take appropriate action.”
Carter Mermer, president of the University of Florida Turning Point USA chapter, told Campus Reform that the event was unacceptable.
“Holding a BIPOC only town hall is no different than holding an all-White town hall, which would be completely unacceptable to everyone, Black and White, left and right-leaning,” Mermer said.
Campus Reform has reported extensively on the rise of segregated spaces on college campuses. While the event at UF was not university sponsored, similar gatherings at other universities have been.
For example, the Office of Civic Engagement at the University of Vermont advertised on its official Instagram account an “election support” event but listed separate times and locations based on students’ race, sexual orientation, and faith beliefs.
And at Cornell University, the student government, while debating the disarmament of campus police, reportedly allowed marginalized students to speak before White students.
Campus Reform sat down with Dion Pierre, author of the National Association of Scholars’ report, titled, “Separate but Equal?” which was based on “neo-segregation” efforts at Yale University.
Watch the full interview above.