American University announces ‘Black Affinity Housing’
Ben Zeisloft, Campus Reform
- In its letter about the Derek Chauvin verdict, American University announced that it would institute “Black Affinity Housing.”
- Other universities across the nation have instituted similar segregated housing plans.
Responding to the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd, American University announced that it will now offer “Black Affinity Housing.”
“The murder of George Floyd and the many other acts of violence against Black people and communities of color are horrible reminders that racism still exists in many forms” the university said on Tuesday. It stressed the importance of creating “the space to process these events and care for ourselves and one another.”
In accordance with this goal, it is “working to open Black Affinity Housing in the fall and advance a sense of belonging for the community.”
American University says on its 2021-2022 room selection website for returning students says that “the Black Affinity Housing located in Roper Hall provides an intentional residential community dedicated to celebrating, exploring, and affirming black student experiences at AU and beyond.”
“The live-in experience encourages dialogue and community building that is mindful of the diverse social, cultural, and academic needs of Black and multicultural students,” the university continues. “Black Affinity Housing will enrich all of campus life by promoting solidarity among students of all backgrounds and identities.”
Campus Reform recently covered an op-ed written by American University freshman Kayla Kelly, who argued that welcoming White students back to campus after COVID-induced shutdowns “could evoke similar effects of settler colonialism and negatively impact” the Black community of Washington, D.C.
“Settler colonialism is a form of colonialism that replaces the original population with a new invasive species,” Kelly wrote, “the settler system stakes over the space, resources and culture of the environment it encompasses, displacing the original population.”
Other prominent universities across the United States have also experimented with segregated housing and events.
The Executive Director of Residential Life at the University of Nevada-Reno, for example, said on April 1 that racially segregated dorms “are a national best practice in university residential life and housing communities.”
Campus Reform reached out to American University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft