The University of Michigan-Dearborn released a statement Wednesday apologizing for creating segregated virtual “cafes” one for white students and another for Black students. They say it was a way to promote discussions about race and diversity.
The statement comes after two virtual “cafe” events were held on Tuesday. One was advertised as a “non-POC” cafe, and the other “cafe” was advertised as a “BIPOC” cafe for students of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
According to UM-Dearborn, the original intent of the “cafes” 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.”
In their statement, The University of Michigan-Dearborn said that the “cafes” were not supposed to be exclusive or exclusionary to people of a certain race. “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 university’s statement said.