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Catholic college hosts retreat for students of color to navigate ‘predominantly white institution’

Organizers say event will ‘foster a sense of belonging in a culturally validating space’

Le Moyne College, a private Jesuit Catholic institution, is kicking off the spring semester with a retreat to “empower” and “validate” students of color by helping them navigate “a predominately white institution.”

Although an event listing on the college website states that the retreat is open to all students and faculty, the name “People of Color Retreat” seemingly excludes anyone who does not fall into certain racial categories.

Scheduled for Saturday at the New York college, the retreat specifically says it is geared toward helping BIPOC, or Black, Indigenous, People of Color, to feel welcome in a “predominately white institution.”

“This retreat is to empower students to foster a sense of belonging in a culturally validating space through engagement with BIPOC students/staff, group development activities, and discovering their own narrative of how to thrive while navigating a Predominately White Institution (PWI) as a collective community,” the event description states.

Through a series of workshops, participants will learn to “develop the art of self-advocacy and the skills to manage implicit and explicit biases,” according to the description.

Other activities include a discussion about “imposter syndrome and strategies to overcome it”; individuals with imposter syndrome believe themselves and their achievements to be less valuable than what they are.

The retreat also will focus on networking, building community, and fostering a personal “sense of belonging by getting introduced to centers and programs on campus integral to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” the event listing states.

Other colleges have hosted similar retreats specifically for “people of color,” including Pacific Lutheran University in Washington state and Drexel University in Pennsylvania. Another, Claremont Graduate University in California, has a Students of Color Writing Retreat scheduled for February.

In some cases, these campus events exclude white students. Last year, Iowa State University barred white students from attending a “Womxn of Colour Network” retreat, The College Fix reported. Similarly, in 2016, Columbia University offered a no-whites-allowed student leadership retreat.

MORE: Public university provides exclusive housing for women, black, LGBT students

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.