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James Madison University labels ‘heteroromantic’ Christian men ‘oppressor group’

Later asks student employees to ‘not share these materials with others’


A virtual social justice staff training for students employees of James Madison University for the fall semester has made headlines for its list of privileged, or oppressors, and oppressed.

Are you able-bodied, between the ages of 30 and 50, a man or cisgendered person, heterosexual, heteroromantic, and Christian? Are you white, of western European stock, American, and middle or upper class? Do you have a thin, athletic build?

If you are all of those things, then you get a perfect score on the Harrisonburg, Virginia university’s official criteria for “privileged,” according to two charts shared with student employees. Which, the co-presenters later explain, makes you a part of the “oppressor group” by default.

Conversely, if you have physical, mental, emotional, learning, or other disabilities; if you are younger than 30 or older than 50; if you’re a woman, transgender, nonbinary or genderqueer; if you’re a lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, or asexual; if you are homoromantic, aromantic, or bi/panromantic; if you are Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, or pagan; if you are Black, Asian, or Latinx; if you are of non-western European stock; if your nationality is anywhere outside of America; if you hail from the working or lower class; if you are overweight or underweight; if you are any significant combination of those things then you might belong to the “oppressed group.”

Moreover, you might not even know it. The dominance of the oppressor group, co-presenter Jennifer Iwerks says, “can lead to the target groups taking in and internalizing negative messages about themselves, and they can end up cooperating with the oppressors” and not “pushing for change.”

The co-presenters in the video are Jessica Weed and Iwerks, respectively a coordinator of student activities and assistant director for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression programming.

A video slide informs student employees that they both use she/her/hers pronouns.

Weed is identified as a “White, cisgender, woman, first generation college graduate, raised in a low income family.”

Iwerks is described by the slide as a “White, cisgender, woman, middle class college graduate, bisexual, temporarily able-bodied.”

Over the course of the video, student employees of the university are asked to take some time for “self-reflection” on the messaging, write their reflections down, and save those reflections to be looked over by their supervisors later.

“After the training was completed,” Fox News reports, “student employees were sent an email instructing them to ‘not share these materials with others.’”

Editor’s note: James Madison University appears to have removed the video in question from YouTube. Fortunately, The College Fix saved screenshots from the presentation, which we have added above.

MORE: James Madison University hires seven new faculty for ‘diversity cohort’

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About the Author
Jeremy founded three of the Real Clear Politics family of websites and has covered subjects ranging from religious trends to space travel to an armed standoff, for hundreds of publications. His books and comic books include The Warm Bucket Brigade: A History of the Vice Presidency, William F. Buckley, and Movie Men. Jeremy graduated from Trinity Western University, where he served as an editor for the Mars Hill newspaper.