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Minnesota Lutheran college will hosts ‘People of Color’ appreciation lunch

A University of Michigan professor has alerted the Department of Education

A Lutheran college in Minnesota plans to host a “People of Color & International Faculty and Staff Appreciation Lunch” on February 25.

“Faculty and Staff who are People of Color and/or International…are invited to an appreciation lunch on Friday, February 25,” an email from Gustavus Adolphus College’s communications team said.

The Google Form for registration has since been made private, but Professor Mark Perry provided The College Fix with a screenshot (pictured). The University of Michigan Flint professor filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights that alleged the event violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. He shared the emailed complaint with The Fix.

The Lutheran college “is legally required to enforce Title VI as a condition of receiving federal financial assistance, and in fact regularly certifies to the Department of Education that it is actively enforcing all federal civil rights laws including Title IX and Title VI,” Perry wrote in his complaint to the Chicago office of the OCR, which has jurisdiction over Minnesota.

The invitation specifically tells faculty who are not white to register. “In other words, White faculty and staff are illegally excluded from this discriminatory, illegal, segregated event on the basis of color, race, and national origin,” Perry wrote to OCR on February 7.

“I couldn’t help but notice the irony that the College’s ‘Office of Equity and Inclusion’ is hosting and sponsoring an event that clearly promotes ‘inequity and exclusion’ rather than equity and inclusion by unfairly excluding White faculty and staff,” he wrote.

“Further at least for the purposes of the luncheon event the College’s slogan ‘You Belong Here’ doesn’t apply to White faculty and staff. Rather for White faculty staff, it would be more appropriate for the College to say ‘You Don’t Belong Here,’” at least not at this event,” the economics professor wrote.

The Fix asked the communications team for the university if it could confirm white faculty were not allowed to attend and to confirm the event is still on the schedule. A calendar of events for February 25 does not list the luncheon. The college did not respond to an email sent Friday morning.

MORE: Minnesota college drops racially segregated training after federal complaint

IMAGE: Mark Perry

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