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Oregon university faces civil rights complaint for excluding whites from campus events

‘Six different BIPOC-only, no whites allowed programs, social events, forums and graduation ceremonies for faculty, staff and students’

A federal civil rights complaint has been filed against Pacific University Oregon over several events that appear to segregate participants by race and exclude white people.

The complaint was filed Jan. 25 and cites six separate examples of the alleged discriminatory practices, primarily events held exclusively for students and faculty of color.

“The university’s multiple cases of illegal race-based discrimination suggests that they are either unacceptably unaware that this type of racial discrimination is illegal or they are instead inexcusably unconcerned about unlawfully violating the civil rights of certain groups of students (whites/non-BIPOCs),” Mark Perry, who filed the complaint, said in an email to The College Fix.

Perry is a University of Michigan Flint emeritus economics professor who has filed dozens of similar complaints over the last several years against many universities.

Perry told The Fix his latest complaint against PUO cites “six different BIPOC-only, no whites allowed programs, social events, forums and graduation ceremonies for faculty, staff and students.”

The complaint against Pacific University Oregon alleges the campus events violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives federal funds or other federal financial assistance,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Perry’s complaint cites various events, including an informal “get-to-know-you” event, a staff open house, a weekly club meeting, an alumni forum, an exclusive graduation ceremony, and an informal cocktail outing.

He cites a September 2022 “BIPOC Staff & Faculty Hoopla,” stating in his complaint “that as the name indicates and the event website confirms was a BIPOC-only event.”

The complaint also lists an October 2022 BIPOC Mentorship Program open house “that as the name indicates and the event website confirms was a BIPOC-only event.”

Perry also flagged an event hosted every Wednesday during the fall 2022 semester called “BIPOC Let’s Talk: A Confidential Space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to Talk, Find Support and Establish Community.”

“[A]s the program name indicates and the program description confirms operates exclusively for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Color) students while illegally excluding non-BIPOC students and discriminating against them on the basis of their race, color and/or national origin,” the complaint states.

“In the university’s own words from the program website for November 9, 2022…’This program is not intended for white-identified allies,’” it added.

The complaint notes the program is ongoing to this day.

Perry also cited a BIPOC Virtual Alumni Forum as discriminatory, pointing out the invitation stated “Our alumni who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color are invited to virtually join us to connect and discuss the future of Pacific.”

Two additional programs were cited in the complaint, a people-of-color graduation celebration and an off-campus excursion for BIPOC campus community members.

Perry argued that those two events are outside of the 180-day time limit for filing a complaint to the Office for Civil Rights, but he intends to demonstrate a clear pattern of discriminatory behavior by the university.

Perry told The College Fix his complaint was acknowledged by the Seattle-based Office for Civil Rights in late January.

Pacific University Oregon officials did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls from The College Fix seeking comment over the last week.

MORE: Minnesota college drops segregated antiracism training after federal complaint

IMAGE: Pacific University Oregon YouTube screenshot

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About the Author
Ruth Brown -- Grove City College