Grad students with the University of Florida’s Anthropology Department hosted a meeting during the fall semester that was open only to students of color.
The event was billed as a virtual town hall during which students of color from any major could join and “discuss future directions and goals for a BIPOC Anthropology Group.”
That according to the Nov. 18 emailed invitation, a copy of which was obtained by Young America’s Foundation, which reported that the invite stated in part:
“We kindly remind all that you respond to this space [sic] is only for those who identify as a BIPOC individuals in this department. While we appreciate white students may want to join to learn more about the BIPOC perspective, we ask they respect this space as a chance for BIPOC students to come together as BIPOC. … We ask white students to respect that this is a space where BIPOC students can come together without the need to perform any emotional or mental labor to explain their experiences.”
University of Florida officials did not respond to YAF’s requests for comment for additional information on the town hall and whether it was sanctioned by administrators.
The event was reportedly a precursor to forming the BIPOC Anthropology Group this spring 2021 semester, according to a social media post by grad student Isis Dwyer, an anthropology PhD student at the university who co-hosted the meeting.
There have been no social media posts as of yet to indicate if white students may join that group once it’s officially formed.
Dwyer recently expressed on social media that she has “lost count of how many times I’ve sat in a class as the singular Black student while one of our violently racist forefathers was praised uncritically. It’s exhausting for students of color and it’s time for an intentional change!”
"We can choose not to honor their names."!!!
I've lost count of how many times I've sat in a class as the singular Black student while one of our violently racist forefathers was praised uncritically. It's exhausting for students of color and it's time for an intentional change! https://t.co/QHUAE0zMJ4
— Isis Dwyer (@RumandResearch) December 17, 2020
Writing for YAF, Kara Zupkus argues that hosting a town hall that effectively bans white students from attending is an example of racism.
“Reducing students to simply the color of their skin is as racist as it gets,” she wrote. “UF is undercutting its students own experiences and opportunities to learn through segregating students by race.”