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University of Florida hit with racial discrimination complaint for promoting no-whites event

UPDATED

Tweet also pledged to exclude whites from future meetings

Just hours after our report about a no-whites academic event at the University of Florida, a professor filed a civil rights complaint against the taxpayer-funded institution.

University of Michigan-Flint economist Mark Perry, who regularly files Title IX and Title VI complaints against sex- and race-restrictive programs at schools and colleges, asked the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to open an investigation.

Though the Nov. 19 virtual event was hosted by graduate students in the Anthropology Department, the department itself promoted the event at least twice: in an email to the Anthropology 2301 class and by retweeting an organizer’s tweet about the event.

The email, obtained by the Young America’s Foundation, conveys a message from the organizers that the event is “only for those who identify” as “BIPOC” (black, indigenous and people of color) students. This is so BIPOC students don’t have to “perform any emotional or mental labor to explain their experiences” to white students.

Doctoral student Isis Dwyer’s Nov. 18 tweet suggested the “town hall” was endorsed by the department itself, as she included its Twitter handle and tagged the account as well.

She marked her Twitter account private after our report was published, so it’s not clear whether the department previously undid its retweet or whether the retweet disappeared due to Dwyer’s action. The retweet was still on the department’s page the last week of December – more than a month after the no-whites event.

Perry’s complaint, which he shared with The College Fix and which cites our reporting, claims the department “has since removed that Tweet,” a screenshot of which he preserved (left).

Asked for evidence that the department intentionally undid its retweet, Perry told The Fix Wednesday morning that the retweet was still live when he started writing the regulatory complaint Tuesday night.

“When I checked right before sending the complaint [at 9:30 p.m. Eastern], the re-Tweet was gone, so I assumed it was removed by UF Anthropology,” he wrote in an email, but also credited the possibility that Dwyer’s action automatically undid the retweet.

He was simply trying to emphasize the department’s role in “endorsing, promoting and publicizing the discriminatory event,” Perry said: “I think the [Office for Civil Rights] is sometimes more likely to excuse student clubs/groups for Title VI/IX violations (e.g., a Women’s Student Business Club or Black Student Accountant Club) than cases when the university through its departments, faculty, administrators, etc. are violating civil rights laws.”

The university must enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act as a recipient of federal funding, Perry told the feds.

Yet its Anthropology Department and grad students “are endorsing, supporting, promoting, and hosting […] no whites allowed town hall events and meetings that violate Title VI’s prohibition of discrimination based on race, color, and national origin,” the complaint reads.

He also noted that Dwyer’s tweet specified that “BIPOC General Body meetings” would start in the spring, again showing the “discriminatory” nature of the planned gatherings.

The University of Florida provided The Fix a statement Wednesday morning:

The University and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences administration recently learned of an event in the Department of Anthropology that may not have been open to students of all races and colors. Such an event is inconsistent with the University’s policies and values that foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. The University is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the event and will take appropriate action.

Perry’s complaints often prompt targeted educational institutions to open their programs to whites or men or simply cancel the programs altogether.

Brandeis University quickly removed its pages for “Affinity Group Spaces” divided by race after our November report on the subject, which also prompted a federal complaint by Perry.

UPDATE: Perry answered a Fix query and the University of Florida provided a statement after this article was published. They have been incorporated.

MORE: Brandeis hides page for whites-only space after College Fix report

IMAGES: Shutterstock, UF Anthropology/Twitter

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