The University of Michigan-Dearborn has issued a public apology after finding itself in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons. The university generated controversy about race relations after segregating virtual student “cafes” earlier this month.
Two virtual events were held this week that were split up into two groups: “Black, Indigenous and People of Color” and another for “Non-POC” students.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn has since apologized to the students, saying the “cafes” were one-time events and that students were free to visit either room regardless of how they identify.
“UM-Dearborn sincerely regrets the terms used to describe the ‘cafe’ events held on September 8,” a statement from the university read. “The terms used to describe these virtual events and the descriptions themselves were not clear and not reflective of the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“University of Michigan-Dearborn is committed to fostering and maintaining an inclusive campus environment and encourages ongoing dialogue amongst our students, faculty and staff on challenging issues. As campus activities continue to operate in a predominantly remote capacity due to COVID-19, our Center for Social Justice and Inclusion has looked to develop virtual spaces that allow for these important conversations to continue.”
The university added that the rooms were labeled in a way to “provide students from marginalized communities a space that allowed for them to exist freely without having to normalize their lives and experiences.”
You can read the full statement here.
While the mistake was unfortunate, it does allow the university to learn from their own mistakes and work to provide a better, more inclusive environment for everyone moving forward.