Students at Columbia can now apply for a spot at an upcoming retreat hosted by the university, but there’s a catch — you can’t be white.
The university website explains that the the “Students of Color Leadership Retreat” is “designed to fortify participants in their leadership at Columbia, Barnard and beyond, to focus on shared experiences, and to critically examine various issues and ‘isms’ that relate to living in a multicultural and diverse community.” The university website also adds that the SOCL retreat is “designed for students who identify themselves as a person of color as a primary identity.”
The application for the retreat is a little more specific when it comes to who is allowed to apply. “SOCLR is an intensive weekend of personal development, empowerment and community building for student leaders at Barnard and Columbia who identify as African/African-American/Black, Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Arab and Middle-Eastern, Native & Indigenous, and Multiethnic/Multiracial.”
In addition to race, the application asks students for their ‘gender identity/expression’ as well as their ‘gender pronouns.’ It also asks applicants to “describe your experiences on campus as they relate to your racial identity and experiences?”
When asked if white students could attend the retreat, Melinda Aquino, associate dean of multicultural affairs for Columbia College and Columbia Engineering Undergraduate Student Life, gave The College Fix a statement.
“The Students of Color Leadership Retreat is a long-standing annual program for undergraduates at Columbia and Barnard,” states Aquino. “The program, which is geared towards any student who self-identifies as a student of color, provides structured activities and guided exercises that enable participants to build community and reflect on their abilities to effect positive change within their own lives, within student organizations, within the Columbia University community, and within society at large.”
Aquino also told The College Fix that Columbia’s Office of Multicultural Affairs hosts “other leadership and community-building programs and retreats that meet the needs of “all students interested in diversity and identity.”
Despite the University effort for extreme inclusiveness, certain students must watch their every word. Last week, The Daily Caller reported on a punishment a former student received for calling himself ‘handsome’ in a Chinese language class.