Uproar ignited by Black college students requesting non-White roommates

Photo credit: Facebook - karelyn.urena.5

Photo credit: Facebook – karelyn.urena.5

With classes scheduled to start August 30, a collective of suburban Los Angeles colleges are in the middle of controversy sparked by a group of students trying to get their off-campus housing situation in order. Karé Ureña, a junior at Pitzer College, asked fellow students thinking about moving in with her for the upcoming school year to honor one request: No White roommates. “POC only,” she wrote in her Facebook post, adding “I don’t want to live with any White folks.” The post sparked outrage from the campus, with 48% of its 1,067 undergraduates being White and only 5% Black, as the fierce online debate among students spilled over to official denouncements from school administration. “POC only? Maybe I’m missing something or misunderstanding your post, but how is that not a racist thing to say?” Pitzer student Dalia Zada reportedly wrote. Another Pitzer student reportedly had strong words in response. “White people always mad when they don’t feel included but at the end of the day y’all are damaging asf (as f—) and if a POC feels they need to protect themselves from that toxic environment THEY CAN! Quick to try to jump on a POC but you won’t call your friends out when they’re being racist asf…I’m not responding to NO comments and NOPE I don’t wanna have a dialogue,” wrote Terriyonna Smith. Likely an unexpected situation in the first year of his tenure as the college’s first Black president, Melvin Oliver stepped up to add the perspective of the administration, saying the request was “inconsistent with our mission and values.” “This is but another example to us that social media is not an effective platform to engage in complex dialog on seemingly intractable critical issues that have varied histories and contested understandings,” Oliver wrote to the campus community. “They create more heat than light and invite extreme viewpoints that intentionally obfuscate the nuanced context that surrounds these issues.” Ureña, who is Black, and her roommate, Pomona College student Sajo Jefferson, defended their request in a statement to The Washington Post, revealing how it feels to be a minority on the campus. “When and if you understand this context, it becomes clear that students of color seeking a living space that is all-POC is not only reasonable, but can be necessary,” the statement said. “We live in a world where the living circumstances of POC are grounded in racist social structures that we cannot opt out of. These conditions threaten the minds, bodies and souls of people of color both within and without the realms of higher education. We are fighting to exist.” Pitzer is part of Claremont Colleges, a group of small liberal arts schools in Claremont, Califorinia, which also includes Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pomona College, as well as Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences. Ureña and her friends have found their roommate, and she has deleted the post.   source:rollingout.com

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