Civil rights group challenges UConn over black-only dorm plans
A civil rights organization is protesting the University of Connecticut’s decision to create special housing for black males, claiming that such “self-segregation” is a disservice to African-American students.
“In a nutshell, as I read what is reportedly underway, and funded by a $300,000 grant, this is a not-so-subtle rationalization for self-segregation—by race and gender,” Michael Meyers, Executive Director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, declares in a letter sent Tuesday to UConn President Susan Herbst, the school’s Board of Trustees, and Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy. “In other words, this seems to us as a clever and disingenuous end-run around laws and public policies that disfavor and discourage the deliberate use of skin color and ‘background’ to induce, foster or arrange for places and spaces that segregate and separate by race.”
The UConn program, known as “ScHOLA²RS House,” is billed by supporters as an effort to improve the graduation rate for African-American males, which lags far behind that of the general student population. It will initially be open to 43 students, for whom it is intended to serve as a “safe space” where they can associate with individuals “who come from the same background who share the same experience,” as the program’s faculty director, Dr. Erik Hines, put it.
If the goal is to improve the graduation rate for African-American males, I am highly doubtful that this is any part of the solution. (I think, btw, that there are already highly segregated black fraternities and sororities (and also highly segregated white ones of course), and is the graduation rate any better for those?)