Spoiler alert: Nothing good.
Just to clarify at the outset, the University of Michigan-Dearborn didn’t sponsor an event exclusively for white students — to do so would be suicidal. Rather there were two race-themed virtual student events happening simultaneously. Both were hosted by the university’s Center For Social Justice and Inclusion.
According to a description, since removed from the university’s website, the BIPOC Cafe (Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color) was intended as “a space for student from marginalized racial/ethnic/cultural communities to gather and to relate with one another and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as people of color in the world.”
The second event was basically for everyone else on campus. Here is the description, again since archived:
The Non-POC (People Of Color) Cafe is a space for students that do not identify as persons of color to gather and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as non-POC in the world. Feel free to drop in and discuss your experiences as non-persons of color and hopefully brainstorm solutions to common issues within the non-POC community.
The good news is that the mere mention of a non-POC event didn’t lead to campus-wide protests or to students barricading themselves in the dean’s office. The bad news is that the university needed to apologize for setting up “segregated” online sites. The Associated Press reports via NBC affiliate WILX:
The University of Michigan-Dearborn is apologizing for creating segregated online student “cafes” for white people and those of color.
… Abed Ayoub, legal and policy director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said he understood the intention but “it could have been done better.”
In its apology, the university located near Detroit said terms used to describe these virtual events “were not clear and not reflective of the university’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Diversity, equity and inclusion: Bingo!
You have to wonder whether the university has issued apologies in the past for its “non-whites-only” events. It would be surprising if they did. We are now living in an era where terms like racial segregation, long a taboo, are now a valued commodity. So for that matter are quotas, whether they are billed as such are passed off under some euphemistic handle such as “affirmative action.”