College cancels diversity ‘happy hour’ after learning event coordinators intended to exclude white people

South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) is located in Olympia, Washington. Amongst the many offices the college provides is the Diversity & Equity Center (DEC), which is described as place, “meant to be a safe, hate-free space for ALL students. It is a place where we can connect with our own communities while learning from other communities. It is a place dedicated to respectful learning, community building, and the appreciation of diversity.” So it’s with that in mind that many are wondering why a planned DEC “happy hour” focusingon diversity would seek to exclude white people, as KING 5 News reports.

Included in the email was a sentence that is especially gaining a lot of attention. It read, “If you want to create space for white folks to meet and work on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege to better our campus community and yourselves, please feel free to do just that.”

After anger was expressed over this obviously exclusionary “diversity” event, the DEC canceled plans for it and apologized. That being said, while the DEC’s program coordinator, Karama Blackhorn, said she would have worded the email differently, she did tell KING, “That space is not for white people. That space is for people of color.” Ms. Blackhorn also told the station, "When trying to explicitly talk about race it can be a really difficult conversation for a lot of people. And, especially when trying to openly invite folks to build a space of solidarity.”

KING spoke with different students of varying ethnic backgrounds. They didn’t like the idea of excluding white people from the event. Also interviewed was Dean of College Relations, Kellie Purce Braseth. She told the station, “It was obviously a mistake. It was badly worded,” and added that the school doesn’t condone any kind of exclusion. Ms. Braseth probably put it the best of anyone interviewed when she said, “If you want to come you should be able to come, that just makes a richer conversation.”

More info: KING