Politics & Policy

University Hosts ‘Retreat’ for Students Who ‘Self-Identify As White’

It's not clear what "self-identify as white" actually means.

The University of Vermont hosted a three-day retreat for students who “self-identify as white” — whatever the hell that means — to deal with their terrible, horrible, no-good-very-bad privilege.

The retreat, titled “Examining White Privilege: A Retreat for Undergraduate Students Who Self-Identify as White,” ran from November 13–15.

The point of the event, according to the school’s official website, was to give students “the opportunity” to “conceptualize and articulate whiteness from a personal and systemic lens” (Ooooh! Them’s some smart words!) and “recognize and understand white privilege from an individual experience.”

“We will explore questions like: What does it mean to be white? How does whiteness impact you?” the website states.

The public (read: taxpayer-funded) university covered all costs for the students who attended.

Lest you think that something like this would be a waste of money, the website also included some pretty damn inspiring testimonials from students who had attended this retreat before.

#share#For example: 2015 graduate Cora Churchill gushed that “it provided a safe space to learn about yourself and others and how we experience and understand privilege and systems of oppression.”

(There is no doubt in my mind that getting to be in this “safe space” has proven to be what’s helped her most since her graduation, particularly in terms of finding a job.)

#related#Other students said that they were so glad they went because it finally gave them the chance to talk about how they were white:

EWPR was a great opportunity to talk about an identity that I had not previously felt equipped to comfortably discuss,” sophomore Abby Freas said.

In any case, the students who chose to self-identify as white in order to attend were very brave ones indeed. After all, white” is about the worst damn thing a person can be. 

The retreat was originally reported on by Campus Reform

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review.

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