A public university in Nevada denies that it has banned white students from residing in certain “identity-based” dorm rooms. It was alleged on Wednesday that the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) had blocked white students from living in specific dorms set aside for Blacks, Latinos, members of the LGBTQ community, and Native Americans “for the safety of participants.” However, a university spokesperson told the Daily Mail that the allegations are not true and that whites are not banned from anything on campus.
The university spokesperson said that allegations from the Young America’s Foundation were not accurate and that the school official in charge of the dormitories “misspoke” when trying to describe the program that does exist. According to the YAF report, the dorm in question, Great Basin Hall, was created to practice “living-learning communities.”
“In these communities, students with shared academic, social and cultural interests live on the same floor and attend courses together,” according to the university website. “This experience is considered a “high-impact practice,” promoting…higher grade point averages [and] higher first-year to second-year retention rate.”
The LLCs were created as a way to help students “interact and engage with academic and administrative faculty outside of the classroom” as well as “develop personal relationships with peers of similar academic, social and cultural interests.”
According to the UNR website, the university has fifteen LLCs. Most of these communities support those pursuing specific majors and degrees at the school, including the College of Engineering, College of Science, and the College of Business.
Four of the LLCs are identity-based. These include communities designed to support students who are Black; indigenous; gender, sexuality, and identity; and “Latinx,” according to the source.
The website writes that the Black LLC “connects all students and provides a supportive environment to collectively explore black Identity, cultures, and communities.”
The LLC also “will provide support, mentoring and networks necessary for educational success and empowerment while providing a comfortable living experience on campus. Students will have the opportunity to connect and network with peers and faculty who identify as black faculty, engage in common black studies classes, and participate in cultural events and activities on campus and in the local community.”
The controversy started when a reporter for Young America’s Foundation asked a UNR representative how people would gain access to one of the identity-based LLCs. The school’s answer seemed to imply that white students would not be allowed to live in these LLCs because they did not meet the identity requirements.
“In the identity-based communities, for the safety of student participants, it is important only students who hold that identity are considered,” Dean Kennedy, who heads UNR’s Office of Residential Life, Housing, and Food Services, told YAF.
However, the school has since claimed that Kennedy “misspoke” about these living-learning communities.
“Living Learning Communities (LLCs) are a national best practice in university residential life and housing communities,” stated UNR. “These communities have been defined as high-impact best practices in higher education by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The headline listed in the Young American’s Foundation story is inaccurate. University administration never stated that white students could not participate in our LLCs – they are not called ‘minority-dorm communities.’
“Our Executive Director of Residential Life, Housing and Food Services, Dean Kennedy, misspoke in giving his statement. These LLCs provide a sense of community and belonging, especially at research-intensive institutions. The University of Nevada, Reno’s 15 LLCs are open to any and all students living on campus. All communities are required to take courses specific to their LLC. These courses are offered as part of the general course catalog, and any students can take the classes.”
What do you think about this controversy?
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