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University Faces Backlash For Offering Dormitory Housing Exclusively For Black Students

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Western Washington University has become the latest school to adopt “segregated housing,” sparking controversy online.

Under the “Black Affinity Housing” program, 40 students of color will be allowed to choose separate housing on campus. Since Fox News covered this story, internet users have slammed the school fervently.

Western Washington University is not the first school to enforce similar policies, with schools defending them vigorously, arguing that they enhance a student's experience. Western Washington seems to make the same argument, writing on the website dedicated to the program that it will "help foster a warm and vibrant community supporting social, personal and academic success."

The University of Colorado at Boulder, Stanford University, and Cornell University have adopted similar housing programs, with Black students getting a separate wing or residential facility and other events and facilities to enhance the student experience. Affinity housing can also be enacted based on religion and sexual identity.

The 40 Western University students will be housed on the fourth floor of Alma Clark Glass Hall, which is named after the first Black student to attend the university in 1906.

"Regular programmatic events and interactions allow students to deepen knowledge and understanding of themselves, peers, and the world," the website states.

In a webinar introducing the program, the university stated that "staff will organize opportunities for residents to attend Black-centered events and general university programs as a group."

Despite the university’s argument that the program will create "a safe environment for open, honest, and sometimes challenging dialogue," many on social media argue that this is a negative decision taking us back to the pre-Civil Rights movement era.

One person commented: "Is Lyndon B. Johnson president again?"

Another person wrote: "Well we just went backwards about a 100 years huh."

A third stated: "Nothing like bringing a ‘marginalized’ group of students, into their fellow student’s world by segregating them."

"Looks like that KKK campaign finally made some progress," one person joked.

Another person wrote, "Becoming more and more apparent every day that ‘diversity and inclusion’ is doublespeak for ‘segregation and exclusion.’"

Another person commented, "Regression marches on."

One person tweeted: "Lib universities want to claim the anti-racism high horse, but it doesn't mean they want to live together. Segregation with a pretty bow on it is still segregation."

Another comment read: "I believe white people tried this once upon a time..it was called racist at the time..think it still is no matter the color."

Affinity housing is a legal gray area, allowing many universities to offer it without being sued. The programs are optional, open to all students of the university, and do not violate the Fair Housing Act. While many call it segregation, the key difference is that affinity programs are optional and have been known to create positive experiences for students on campus. 

Sources: Meaww

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