Wichita State University quietly changes race requirement for community program after 'Campus Reform' inquiry
One University of Michigan professor has filed a Title VI complaint based on the program exclusionary criteria.
A new Wichita State University living learning community had listed that students 'must identify' as 'Black/African American' to apply.
Wichita State University quietly edited a webpage that for their new "Black Excellence Living Learning Community," which previously stated students "must identify" as "Black/African American" to join the Living Learning Community.
The Kansas university will be launching the Black Living Learning Community in the fall 2021 semester, according to The Sunflower. As of this morning, the webpage for the Black Living Learning Community stated that "Students must identify as Black/African American" to apply to be in the LLC, and stressed that the program is "Limited to incoming first year Black/African American students."
However, the university revised the webpage, which now states that eligibility is limited to "Students who identify as Black/African American."
The university made the switch after Campus Reform reached out for comment regarding the language.
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According to the site, students who participate in the living learning community "will be provided campus resources, professional development, academic support, and connections to Black faculty, staff and alumni. Enjoy programming and opportunities both on campus and in the greater Wichita community."
University of Michigan-Flint professor Mark Perry told Campus Reform that he believes the program violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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Perry states that "according to Title VI, universities are 'prohibited from treating an individual differently from others [on the basis of race or color] in determining whether he or she satisfies any admission, enrollment, quota, eligibility, membership or other requirement or condition.'"
"Therefore it is my opinion that Wichita State is violating Title VI by offering a racially exclusive and racially discriminatory program that excludes all students who are not Black," Perry said.
In addition, Perry filed a Title VI complaint with the Kansas City Office for Civil Rights regarding the Black Excellence Living Learning Community.
Lainie Mazzullo-Hart, the director of news and media relations at Wichita State University told Campus Reform that "The Black Excellence LLC is a group that is open to any students regardless of their race, color, or ethnicity."
Mazzullo-Hart added that "The University does not discriminate in its educational programs or activities on the basis of any protected status."
However, the Black Excellence LLC webpage still states that “eligibility” is limited to “Students who identify as Black/African American.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ajmunguia23