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U. Iowa Cancels ‘Understanding Your Whiteness’ Event Claiming it Was Misconstrued

U. Iowa Cancels ‘Understanding Your Whiteness’ Event Claiming it Was Misconstrued

“after receiving feedback from some campus partners, we realized we may have been unclear with our language”

Like so many other dumb events on campus these days, this had nothing to do with scholarship or even fun. And when people noticed it, the school pulled the plug.

Campus Reform reports:

UI cries fake news while canceling ‘whiteness’ event

The University of Iowa canceled an event, titled, “Understanding Your Whiteness,” after questions over what content it would have presented.

Campus Reform initially reported on the event in November. Following that reporting, at least one Iowa state lawmaker raised concern over how the event was being marketed to students.

“The name got our attention. There are some things in the name that can cause red flags or raise questions about what is this about,” Republican state Rep. Steve Holt told the Cedar Rapids Gazette recently.

But university spokeswoman Jeneane Beck didn’t acknowledge anything wrong with the event itself. Rather, she cited how the event had been “misconstrued” by the media.

Campus Reform’s reporting at the time merely quoted the university’s own description of the event.

A university spokesperson told another online outlet that “after receiving feedback from some campus partners, we realized we may have been unclear with our language and have since updated the description to more directly align with the workshop’s learning goals.”


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What’s to misconstrue? This “event” sounds like bigotry, pure and simple. There isn’t any ambiguity there, no unclear language.

UIFreedomFighter | February 11, 2019 at 10:22 pm

The only thing misconstrued here are these so-called facts of what this event really was. In fact, I’ve come across so many articles that have done a great job skirting around the reality of what really took place that day. They focus on the University’s “mistake” and the need for more “time to rethink the titles of the workshops in an effort to cut down on confusion and misunderstanding,” instead of sharing the opinions of those who actually attended. In my opinion, a GOOD journalist will seek out all sides of the story in order to provide an objective one, however, where is the side of the story that comes from the people who were actually there?

Well here it is.

I attended the workshop in the Fall, which was called, “Understanding Your Whiteness to Become Better Allies”, by the way (HUGE misconception of the title when half of it is left out).
This 3-hour workshop, was completely free, led by volunteers, and attended by faculty, staff, and administrators. To my understanding there were NO STUDENTS at the workshop. The facilitators did an EXCELLENT JOB setting the tone that it was NOT a “white-shaming” attempt, and there were people from all sides of the political spectrum who were contributing to what, in my opinion, was the most effective use of my time I’ve ever experienced at the university.

This workshop did exactly what it was supposed to do. It helped develop the awareness and skills we need as WHITE employees at the university to better serve ALL of our students so that we can begin to close the disproportionate graduation rates between white students and students of color. It provided effective solutions to recognize ways we can change the way we lead as an institution so that our valuable researchers and scholars of color don’t keep leaving and going elsewhere. We learned about REAL LAWS that were in our REAL U.S. CONSTITUTION that were purposely written to discriminate against women and people of color, why they obviously aren’t there anymore, and then we reviewed case-studies depicting REAL LIFE situations where students and employees have been discriminated against based on protected identities so that we can be better equipped to AVOID WASTING TAXPAYER MONEY on bullshit litigation in the future.

I can’t ignore the feeling that the legislator quoted in the most recent article by the Gazette, seemed as if he was trying to hide the embarrassment of wasting time in raising an issue that really was no issue at all…but someone has to take the blame.

As someone who experienced this first-hand, I can tell you the only mistake being made here is not requiring this workshop for every faculty, staff, and administrator at the institution. As an institution that is constantly under scrutiny for increasing tuition and recently cutting programs in order to supplement a lack of funding, why are workshops like these not considered a valuable return on investment when looking to solve the problems of retaining our students and employees?

In any problem we face, we need to face the facts, learn from mistakes, build awareness and develop skills needed to solve it. Where else is there a better place than in Higher Ed to do this, when it comes to trying to eliminate the impacts of racism? This problem is not political. It is inhumane. It’s an epidemic that we can change together which will ultimately benefit the future of all people, of all races.

In my opinion, the only waste of time and money here, are electing officials and giving airtime to incompetent journalists who are working to halt our potential to be the most effective institution we can be, and providing the world with the highest level of success from our students and those who serve them.