Cornell forced to open minority-only rock climbing course to white students after charges of racism

New York’s Cornell University is facing charges of racial segregation after being forced to open the “BIPOC” rock-climbing course to all students following their initial statement that only made it available to black, Indigenous, or other “people of color” groups.

After the media ran with the story that Cornell was banning white students from the P.E. course in the spring of 2021, the university backtracked and lifted enrollment restrictions. However, they are still defending their original stance. A thread on Cornell’s Reddit feed also called for an end to “racially segregated P.E. classes at Cornell.”

The course originally stated that it was “for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other people of color,” according to The Cornell Daily Sun.

The course description was modified and later read: “This class is designed to enable Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other people of color underrepresented in the sport of rock climbing to learn the sport and to feel included and supported. The class is open to all Cornell students interested in learning rock climbing with this special focus.”

Cornell was immediately accused of violating federal and state civil rights laws concerning the original offering. One Reddit user described it as a “horrifically and monstrously racist practice that has no place in the modern world” and that it was “literally evil.”

Another Reddit user claimed the course was an example of Critical Race Theory: “This has been going on all over higher education in all different programs. Critical race theory is f**king toxic!”

One commenter openly asked if Cornell preferred “drinking fountains to be segregated for whites and BIPOCS too?” And another one wrote: “I didn’t know Cornell liked Jim Crow.”

John Carberry, who is a university spokesman, insisted that the class remains tailored for underrepresented groups but that all students can enroll in the course.

“We encourage any student who is interested to take advantage of the unique opportunities across campus to learn from and with the many diverse perspectives and voices across campus,” Carberry commented, according to the Daily Sun.

Students at the university did not seem bothered by the originally segregated class. They noted that there are a number of rock-climbing courses offered by Cornell.

“Hearing people complain about this class, saying it’s taking away from our white peers, is laughable and frustrating,” remarked Thomas Gambra, a student at Cornell, told the outlet.

The university has now issued guidelines on how instructors should discuss the uproar with students over the initial course description.

The debate raged on Twitter:



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