Move over, equality. The University of Nevada recently announced it was offering segregated housing for select groups, including women, minorities, and LBGT students.
Following a growing trend, UNLV has opted to provide not just one or two, but a total of eight speciality residences – with no straight, white men allowed. The college, which does not refer to these residences as segregated or mention they restrict occupants by race, gender or sexual orientation. Instead, they call the segregated and exclusive residences “themed communities”.
These new residences join some already on campus. Earlier this year, the University proudly pointed to its on campus housing that offered segregated floors based on student identity. Howell Town is named for the first black landholder in the area around campus. Floors include women-only, “healthy living” and LBGT themed. There are also floors specific for honors college students and hospitality students.
The latest additions exclude men, white people, and some minorities, including Asians. The school proudly points to their initiatives, which they see not as restrictive or as excluding students based on discriminatory factors, but as a way to explore diversity. UNLV claims to be the “second most diverse school in Nevada” and the new segregated dorms are part of their move to become number one.
According to college officials:
“It became clear that there was both a desire and a need for dedicated spaces to explore identity in meaningful ways,” one UNLV official said. “Howell Town offers strength through celebrating and exploring diversity rather than just having diversity or the presence of difference. These resources and the connection between them are critical components to student success.”
UNLV is not alone. According to Breitbart, over 70 colleges in the United States already offer separate commencement ceremonies for specific racial groups. About 75 offer graduation ceremonies only for black students, while others feature graduations just for Latino, LGBT and other segregated communities. Harvard is one of the schools offering segregated graduations for select groups, and officials detailed their reasoning.
“We really wanted an opportunity to give voice to the voiceless at Harvard,” a Harvard official said in 2017. “So many students identify with the African diaspora but don’t necessarily feel welcome as part of the larger community, and they don’t feel like their stories are being shared.”
The move at UNLV is about more than diversity; this school has a student body comprised of men and women of all races and backgrounds. By making some spaces accessible to just those of a particular race or gender, the college is taking a large step backwards, and may even run afoul of discrimination laws. So far, college officials have only indicated that they see the racial divide as a good thing and lauded themselves for taking these extreme but increasingly commonplace measures.