The University of Iowa has canceled a scheduled “whiteness” workshop after it received criticism and scrutiny from the community.
According to a report from The College Fix, the University of Iowa canceled a series of events on white privilege. The scheduled event, which was to include events titled “Exploring White Identity,” and “Understanding Your Whiteness,” was canceled after a wave of criticism.
The events were covered in a series of news stories that likely drove external criticisms of the event. In a statement, a spokesperson for the university said that “misinformation” that spread surrounding the workshop ultimately led to its cancellation.
“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leadership became concerned that the confusion and misinformation surrounding the title of workshops could mar the event for this year’s attendees,” a University of Iowa spokesperson said. “As a result, the workshops for this spring were canceled to give the university the necessary time to meet with concerned stakeholders and address any concerns or misperceptions.”
Right-wing publications including Breitbart News published stories on the workshops in 2017, reporting the public university hosted a conference on “white privilege this semester to allow white students a space ‘to discuss whiteness and its privileges with other white people.’”
“This can be the first step to reducing tokenism and increasing responsibility among allies to eliminate racism,” Breitbart reported, accurately quoting a Facebook page for the event.
Lawmakers in Iowa also expressed their concerns about the event. State Rep. Steve Holt, a Republican representing Iowa’s 18th district, said that the name of the events caught his attention.
“The name got our attention,” said Holt, chairman of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee. “There are some things in the name that can cause red flags or raise questions about what is this about.”
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