Minnesota college ends segregated ‘anti-racism’ training program after civil rights complaint

Carleton College, located in Northfield, held racially segregated "mandatory monthly affinity groups."

Carleton College campus in Northfield, Minnesota. (Carleton College/Facebook)

A liberal arts college in southeastern Minnesota ended its “anti-racism” training program following a civil rights complaint.

Carleton College, located in Northfield, held racially segregated “mandatory monthly affinity groups” as part of its “anti-racism training series” for employees and staff throughout the spring 2021 semester (January through May 2021).

Upon learning of this in April 2021, Mark Perry, economics professor emeritus at the University of Michigan-Flint, filed a civil rights complaint against Carleton College that claimed the training was racially discriminatory.

Six months after Perry filed the Title VI complaint, however, the college put an end to its “anti-racist” training program and its racially segregated “affinity groups.” In a Feb. 3 letter to Perry, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights informed him of the development and dismissed his complaint on the grounds that it was now “moot.”

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the statute under which Perry filed his complaint, prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives federal funds or financial assistance.

Since 2018 Perry has filed complaints against nearly 400 colleges and universities across the United States for more than 1,500 violations of Title VI and Title IX, the latter of which prohibits sex-based discrimination.

One of his most recent complaints targets a planned appreciation lunch at Gustavus Adolphus College for non-white staff only. Alpha News reported that the southern Minnesota college is holding a “People of Color & International Faculty and Staff Appreciation Lunch” on Friday, Feb. 25.

An announcement of the event via email specifically mentioned that “Faculty and Staff who are People of Color and/or international … are invited.” It did not say “all faculty and staff are invited,” let alone “white faculty and staff.”

“I couldn’t help but notice the irony that the College’s ‘Office of Equity and Inclusion’ is hosting and sponsoring an event that clearly promotes ‘inequity and exclusion’ rather than equity and inclusion by unfairly excluding White faculty and staff,” Perry wrote in an email to the Chicago Office for Civil Rights.

“Further, at least for the purposes of the luncheon event, the College’s slogan ‘You Belong Here’ doesn’t apply to White faculty and staff. Rather for White faculty and staff, it would be more appropriate for the College to say ‘You Don’t Belong Here,’ at least not at this event,” he added.