By: Alexandra Leung

Ithaca College called off plans for a racially segregated program for middle and high school students just one day after a federal discrimination complaint was filed, according to a report by the College Fix.

The “Project Access” program aimed to attract BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) students in grades 6-12 who may be interested in exploring a career as a physician’s assistant. 

The program was scheduled to take place last week, but ended up canceled after Dr. Mark Perry, a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan-Flint, filed a complaint with the the Department of Education’s Civil Rights office. Perry alleged that the program’s restrictions on the basis of race and ethnicity violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Professor Mark Perry is a staunch advocate for Title VI cases, and dedicates much of his free time towards serving as a civil rights watchdog. He unequivocally believes that every person deserves the right to fair opportunities under the law. 

The day after Perry notified news sources about the release of the program, all mentions of the program vanished from the college’s website.

“The Ithaca College fiasco for its planned and then aborted BIPOC-only event highlights a glaring deficiency in higher education and a widespread lack of institutional awareness that there are no ‘unless you have good intentions exceptions’ to federal civil rights laws,” Perry told the College Fix.

Professor Mark Perry claims that if he had not written about the event, more and more BIPOC-only events would be appearing among Ithaca College’s campus and other colleges around the world. 

Unfortunately, there are still many events on campuses that discriminate on the basis of race and ethnicity. What if the roles were reversed? There would be no chance of it ever being approved or released to the public. 

And why would Ithaca decide that, instead of including white middle and high school students in a career exploration program, they’d rather not have it at all? This is the epitome of racism.