UPDATE: After YAF’s exposé, Texas Tech has announced they have cancelled these ...
Authored By Kara Zupkus
September 16, 2021
UPDATE: After YAF’s exposé, Texas Tech has announced they have cancelled these “anti-racism” trainings. “Upon reviewing materials from the ‘Deeply Rooted Conversations’ discussion series, we learned that some of the content does not align with our university values, and we have discontinued this program,” a university spokesman told the Daily Caller.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion administrators at Texas Tech University segregated students by race during an “anti-racism” training, documents obtained by Young America’s Foundation revealed.
Video footage shows Mica Curtis-Wilson separating faculty and students into two breakout discussion sessions: the “BIPOC affinity space” and “Ally affinity space,” during the “Allyship and Co-Conspirator” session of the “Deeply Rooted Conversations” training.
“We are breaking up into two separate rooms just to facilitate conversation…and also to allow those who identify with each other to be able to communicate ways in which we can be better allies in different spaces, said Curtis-Wilson.
NEW: Through a FOIA request, YAF has uncovered hundreds of documents from an "anti-racism" training at @TexasTech.
For some breakout sessions, students and faculty were segregated by race. Abhorrent. pic.twitter.com/B57mVm6sbT
— YAF (@yaf) September 16, 2021
“If I accidentally move you to the wrong room please just let me know,” Curtis-Wilson said, noting she was breaking up the students based on their registration.
“The point of this is to be able to identify how we experience these concepts and ideas and deeply listen to others and how they understand these ideas.”
Segregated breakout sessions were also used utilized during the “Understanding Whiteness and White Allyship” and the “Racial Battle Fatigue” sessions. That session was not recorded, according to the FOIA office at Texas Tech, but PowerPoint materials were distributed to YAF for review.
According to internal notes obtained through YAF’s FOIA, an administrator identified as “JST” suggested the segregated breakout sessions in order to “offer a comfortable and safe environment for groups to discuss racial traumas undisturbed,” YAF has identified JST as Jade Silva Tovar, Senior Director of Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
During the “Understanding Whiteness and White Allyship” session, TTU administrators listed law enforcement as an example of “white supremacy.”
Another aspect of the training asked students and faculty to reflect on “When have my racist ideas and actions affected others?” and “How have I benefitted from my privilege…?”
Young America’s Foundation filed a Freedom of Information request in May 2021 after being tipped off by a concerned student about the troubling “anti-racism” trainings.
A university spokesman defended the trainings in a phone call with YAF.
TTU Spokesman Matt Dewey described the sessions as “optional educational opportunity conversations.”
“When they registered, they self-identified…if they wanted to switch they could do that at any time,” he claimed.
“This was an opportunity for people to discuss their individual experiences both on our campus and in their lives more broadly. I think in a lot of these situations it’s kind of a personal reflection and then they come back together and kind of discuss within the broader group,” Dewey told YAF.
Mica Curtis-Wilson is no longer employed by Texas Tech, the school confirmed to YAF, but it would not comment on the employment status of the administrator who suggested the segregated trainings–Jade Silva Tovar.
He added that the school had no comment on whether they were concerned about a potential civil rights violation investigation into the segregated sessions.
Texas Tech joins a number of campuses nationwide who have hosted segregated events under the guise of “diversity and inclusion,” including University of Florida, University of Kentucky, and University of Tennessee. Skin color is not a person’s defining attribute, and until they are held to account by leaders, students, and alumni–these schools will continue to push a race-based narrative on campus.