University of Maryland Creates ‘Safe Space' for White Students to Talk About Race

The University of Maryland's counseling center started a group called White Awake to give white students a place to discuss race relations.

This week, flyers were posted around the school and on social media reading, “Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable and confused before, during or after interactions with racial and ethnic minorities?”

The flyer went on to describe White Awake as a group that "offers a safe space for White students to explore their experiences, questions, reactions, and feelings." 

Some students took to social media to voice their displeasure at the creation of the group. One student tweeted, “POC Students never had the luxury to be provided spaces to learn about the reality of the world.”

The counselling center stood by their decision to create the group but announced they will stop using the flyer and that they changed the name of the group to the Anti-Racism and Ally Building Group.

The Counseling Center’s website was edited to reflect the new name. Also, wording that mentioned white students was removed. 

Noah Collins, the leader of the group, and Sharon Kirkland-Gordon, the Counseling Center’s director, released a statement Thursday night admitting fault with the unclear intentions of the flyer. They wrote that the purpose of the group was to help “White students become more culturally competent, so they can better participate in creating a more inclusive environment at the University of Maryland.”

As of fall 2017, 43.3 percent of University of Maryland students were classified as minorities, according to university data

The group was set to meet Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Contact Us