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A university in North Carolina is being taken to task for promoting a Gardening Day meant only for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC).
Young America’s Foundation says the event was sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Asheville. YAF learned about it through its Campus Bias Tipline:
“The description initially said “If you do not identify as a BIPOC then this event isn’t for you.” The website now says “Connect to your community for a Gardening Day for BIPOC* students with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Southside Community Garden (at the Edington Center)! If you require University-provided transportation, sign up is required and can be done through this form. Please note that this event is specifically for BIPOC* students by request of our community partner. (*BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, & other People of Color).”
When reached for comment, UNC Asheville responded, saying that Gardening Day, organized by Asheville’s Southside Community Garden, is a regular event in the Asheville community.
“This event is not organized or sponsored by UNC Asheville,” said the university. “The Community Garden seeks to connect UNC Asheville students to a resource for service and community welcome (as) UNC Asheville is an inclusive University and provides a variety of programmatic activities always open to all students.”
The University goes on to say that it is committed to equality of educational, leadership and co-curricular experiences for students.
“UNC Asheville does not discriminate against students, applicants or employees on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or any other legally protected status.”
YAF received the same response and points out that Office of Multicultural Affairs is a sponsor of Gardening Day. By virtue of listing the opportunity on the welcome week schedule, YAF says “the school is endorsing the activity.”
In April, YAF received a tip that UNC Asheville was hosting a “Black and African American Healing Space” and “racial trauma yoga” session on campus.