Cornell University was offering a racially-segregated rock climbing class for their students physical education — but no white students allowed.
The physical education class, “BIPOC Rock Climbing,” was originally slated to be restricted to “people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other people of color.”
After Campus Reform reached out the university for comment about the discrimination, the course description was edited to state that the class is “designed to enable Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other people of color underrepresented in the sport of rock climbing to learn the sport and to feel included and supported.”
The original listing for the course, set to begin during the Spring 2021 academic semester, was archived and can be viewed here.
“Graduates of this course will have the knowledge and skills to push themselves to new challenges while climbing safely and responsibly. We will also talk about BIPOC individuals and groups in rock climbing,” the original description stated. “This class is for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other people of color.”
So, quite literally, everyone except white students.
When reached by Campus Reform, John Carberry, Cornell’s Senior Director of Media Relations and News, claimed that “all Cornell students” are “welcome” to enroll in the course.
“All Cornell students are welcome to enroll in this course. While the original description of the course represented an intentional focus on outreach and inclusion, there was never an intent to exclude non-minority students. The description of the course has been adjusted accordingly,” Carberry said.
New York State law says that “students in New York schools are protected by federal, state, and local laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and other categories.”
Campus Reform also noted that New York Human Rights Law “makes it illegal” for “non-sectarian educational institutions” to “deny their services to students on the basis of race, color, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, age or marital status.”