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Aug 19 2016
by Madeleine Williamson

Students Seek a Roommate - with One Catch

By Madeleine Williamson - Aug 19 2016
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A group of students at Pitzer College is caught in a controversy after looking for roommates. Karé Ureña, a junior at Pitzer, posted looking for roommates in an off-campus house. She noted that “POC only” should respond. News of the post spread quickly across the Internet, provoking emotional reactions. It’s sparked debate over whether the post was discriminatory, Teen Vogue reported Wednesday.

In light of recent racial tensions, some members of the college community thought the ad was fine. Pitzer College is 5% African-American. Some students said they could understand the desire for a safe space. Students around the country have called for housing for racial minorities and LGBTQ people.

“People of color are allowed to create safe POC only spaces. It is not reverse racism or discriminatory, it is self-preservation,” Pitzer Latino Student Union member Sara Roschdi said.

But not everyone agrees. Student magazine The Claremont Independent ran a critical article. It features a photo of an African-American man at a segregated drinking fountain. “Students at Claremont Colleges Refuse to Live with White People,” read the headline.

 Pitzer's president, Melvin Oliver, its first African-American president, criticized the post in a statement“While Pitzer is a community of individuals passionately engaged in establishing intracultural safe spaces for marginalized groups, the Facebook post and several subsequent comments are inconsistent with our Mission and values,” he said.

For their part, Ureña and roommate Sajo Jefferson, a sophomore at nearby Pomona College, feel the conversation is unnecessary. They gave a “final statement” to the Washington Post. The students criticized the press for not covering issues of greater importance.

“The fact that this story is even getting press is unnerving when black people are dying everyday,” they said.

Lead Image Credit: Campus Grotto via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Madeleine Williamson - DePaul University

Madeleine Williamson is a freshman at DePaul University majoring in journalism and minoring in political science and Spanish. She loves tea, stationery and exploring her new hometown of Chicago.

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