Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, asked students to identify themselves by race, and then segregated them into different orientation sessions according to their identity.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) investigated the situation after a professor brought it to their attention. The foundation called on the school to commit to never offering such sessions again, as they conflict with the law.

“Racial segregation is not only morally wrong, it’s illegal on our nation’s college campuses,” said FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley. “Lewis & Clark must end this practice immediately and publicly commit to never again returning to that dark chapter of our nation’s history.”

As FIRE reported, the college partnered with Race Talks, a “social justice activism” group, to run a mandatory orientation workshop on race titled “Engage for Racial Justice.”

The workshop used “affinity groups as a way to create safe spaces for people to speak openly and honestly about race and racism.” Students were required to identify themselves by race and were given three options: black, Indigenous/people of color, and white.

They were then separated into different Zoom session for what FIRE described as “separate educational experiences,” which unlawfully limited “their ability within the program to engage with students of different races.”

As the organization noted, Supreme Court cases, federal laws, and even Lewis & Clark’s own policies prohibit treating students differently based on their race.

The orientation was first brought to FIRE by Lyell Asher, an associate professor of English at Lewis & Clark, who said he received no response from college administrators when he suggested the event at least should not be mandatory. FIRE wrote a letter to the school, demanding the college stop “reducing students to the sum of their blood and ancestry” by mandating attendance to racially segregated events.

Lewis & Clark general counsel David Reese responded to FIRE’s letter by claiming even though the event was labeled as being mandatory, attendance wasn’t taken and students wouldn’t have been punished for not attending. He did not explain how students were supposed to know this ahead of time. Reese did suggest it be made clearer in the future that such “mandatory” events are actually “optional.”

Reese also wrote that “[s]tudents were not provided a different educational experience or outcome based on race, they simply had different individual conversations before coming back together as a larger group.”

FIRE maintained that this was “an unacceptable response — legally and morally.”

“Mandatory racial segregation isn’t wrong because FIRE or a professor finds it objectionable — it’s wrong because it means that your ethnicity alone determines the education you receive,” Shibley said. “That it was just a little segregation, that ‘mandatory’ actually means ‘optional,’ or that the college meant well is no defense.”

“I find it hard to believe that Lewis & Clark’s top leadership didn’t know that segregation was wrong, and harder still to understand why they went right on subjecting students to this unlawful practice after Professor Asher flagged the issue,” Shibley added. “You have to wonder what else might be going on at Lewis & Clark.”

9 thoughts on “Portland College Segregates First-Year Students By Race for Mandatory Orientation Session”
  1. Outrageous, demeaning, un-American! This onslaught must be stopped. They seek only to indoctrinate. Why, because ownership is their goal. America is a universal Nation, are their good and bad people, Yes, we humans are flawed. This does not abdicate our rights as free thinkers! Stay away from those whose goal is to limit and control and demand their beliefs only are acceptable! We are NOT ROBOTS! We are not citizens of China to be sent to “re-education camps”. Not yet anyway! If these places of “higher education” find a particular person becomes violent, or exhibits terrorist ideology deal with that individual, alert mental health, or civilian authorities

  2. Lewis and Clark College is committing blatant civil right criminal acts of apartheid and segregation. This same college is also a breeding ground of racial terrorism indoctrination by their brainwashing lies. This is NOT education but indoctrination with mindless hate ideology to be acting out in mass violence.

  3. I would drop all my courses in my class schedule and transfer to another college with a similar degree plan. Money talks and I would walk!

  4. Well, now the truth finally comes out. Dummycrat were the ones who enacted Jim Crow laws and now it’s dummycrats trying to bring them back. The real racist were the dummycrats all along.

  5. Give me a break they knew exactly what they were doing and that it was wrong. This is blatant discrimination by this college and all the rest. This needs to be stopped and addressed

  6. If you weren’t a racist fifteen years ago with nonobambas bull exhaust and all of the forced love for your neighbors even if they are sleezeballs and things that the ignorant liberals are forcing down our gullets,it would be very easy to become a racist.

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