PROVIDENCE, R.I. (TND) — An Ivy League university amended its qualifications for a teacher training program that was previously limited to people of color.
According to a complaint from a student in the program, Brown University’s “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)” teacher training program was only taking students from certain racial demographics.
Brown is offering a RACE-BASED teacher training program that is ONLY open to certain demographics (black, latino, indigenous). The teachers will also only be members of what they call the BIPOC community (with support from senior teachers who may be white). This is a return to educational segregation based on skin color,” the anonymous student, who ultimately decided to leave the program, said in their complaint filed with the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR).
As a student of the program, I find myself being unable to continue my training with this institution as I refuse to support educational segregation based solely on skin color as it violates my core principles, values, and the Buddhist teachings that which this program is based on,” the student added in their complaint.
The anonymous student also pointed out that the program was only offering financial assistance to students of color, and not offering the same assistance “to members of other demographics who may not be able to afford the program either. (white & asian).”
FAIR’s staff attorney, Leigh Ann O’Neill, later urged Brown to open its program to students “without regard to their immutable traits,” in a lengthy letter to the university.
“We also believe that such a gesture would demonstrate Brown’s commitment to non-discrimination and equal access,” O’Neill added.
The university later acknowledged receipt of FAIR’s letter and appears to be taking action as a result of the backlash.
Eric B. Loucks, the director of Brown’s Mindfulness Center, said in a statement obtained by The National Desk (TND) that Brown’s MBSR program will be open next fall to students “regardless of race, color, or national or ethnic origin.”
Upon further review of our early promotional materials for the program, we realigned them to reflect the program's inclusive nature while still meeting the goal of addressing the needs, life experiences, and priorities of marginalized communities,” continued Loucks. “This MBSR Teacher Training Program is an effort to widen the population of teachers and participants who have access to mindfulness training and are involved in research programs.