UConn’s all-black dorms spark controversy

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Residence Life’s mission can be summarized in one sentence: to create a living and learning community for students. The University of Connecticut’s Resident Life department aims to do just that with its “Living and Learning Community” programs.

One program that draws controversy is the Scholastic House of Leaders who are African American Researchers & Scholars, stylized ScHOLA2RS.

According to the mission statement on the University of Connecticut webpage for the program, ScHOLA2RS is “designed to support the scholastic efforts of male students who identify as African American/Black through academic and social/ emotional support, access to research opportunities and professional development.”

The mission statement says the program is intended to increase retention and graduation rates among black males at the school, a demographic that has been significantly lower than other groups.

For instance, only 55 percent of African American male students graduated in six years, the lowest of any racial group at the University of Connecticut. Compare that to an overall graduation rate of about 80 percent for white male students, the largest group at the university, according to Boston.com.

Recently, Internet users accused the program of segregating living quarters.

“Participation is entirely voluntary and its programming will be open to all in the university community, not only black male students,” said Stephanie Reitz, spokesperson from the University of Connecticut.

The website for the ScHOLA2RS program echoes this under its FAQ section.

Reitz said that this is not the only Learning Community program at the University of Connecticut to focus on race or gender, and that their La Communidad Intelectual program is a thriving community with a very similar focus, and that the Women in Math, Science and Engineering program was their first and most successful program of this sort, according to Boston.com.

“This learning community will not be separate, nor is the building only going to house this group of students,” Reitz said. “Rather, this will be one of several learning communities whose residents live in Next