Cornell University has opened up a 'BIPOC only' rock climbing course to white students amid accusations that they are encouraging racial segregation on campus.
An online description of the course, which runs during spring semester and is titled PE 1641: BIPOC Rock Climbing, initially stated that the class was 'for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other people of color'.
BIPOC is an acronym which stands for black, indigenous and people of color.
The prestigious Ivy League university quickly came under fire for the course, which sparked outrage on the internet.
Critics claimed Cornell was 'disgustingly racist' and actively discriminating against white people, prompting administrators to open up the rock climbing course to students of all races.
The course - which costs students $315 - still retrains its 'BIPOC Rock Climbing' name, but an updated course description states: 'This class is open to all Cornell students interested in learning rock climbing with this special focus.'
The course sparked heated debate on Reddit, with one user claiming the course was an example of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which asserts that 'institutions are inherently racist and that race itself.. is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color'.
'This has been going on all over higher education in all different programs,' the user proclaimed. 'Critical race theory is f**king toxic!'
Another chimed in wondering whether Cornell preferred 'drinking fountains to be segregated for whites and BIPOCS too?'
A third wrote: 'I didn't know Cornell liked Jim Crow.'
A University spokesman did not address the change, simply telling The Cornell Daily Sun: 'While some [activities] may include a focus on students with specific identities, they are not restricted to only those students.'
However, an instructor leading the course told the publication it was 'unlikely' white students would now enroll.
Another instructor claimed that the course was simply designed to help BIPOC students feel comfortable with the 'white-centric' sport of rock climbing, and was not intended to be discriminatory.
'From larger issues such as cost of entry and accessibility, to smaller microaggressions like the names of some outdoor climbing routes, it’s difficult to be a minority and feel welcomed in the outdoors. Just under the surface, the climbing world especially is affected by racism, sexism and sizeism,' they stated.
The instructor did not specifically name the routes that might be 'microaggressions', and many popular rock climbing spots in New York state are located in national parks with Native American names.
Meanwhile, there have been some BIPOC students who were supportive of the exclusionary rock climbing course and wish it was not opened up to those who identify as white.
'Hearing people complain about this class, saying it’s taking away from our white peers is laughable and frustrating,' one told The Cornell Daily Sun.
According to CollegeSimply, 59 percent of students at Cornell are BIPOC or from overseas.
Just 41 percent are white Americans, far below the national average of 76 percent.
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