Cornell Students Defend Racially Segregated Rock Climbing Course


Cornell University students expressed support for racial segregation after the school allowed white students to enroll in a rock climbing class originally restricted to minority students.

Cornell first offered “BIPOC Rock Climbing” in the spring of 2021, exclusively to “people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, or other people of color.” The school removed the racial enrollment requirement in response to a Campus Reform inquiry.

Students enrolled in the course objected to the move, telling the Cornell Daily Sun that segregating the class “is a small step” toward greater racial equity.

“At the end of the day, there is an issue of inaccessibility for minorities in this white-centric sport and BIPOC rock-climbing is a small step towards desegregating that community,” Matthew Gavieta, a junior and BIPOC Rock Climbing class instructor, said.

Instructor Michelle Croen, a senior, claimed it’s typically “difficult” for minority students to feel welcomed in rock climbing due to the cost and other “microaggressions,” such as course names.

“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,” Croen said. “Just under the surface, the climbing world especially is affected by racism, sexism, and sizeism.” – READ MORE

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