University under fire for creating a safe space for white students, the so-called ‘White Awake’

The University of Maryland Counseling Center received backlash after she started a group called “White Awake” as a “safe space for white students” to discuss race on campus.


The University of Maryland (UMD) was forced to take flyers, and the change of the name of a counseling program that offered “safe space for white students” after sparking outrage on the campus.

At the beginning of the first semester, UMD’s Counseling Center posted flyers for a new group with the name “White Wake up,” which prompted the resistance.

Early Friday, the website of the university changed the name to “Anti-Racism, and Ally Building Group” and scrubbed all references to a “safe space” and “white students.”

The University of Maryland Counseling Center facing student backlash after it began a group called “White Awake” for a “safe space for white students” to discuss race on campus.

(Google maps)

“This group provides a safe space for white students to explore their experiences, questions, reactions, and feelings,” the first description to read. “The members support and share feedback with each other as they learn more about themselves and how they fit in a diverse world.”

The flyer also asked if white people “feel uncomfortable and confused” in their interactions with racial and ethnic minorities,” and if they “want to become a better ally.”

A number of students transferred their outrage on social media and on campus.

“The world is a space for white people to talk,” one student told The Diamondback, UMD student newspaper, the express of how unnecessary the new initiative.

I am ashamed of the version of white waking up, nor can I fully understand the clause. “How they can fit in a diverse world”? Why do they need to attend the therapy sessions about how to be a decent human being in the society? Why do they need to have these sessions to learn how to live together?

— Alysa Conway (@LoveConweezy27) September 13, 2018

Another student tweeted she was “embarrassed about the version of white waking up,” write, “Why do they need to attend the therapy sessions about how to be a decent human being in the society (…) next to each other to live?”

Noah Collins, who leads the group and is specialized in group therapy for the Counseling Center with an interest in the “racial and cultural awareness,” in a statement Thursday night, saying UMD will stop with the flyer and consider changing the name, but that is by the group.

He said the flyer was “not clear enough” to explain that the group goal is “anti-racism and be a better ally.”


The university told Fox News in a statement that the UMD’s Counseling Center recognizes that the “don’t choose the right words in raising awareness about this research-based initiative, and how this group is perceived is in conflict with the values of inclusiveness and diversity that we embody.”


“This is an incredibly difficult, nuanced problem, and that is the reason that we need to discuss it,” Collins wrote. “The purpose of this group is to help white students become more culturally competent, so that they can better participate in creating a more inclusive environment at the University of Maryland.”

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular