Brown University’s “Mindfulness” course is only offered to minority students

A new course at Brown University has sparked controversy after it was offered exclusively to minority students.

Teacher training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has recently been offered only to students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Latino. Anyone identifying as BIPOC, regardless of age or whether or not they are a Brown student, was allowed to enroll in the online course, which debuted in May.

The exclusion of white and Asian students drew the ire of an anonymous Brown student who was turned away from the MBSR program for failing to identify himself as BIPOC. In a May 13 complaint filed with the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR), a self-proclaimed “civil rights and liberties organization,” the student stated that “Brown offers a RACE-BASED teacher training program open ONLY to certain demographics (black , Latino, indigenous).

The Wellness Center where the teacher training course is taught.
The Wellness Center where the teacher training course is taught.
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The complaint continues: “This program will also offer scholarships to these students to help manage the costs of the program. Financial assistance will NOT be offered to members of other communities who may also not be able to afford the program. (white & Asian). This results in certain sections of the population being favored over others and is discriminatory. As a student of the program, I cannot continue my education at this institution as I refuse to support educational segregation based on race alone, as it violates my core principles, values ​​and the Buddhist teachings on which this program is based.”

The student calls the program, which is funded by an endowment grant and the university’s School of Public Health, “a return to educational segregation based on race.”

Bion Bartning, FAIR’s president and founder, called Brown’s course “discriminatory”.

“Perhaps in a misguided attempt to right past injustices, Brown University decided to discriminate against students solely on the basis of their skin color and ethnic background,” Bartning said. “Such actions are not legally or morally justified and we urge the university to reconsider its decision.”

Christina Hull Paxson has served as President of Brown University since March 2012.
Christina Hull Paxson has served as President of Brown University since March 2012.

Following the complaint, FAIR attorney Leigh Ann O’Neill sent a strongly worded letter to Brown University President Christina Hull Paxson on June 15, accusing the university of violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act 1964, in which states: “No person in the United States shall be disqualified from participating in, denied benefits of, or discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs or activities that receive federal funding.

dr Eric B. Loucks, director of Brown University’s Mindfulness Center, defended the school’s decision to limit the course to people of color, saying, “The intent is to reach future teachers who have a particular interest in or history personal engagement with the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and/or Latino/Latina/Latinx peoples and others who have been underrepresented in the mindfulness field.”

Brown has since changed its policy to allow all students, not just minority students, to enroll in classes when it resumes in August.

“Following further review of our early promotional materials for the program, we refocused them to reflect the inclusive nature of the program while meeting the goal of addressing the needs, life experiences and priorities of marginalized communities,” Loucks told The Post. Brown University’s “Mindfulness” course is only offered to minority students


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