Academia /

Massachusetts University Offers Students ‘Processing Spaces’ Following Rittenhouse Verdict

The spaces are segregated based on race

Students at Fitchburg State University were provided segregated “processing spaces” following Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal.

In an email to the student body, the Massachusetts university’s Center for Diversity & Inclusiveness wrote it would be “creating space for our community to process the ‘not guilty’ on all accounts verdict in the Kenosha, Wisconsin case where Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois native shot and killed two people protesting the wrongful death of Jacob Blake in 2020.” 

“Kyle was acquitted of all charges in the case after driving to Wisconsin with an automatic rifle,” the Center added. It told students “virtual and in-person physical spaces” would be available to “discuss [their] thoughts, emotions, and reflections.”

“Soon after Rittenhouse was declared not guilty, protests broke out across the U.S. Demonstrations were held in cities including Chicago, New York, Portland and Oakland,” per The Hill.

The university will offer four separate spaces: a “Students of Color Processing Space,” “White Student Ally Processing Space,” a “Faculty and Staff of Color Processing Space” and a “White Faculty and Staff Ally Processing Space.”

A Fitchburg State University spokesperson told Fox News that “some factual errors were included in the original communication” because of the rush to create the spaces. 

“The intention of the communication was to inform our community as quickly as possible of the optionally available space given the holiday break,” the university said in a statement on Nov. 19. “These do not change the intent of the gatherings, which is to provide a space for members of the campus community to discuss their reactions and experiences.”

Fitchburg added that “organizing such discussions by identity groups is a proven educational strategy [that] reflects the reality that different community members may process such events differently” and could “feel more comfortable sharing their feelings with community members of similar background and identity.”

The university also said it intends to eventually host a “combined session” open to all students and staff, regardless of their identity.

Fitchburg has just over 3,400 undergraduate students and about 1,200 graduate students.

Its Center for Diversity’s stated purpose is to “coordinate and maintain a campus-wide program that reflects the university’s mission to support the development of the whole person by engaging students in an inclusive environment.”

It advises identity-focused student groups including the Black Student Union, the Latin American Student Organization, Focus On Faith, the Asian Cultural Society, World Integrated Nations and the Gay Straight Alliance.

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