On the day of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s now famous “I have a dream” speech, Inside Higher Ed. published an article on self-segregation at U.S. college residences.
The article is titled “Residence Halls Get Religion” and talks specifically about residences that favour Roman Catholic and Christian students. Students of other faiths are allegedly permitted “if there is space”.
Should institutions that promote higher thinking also promote this new form of self-segregation?
Is this a sign that young people really prefer not to live in harmony with others, but rather “stick with their own kind”?
Is segregation any better if it is done through self-selection?
Canada is usually not terribly far behind the United States in terms of trends. I wonder if this phenomenon will hit Canadian campuses, too? (Let me re-phrase that… I worry that it might.) Does the sad irony of this make you shake your head, too?
I cannot help but wonder, on this very important anniversary, how far we have really come?
I think we still have some work to do when it comes to putting tolerance, understanding and peace first.
What do you think? Is it a good idea to have college residences segregated by religion?
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.