A Texas Christian University professor's e-mail to his "students of color" backfired when some of the recipients felt a little creeped out. Inside Higher Ed ran Assistant Professor of Religion Santiago Pinon's e-mail, which invited "all my students of color to get together and discuss the challenges they may face during the semester....I don't mind if this would turn out to be a study session for my STUDENTS OF COLOR ONLY [emphasis in the original]."
One student, who asked not to be named, told Inside Higher Ed, "After I read it, I read the names [of the other recipients] and they were just Hispanic last names....I thought, 'Is this really happening?' I laughed, in shock, as my immediate reaction."
The student told the publication that "she doesn't strongly identify as Hispanic, although her last name is of Hispanic origin and she is one-quarter Hispanic."
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Pinon explained in an e-mail to Inside Higher Ed that his e-mail was misunderstood, and that "I should have been more clear in that the study group is open to all students. My goal is to participate in and contribute to the [university's] mission by being available to all students so they are successful in the classroom and beyond."
One of his students, Daniel Castaneda, told Inside Higher Ed that he wasn't bothered by the e-mail.
"I think it was written with all good intentions, not meaning to segregate or leave anyone out....I think it was taken a bit out of context by some people."
Well, maybe they can discuss this at the next study group.