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Berkeley alumnus slams co-op for banning white people from common areas

A famous University of California, Berkeley alumnus condemned an off-campus co-op that banned white guests from entering common areas of the house to ‘avoid white violence.’  

David Seaborg, 73, an environmentalist who graduated with a master’s degree from the university in 1974, told DailyMail.com the ‘woke mentality’ at the school is ‘dangerous,’ and that it is a recent development that is gaining traction.

‘Things were different then,’ Seaborg, founder and president of the World Rainforest Fund, said. ‘There wasn’t the anti-white stuff you have now.

‘It is widespread and has a lot of support among students in the liberal community,’ he added. ‘Not just in Berkeley but also nationwide.’ 

Seaborg, who supports the Democratic Party, also said he believes ‘the woke stuff will upset a lot of the white voters’ that Democrats want to sway.

The criticism came after the co-op named the ‘Person of Color Theme House’ put up a new list of rules for the dwelling, revealing that occupants were told ‘many POC moved here to be able to avoid white violence and presence, so respect their decision of avoidance if you bring white guests.’

Environmentalist David Seaborg, 73, (above) slammed a co-op at his alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley, after a co-op put up a ban on white people from common areas

A photo posted to Reddit shows the inflammatory rules, that include 'White guests are not allowed in common spaces'

A photo posted to Reddit shows the inflammatory rules, that include ‘White guests are not allowed in common spaces’

The house rules state that white guests are not allowed in common spaces

The house rules state that white guests are not allowed in common spaces

Another rule states that guests must be announced if they are going to be in common spaces, and if they are white

Another rule states that guests must be announced if they are going to be in common spaces, and if they are white

Seaborg, founder and president of the World Rainforest Fund, warned the rise of 'anti-white' sentiments was growing in campuses across the nation and said it could negatively impact Democrats in the polls

Seaborg, founder and president of the World Rainforest Fund, warned the rise of ‘anti-white’ sentiments was growing in campuses across the nation and said it could negatively impact Democrats in the polls

The common living room in the off-campus 'Person of Color Theme House' co-op

The common living room in the off-campus ‘Person of Color Theme House’ co-op

A student is seen in another common area, the kitchen, of the co-op where white people are also banned

A student is seen in another common area, the kitchen, of the co-op where white people are also banned 

White students are seen in the kitchen of the co-op during a tour

White students are seen in the kitchen of the co-op during a tour 

While the student house aims to have an ‘inclusive’ environment, the rules specifically state ‘white guests are not allowed in common spaces,’ according to the list, which was posted on Reddit.  

The accommodation, which is located close to Berkeley’s campus, is a five-story, 30-room home that can house up to 56 students. The house is owned by a private landlord. 

But the ‘rules’ which were leaked on social media have caused outrage – with many people slamming the restrictions as ‘racist’ as others came forward and revealed their experience living in the co-op.  

One mixed-race Reddit user, who claimed to have lived at the house, said that their ‘presence as a light skinned person was not received well.’

They said house members called them slurs and they were even ‘not allowed to let my dad enter the house because he’s white.’ 

The house was set up as part of the Berkeley Student Cooperative, a program designed to bring affordable housing to students in California’s Bay-area, and ‘aims to provide housing to low-income, first generation, immigrant and marginalized students of color.’

According to the ‘rules,’ people that live there should ‘avoid bringing parents/family members that express bigotry,’ because ‘Queer, Black, and Indigenous members should not have to avoid common spaces because of homophobic or racist parents/family members.’

Janet Gilmore, Senior Director of Strategic Communications at the University told DailyMail.com the house is ‘not campus operated,’ meaning ‘it is not the role of the campus to comment.’

Gilmore also said the University does have its own Theme Programs, but they have ‘no such policies like the one alleged in the Reddit image,’ and stated ‘Cal Housing Theme Programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, consistent with UC and campus policy.’ 

‘As this involves an off-campus non-affiliated landlord, the campus has no ability under the Code of Student Conduct to discipline the landlord.’

Person of Color Theme House was established in 2015 to better serve and empower students of color within the Berkeley Student Cooperative system

Person of Color Theme House was established in 2015 to better serve and empower students of color within the Berkeley Student Cooperative system

A description of the house on the Berkeley Student Cooperative's website says it can hold up to 56 residents and 'exists to create a safe and welcoming space for its house members'

A description of the house on the Berkeley Student Cooperative’s website says it can hold up to 56 residents and ‘exists to create a safe and welcoming space for its house members’

As the house is owned by a private landlord that is not affiliated with the University, they have said in the past they do not need to comment on what happens there

As the house is owned by a private landlord that is not affiliated with the University, they have said in the past they do not need to comment on what happens there

Under BSC’s antidiscrimination policy, ‘acts are prohibited if they discriminate against any BSC community members’ on the basis of qualities such as age, gender and sexual orientation.

Stephen Ross, cooperative experience manager for the Berkeley Student Cooperative, told The Fix that the house’s rules are not ‘official policy.’ 

‘White people can and do live in POC house, but the focus for POC house is providing a safe and supportive living environment for people of color,’ said Ross. 

But Ross also said the Person of Color Theme House has it’s ‘own culture and practices,’ and the focus of the house is to provide ‘a safe and supportive living environment for people of color.’

He said house members purposefully work towards ‘not making Whiteness central to the experience for members living in the house,’ because some members have been traumatized by the ‘white violence’ mentioned in the rules.

Ross defines this as being negatively impacted by things such as ‘racist and discriminatory remarks made by former President Trump’ and ‘daily experiences of covert and overt racism.’

He added he hopes the house can provide members with a ‘safe space’ where they can ‘process their experiences and feel supported.’

Houses in the Berkeley Student Cooperative are run by private landlords, meaning the University often feels they don’t need to comment on what they do. 

This comes just weeks after public schools and a teachers union in Minnesota agreed that white teachers in the education system would be laid off before those of color.

The deal was struck between Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers union after a two week strike spearheaded by union president Greta Callahan last spring.

It states that instead of teacher layoffs or relocations being decided based on seniority – as is typical – schools can ignore that protocol and dismiss senior staff members if otherwise a teacher of color would be laid off. 

Former Republican candidate Kendall Qualls called the deal ‘repugnant’ and  characterizing it as ‘unamerican.’ 

‘It’s just repugnant,’ Qualls, who is black, said.

 ‘You it you think about the discrimination that we faced in this country back in the 50’s and 60’s, it was wrong then. It’s wrong now regardless of who is the victim it’s wrong. And we shouldn’t stand for it as a country.’ 

Many have called the deal unconstitutional, and accused it of addressing past racism with more racism. 


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