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Public university in Texas offers scholarships to students who take ‘white privilege’ courses

Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, will hand out scholarships of up to $2,800 to students who enroll in specialized courses through their honors program. The courses include a seminar series titled, "Understanding Whiteness: Historic and Contemporary Viewpoints on Privilege." (Image source: Sam Houston State University)

A public university in Texas is offering students scholarship money and additional perks to enroll in classes that focus on the subject of "white privilege."

Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, will hand out a scholarship of up to $2,800 to students who enroll in specialized courses through their honors program in Elliot T. Bowers Honors College.

The courses include a seminar series titled, "Understanding Whiteness: Historic and Contemporary Viewpoints on Privilege." The course seeks to answer questions such as "how might white people better understand white privilege," and specific topics include the social construction of whiteness, how whiteness operates within institutional structures, movements advancing white privilege and the examination of white racial identity.

Students will also be required to "educate others about white privilege through action research projects and community engagement initiatives," according to the Summer/Fall 2017 course list.

Honors college students also had the opportunity to enroll in a Black Lives Matter seminar course for the current spring semester. The course examines the specific events that led to the founding of Black Lives Matter, and seeks to understand the movement "and the role that social media, public figures and recent events have played in the evolution of the movement."

 In addition to the scholarship money students receive for joining the honors program and enrolling in the classes, the students enjoy additional benefits such as a private computer lab and lounge, early class registration, laptops, cameras and video cameras available at their disposal for class projects. They also receive special recognition with a medallion at their graduation ceremony, along with a permanent notation on their official school transcript.

The school joins a growing list of American colleges and universities that have prominently featured controversial classes on "white privilege."

The University of Wisconsin-Madison made waves earlier this year with its "White Privilege 101 workshop" that was designed to "create a more equitable campus." The University of Vermont likewise held a "white privilege" retreat in 2015. Sam Houston State's program, however, may be the first taxpayer-funded program in the country to provide a specific financial award for enrolling in "white privilege" related courses.

 

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