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Berkeley co-op house rules declare that 'white guests are not allowed in common spaces'

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The house rules for an off-campus home of UC Berkeley students stated that "white guests are not allowed in common spaces," the Daily Mail reported Friday. Initially, a Reddit post leaked the co-op's house rules.

The comment thread on the post featured stories from users claiming to have lived in the "Person of Color Theme House." Many users expressed having negative experiences while residing in the off-campus residence.

One Reddit user who claims to have lived in the home commented that their white father was not allowed to enter the co-op. The user described themselves as mixed-race and reported being insulted and called slurs by other house members.

Berkeley's co-op program was created to help students find affordable housing around campus. According to the Berkeley Student Cooperative, the five-story home is located close to campus and can accommodate up to 56 students. It was established in 2015 to "create a safe and welcoming space for its house members and build solidarity with communities of color in the Berkeley area and beyond."

The Person of Color Theme House is not affiliated with the University but is instead run by a private landlord. The home was opened to provide housing for "low-income, first generation, immigrant and marginalized students of color."

While the home claims to be a safe haven of inclusivity, the house rules tell a different story.

"Many POC moved here to be able to avoid white violence and presence, so respect their decision of avoidance if you bring white guests," the rules stated. It advised members to "also announce guests in the Guest Chat if they will be in the common spaces with you and if they are white."

Tenants are requested to "avoid bringing parents/family members that express bigotry. Queer, Black, and Indigenous members should not have to avoid common spaces because of homophobic or racist parents/family members."

Janet Gilmore, the University's Senior Director of Strategic Communications, told the Daily Mail that, since the home is privately owned and operated, "it is not the role of the campus to comment" on the post about the co-op's rules. She also said that, even if off-campus private housing violates campus policy by discriminating based on race, "the campus has no ability under the Code of Student Conduct to discipline the landlord."

Cooperative experience manager for the Berkeley Student Cooperative, Stephen Ross, told the College Fix that there is no official policy banning white guests from the common area. However, he stated that the home does prioritize "not making Whiteness central to the experience for members living in the house."

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