The University of North Texas is dealing with an uproar from some students after a staffer suggested naming an under construction dorm for a woman or person of color would be reverse racism.
Student leaders say they feel the tone of university communications employee Nancy Kolsti's email sounds like voices of divisiveness, not diversity.
Misaki Collins put up a petition on social media calling for the new dorm to be named after a person of color or a woman. But Kolsti emailed Collins saying there are longtime administrators deserving of the honor and they happen to be white males. Adding
"Insisting UNT must have a residence hall named after another woman or a person of color... is imposing a quota system, and to me, that is a form of reverse racism,” Collins wrote in the email.
Collins said she was shocked by Kolsti’s response.
UNT is a majority minority student body. But UNT isn’t planning on any sanctions for Kolsti. The university said in a statement, “Honoring diversity is one of our most important values ... UNT also supports free expression from all its community members, including employees. Public employees generally retain the right to free speech.”
UNT said Kolsti was expressing her views as a private citizen and not as a UNT employee. Student Jordan James was surprised by UNT’s response.
"This is a spokesperson for the university. Why would the university standby someone like that, because everything you say holds weight,” James said.
Students said it’s important what names are put on buildings on campus.
"Having it named for a woman or person of color brings awareness to other contributions to the school so I just think it’s a really good idea,” said student Tana Fisk.
Students are holding a town hall meeting on campus Wednesday to talk about their feelings.