After reading The Gazette's editorial (Dec. 4; "CU Boulder's 'separate but equal' segregated dorm"), the public is left with the impression that we are somehow forcing students to live in residence halls based on their race.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and we are glad that The Gazette has provided us this opportunity to correct some misinformation about our residence hall options.
While there is plenty in the editorial with which we disagree, we concur with a blogger's quote cited in the opinion piece: "Student housing that is available only to students of a certain race is plainly illegal in Colorado."
But that's not what we are doing at the University of Colorado Boulder and we want to set the record straight.
We have many Living and Learning Communities (LLCs) and Residential Academic Programs (RAPs) at CU Boulder that students can choose from based on a variety of personal interests.
The bottom line is, regardless of one's ethnicity, race or academic interests, our students select the living arrangement that is best for them.
It's 100 percent voluntary - a point never raised in the editorial.
Are you a white student who wants to live in the Lucile B. Buchanan Living and Learning Community, which has programming to support black-identified students and their allies? Great - you're in. Have you been indoorsy all your life, but have interest in rock climbing and other activities associated with the Active Living LLC? Awesome - we'll bring the carabiners.
There is no prerequisite for CU freshmen to join our living-and-learning communities. All are welcome.
Of course, we respect that the press and anyone else is entitled to disagree with this approach. But for the editorial to compare our voluntary practices with "separate but equal" Jim Crow laws was unfair and unfounded. We are following the law.
Just like many other universities, we offer a variety of living-and-learning communities that allow students to join peers in their areas of interest. This builds community and relationships.
The Lucile B. Buchanan LLC, named after CU Boulder's first African American female graduate in 1918, offers programming for a few dozen black-identified students and allies within a wing of Hallett Hall. This programming is designed, in part, to encourage critical discussions about race and diversity in higher education.
We know, through our own surveys, that many black-identified students do not feel there is a welcoming environment on our campus. We're deeply concerned about this, and the Buchanan LLC is among the programs we have introduced to build a more inclusive environment where students can have meaningful dialogue on both their successes and struggles.
This is not to say that Buchanan LLC residents only interact with those who happen to live near them. A living community is just one component of the university experience.
On campus - in classes, in residence halls, in dining halls, in the recreation center - our students have interactions with their peers from all races and walks of life.
At CU Boulder, we are committed to inclusive excellence and shaping tomorrow's leaders. And the Buchanan LLC is just one of many examples of how we do that.
Akirah Bradley is CU Boulder's associate vice chancellor for student affairs and the dean of students.