Lewis & Clark College: Students Required to Participate in Racially Segregated Student Orientation Event


Lewis & Clark College

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Case Overview


In August 2020, Lewis & Clark College required incoming students to attend an event called “Engage for Racial Justice” as part of the college’s New Student Orientation. Students had to provide their race—either “Black,” “IPOC (Indigenous, Person of Color),” or “White”—so the college could segregate students into “affinity groups.” FIRE wrote to Lewis & Clark on October 6 to make clear that requiring students to identify themselves by race or ethnicity and then using those classifications to deliver separate educational resources and experiences clearly violates the principles of legal equality and students’ individual rights. On October 14, Lewis & Clark responded, arguing that its segregation was not “invidious” but that the college would in the future be “clearer” that the event is “optional” if it were repeated.