DURHAM University has distanced itself from suggestions that mandatory ‘anti-racism training’ would be offered at one of its colleges – something that caused ‘uproar’ on social media over the last 24 hours, with people calling it ‘anti-white indoctrination’.

An email sent on Tuesday (April 26) to undergraduates at John Snow College said training would be run by Durham's People of Colour Association (DPOCA), a student body, and would be 'mandatory'.

According to those that have organised the training, it is aimed at 'ensuring a safer community for people of colour'.

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But, days after the letter was sent, some students have branded it 'anti-white indoctrination', 'divisive' and are refusing to attend as it clashes with exam revision.

Posting on social media, student Samantha Smith, said: “As a mixed-race student, I refuse to take part in this anti-white indoctrination'.

"Durham is not racist. My white peers are not racist. We don't need or want this anti-white indoctrination."

However, DPOCA, who have previously run other anti-racism sessions and programmes across the Durham campus, has moved to defend the decision – calling on the need for an “inclusive culture” at the university.

The Northern Echo: Some students have branded the sessions 'divisive' and an 'anti-white indoctrination'. Picture: NORTH NEWS.Some students have branded the sessions 'divisive' and an 'anti-white indoctrination'. Picture: NORTH NEWS.

A spokesperson for the group said: “The intention of the workshop is to create a more inclusive, not divisive, culture on campus.”

Further clarifying the anti-racism sessions, Durham University has maintained that the talks aren’t mandatory, and that they’re run independently of the university.

A Durham University spokesperson said: “The provision of this training was not a university or College initiative but was taken by the student-led Junior Common Room at John Snow College.

The Northern Echo: A Durham University building. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.A Durham University building. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

“The training is delivered by Durham People of Colour Association, an association of Durham Students’ Union.

“Anti-racism training can help to create a more respectful environment, but attendance is at the discretion of individual students.”

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