James Madison University trains students that Christians, White males are 'oppressors'

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FIRST ON FOX: James Madison University in Virginia is training student employees to recognize that people who identify as male, straight, cisgender, or Christian are “oppressors” that engage in the “systematic subjugation” of other social groups.

According to documents obtained by Fox News, student employees in charge of facilitating orientation for first-year students this fall at JMU underwent training in recent weeks to learn about social justice and inclusion. 

A training video mandated for student staff, hosted by coordinators Jessica Weed and Jennifer Iwerks, described oppression as “the systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic and political benefit of the more powerful social group.”

The video defined an “oppressor” group as one that has the power to define reality for themselves and others, and in turn, the “target” groups “take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them).”

The presentation defined privilege as the “unearned social power accorded by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group at the expense of targeted groups.” It also said members of both the oppressor and target groups are “socialized to play their roles as normal and correct.”

The JMU training materials listed the various races and nationalities they considered “privileged” or “agents” and those they characterized as “oppressed” or “targets.” Among the privileged, according to the presentation, are people who identify as male, cisgender, heterosexual, heteroromantic, Christian, White, Western European, American, upper to middle class, thin/athletic build, able-bodied, or ages 30s to early 50s.

Among the oppressed groups, according to the presentation, are people who identify as Black, Asian, Latinx, non-Western European, LGBTQ+, homoromantic, Muslim, Jewish, working class, overweight, or disabled, among others.

After the training was completed, student employees were sent an email instructing them to “not share these materials with others.”

A JMU spokesperson told Fox News in a statement that the training was an “opportunity” for students who work in the Office of Student Affairs. 

“The training was held to help ensure that every student guide for freshmen orientation had the tools and understanding to work with incoming students, who might have a different background than their own,” the statement read. “At JMU, we strive to create an inclusive and welcoming community for all students. We also seek feedback on the training to constantly work on improving how we communicate and train student staff members.”

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