A viral video showing a black student at the University of Virginia asking white students to leave the campus diversity centre has sparked a debate over race.

"Frankly, there's just too many white people in here," the student says in the clip posted on Wednesday.

The incident has divided students and commentators on Twitter.

Some argue that minorities at the predominantly white school should have their own space.

Others said the student was exhibiting "racist intolerance".

The row has touched a nerve at the institution, which was largely built by slaves, in a state that has struggled to reckon with a legacy of racism.

In response, the UVA administration has said that the centre is "open to all members of the university community".

The video was posted by conservative group Young America's Foundation. In the clip, a black student is seen calling for attention before making an announcement.

"This is a space for people of colour, so just be really cognisant of the space you're taking up because it does make some of us [people of colour] uncomfortable when we see too many white people in here," she says.

"Frankly, there's the whole university for a lot of y'all to be at, and there's very few spaces for us so keep that in mind," she says.

A majority of the 16,777 undergraduate students who enrolled at UVA in the 2017-2018 school year were white, while only six percent were black, according to university data.

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