In an open letter to top officials and the Board of Trustees at Claremont McKenna College, a group of students identified as the “CMCers of Color” criticizes the college’s effort to punish students who violated college policy while protesting conservative scholar Heather Mac Donald as the “further criminalization of already marginalized students” and calls upon the college to end its “investigation.”

The letter comes as Hiram Chodosh, the president of CMC, fulfills his vow to punish students who defied college regulations in the course of the protests.

“Blocking access to buildings violates College policy,” he wrote in an April 7 email, one day after protesters shut down Heather Mac Donald’s talk by blockading the entrances to the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, where the Manhattan Institute scholar was scheduled to appear. “CMC students who are found to have violated policies will be held accountable. We will also give a full report to the other Claremont Colleges, who have responsibility for their own students.”

Multiple sources report that the college analyzed photo and video evidence supplied by onlookers and student journalists to identify the individuals who violated campus rules at the protest and target them for sanctions.

The CMCers of Color, however, complain that these efforts to uphold college policy are “distressing” and amount to “acts of violence” by the administration against students of color, whom they allege are the principal targets of the investigation:

“CMC has threatened to prevent students from walking at graduation and holds the power to withhold transcripts, barring students entrance into a competitive job market. CMC has also threatened suspension and expulsion. For low-income and first generation students, graduation is a culminatory moment that should not be revoked. On campuses where students of color already feel unsafe, it is distressing that these institutions resort to punitive measures to resolve issues resulting from their own negligence. These are acts of violence, and if advanced, would severely harm the survival of these students, particularly those of whom are graduating this coming week.”

The CMCers of Color also criticize the college for inviting speakers like Mac Donald, speakers who, according to the group, endanger students of color:

“While inflammatory speakers are framed as generating open dialogue on campus, they merely create dangerous campus environments for students of color. The institution’s financial backing of speakers who examine Black livelihood, suggesting its debatability, shows that fraudulent calls for open dialogue take precedence over students of color. CMC is effectively complicit in threats to the safety of students of color by legitimating the very politics that denies their humanity.”

The letter further claims that “[t]here has been no talk of investigation for violent counter protesters — only talk of further criminalization of already marginalized students.” But Chodosh’s original statement announcing the investigation stated that policy violators would be punished, and violence is against the student code.

Moreover, several eyewitnesses consulted by the Independent recall seeing no violent counter protest at the event, and multiple videos taken at the scene corroborate this account. The witnesses also confirm that the protesters engaged in various forms of physical intimidation, including “shoving, blocking,” and “forming human walls” to ensure that no one could enter the Athenaeum to view Mac Donald’s talk. Additionally, student journalists and onlookers, including but not limited to writers for the Independent, reported receiving threats of violence from students protesting Mac Donald. CMC’s student code prohibits “actions which cause, or could cause, personal injury or death,” actions which include “threatening to assault” or “intimidating another person.”

Concluding their letter, the CMCers of Color call for an end to CMC’s investigation. “We stand in solidarity with the actions taken against Mac Donald,” they write, “and we demand that the investigation and criminalization of CMC students stop immediately.”

The signatories to the letter of the CMCers of Color are private; as such, it is unclear how many have signed it.

Requests for comment from President Chodosh and other CMC officials were unanswered at the time of publication.

Categories: Campus News
  • Tired of narcissists

    So there are to be exceptions to the code of conduct for students of color because of their color.

    So students of color can’t be expected to follow the rules of the school at which they attend? The same thing is happening in the public school system. These social justice zealots have made a huge deal over black suspension rates, as if teachers are suspending them solely because of their color.

    There is no consideration for the other factors in the lives of students, such as poverty and their home lives, which might be traumatic or indulgent, or both. Instead of treating elementary school kids as people regardless of their color and expecting them to conduct themselves respectably, certain races are to be treated as inferior in ability to follow basic instructions.

    Unless these Claremont students have suffered brain changes because of traumatic experiences, they should be held to the same standards. And the trauma can’t include narcissistic wounds which is what these students experience when told someone disagrees with them. That is the violence they speak of. They are so narcissistic that debate is “violence” and a threat to their existence. It isn’t a threat based on their color, but it is a threat to their narcissistic entitlement.

    • Uncle Dave

      Yes, just like outside in the real world; If you are a member of a loud, obnoxious, vocal minority… you get a pass on most laws and any signs of decency.

  • Juana

    Students of every color, race, religion etc. Aware perfectly capable of behaving, protesting peacefully and Respecting the rules and codes of conduct of every institution they chose to attend; therefore, should suffer the consequences resulting from their behavior. Nobody, regardless of color or race should be excluded from the investigation, nor from being held accountable.
    And every student attending an educational institution should be exposed to speakers of different points of view, and should be able to listen, attend and peacefully disagree if they so choose.

    • Michael

      The weak little snowflakes are melting. Boo Hoo

  • William Gates

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think that the comments from the CMCers of Color were meant to be parody. How can anybody make comments like that and expect to be taken seriously? They’re a caricature of themselves. Absolutely laughable.

  • Dr. Corey

    These students talk about “violence” but the only people bringing any violence upon anyone are themselves. Expulsion, which is exactly what they deserve (if not outright arrest), is not an act of “violence.” It is an act of maintaining order, and an act of justice. It is just that you be punished for your conduct, and if you cannot refrain from this conduct, it is just that you be denied the privilege of higher education.

    The whole country is sick of these moronic temper tantrums. We don’t care if you like our opinions or not. Our opinions of you – no matter how derogatory they may be – are not “acts of violence.” They are opinions. If our opinions make you feel “unsafe” you should seriously consider some sort of therapy or medication. Perhaps you should revisit an old saying that starts with “sticks and stones…”?

    There will always be people with opinions different than yours. We are entitled to ours, and to invite speakers to give theirs. If you don’t like that, you don’t belong at an institution of higher education, period. And you should be kicked out of the one you are in if you can’t follow basic rules of civility and appropriate conduct.

    A college professor

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  • DLH

    Hard to figure why so many CMCers of color are are working fast food counter’s in my city after graduation. Maybe, if they spent time studying, passing me fried zucchini and orange bang would not be the result of such a costly education.

  • Ron Birchard

    Speech is speech.
    The answer to speech you don’t like is more speech, not less.
    Where do these authoritarian ideas come from?
    Why have colleges allowed this?

  • An Alum

    Thank God some sanity is finally prevailing, however, after the backlash against the American themed party in 2014, I’m convinced that Pomona has fully succumbed to communism. These imbeciles should be tried for low treason.

  • Harold Wyrick

    “Blocking access to buildings violates College policy”

    It’s becoming SOP now to see articles about campus protest shutdowns referring to blocking entrances to an area or a building. Are these entrances one way only, as in the protesters are only blocking people trying to enter? Most building entrances are also exits, especially for egress in emergencies.
    That was the most dangerous thing about the protest of Ben Shapiro in CA, where the youthful ignorant buffoons blocked even the emergency fire exits to the theater..

    And these mostly able bodied bullies are impeding the movements of disabled individuals? Really? With gender and race being fluid now, according to the new SJW manifesto, one can choose one’s race and gender from moment to moment, but as a permanently disabled human, it makes me angry that these illiberal jackasses would interfere with any physically disabled person, who can’t choose their condition from minute to minute, in any way whatsoever to make their idiotic political point. And where are college administrations on enforcing the free movement rights of persons with physical disabilities?

    These nitwits want to argue about privilege? I’m their Huckleberry.

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