ASCMC and the Social Responsibility Resolution: A Call to Action

On September 26th, the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) introduced a document titled “The Resolution on Social Responsibility.” ASCMC has encouraged students to review the document and subsequently sign it, or at least offer constructive criticism so the document can be improved. The resolution marks another step in the yearlong journey to foster an atmosphere of inclusivity and increased personal responsibility.

Last year, the Dean of Students Office and President Chodosh raised concerns over extreme student behavior during CMC social events. These concerns did not extend to the occasional, almost inevitable errors that are made under the influence of alcohol. Instead, the administration was more alarmed by the disrespectful behavior that resulted in physical harm to students as well as the destruction of school and student property.

The administration’s recent effort to crack down on student behavior culminated in a series of conflicts and controversies over White Party, Rage in the Cage and routine North Quad gatherings. Many students felt that DOS supervision of parties was becoming too intrusive and counterproductive. As a result, the administration gave ASCMC the choice of taking steps on their own towards a solution, or essentially conceding to DOS changes with little to no input.

In response to this ultimatum, ASCMC held several round tables on social responsibility this past spring. These events included Athenaeum discussions, the Mirza Summit, and even the opportunity to converse with President Chodosh. Many of the opinions and viewpoints from these discussions were heavily contemplated during the drafting of the Resolution on Social Responsibility.

The resulting resolution focuses on the three main concerns of the administration regarding CMC’s social culture. First and foremost, the document asks that students respect each other’s bodies, identities, and property. Students are also asked to respect the campus and refrain from vandalizing school property. Finally, the resolution seeks to welcome everyone into the CMC social scene, regardless of whether or not they consume alcohol.

In order for ASCMC to present the resolution as a success to the administration, a minimum of three-fourths of the student body must sign the document. However, it is important to note that the document itself is not binding. A signature merely indicates that a student promises to uphold the ideals reflected in the resolution to the best of his or her ability.

Since its drafting, the resolution has received a wide range of feedback and commentary. ASCMC held an open forum discussion during Senate on September 29th, in which all CMC students were invited to attend. After the meeting, students had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with ASCMC members regarding the resolution.

It is important to remember that the resolution is still a work in progress, and students’ feedback and suggestions will be critical to the success of this initiative. Cole Mora, president of the Class of 2017, urged his class to take action, stating, “We have an opportunity here to decide what we want CMC to be going forward. Our administrators, faculty and trustees have put the ball in our court, and I’m excited to show them what we’re capable of.”

ASCMC has gotten the ball rolling. Now it is in the hands of CMC students to show the administration that they are capable of addressing issues in a thoughtful, responsible manner.  The Resolution on Social Responsibility will decide much more than just the future of CMC’s social climate. It will determine whether or not students have a meaningful voice in future discussions regarding important campus issues.

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