All posts by Steven Glick

Steven Glick is a senior at Pomona College studying economics and math. Originally from Chicago, IL, Steven’s hobbies include swimming, playing baseball, and making balloon animals.

Anti-Racism Protesters Segregated Themselves by Race

On Thursday night, protesters descended upon the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) in order to prevent Heather Mac Donald, a political commentator and author, from giving a lecture scheduled for that night. The protesters were ultimately successful, as Mac Donald’s speech was cut short.

The protest was organized on Facebook by a group called “ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists,” and over 250 people—including students at the Claremont Colleges, students at other colleges, and non-students—attended. The Claremont Independent obtained a screen shot from the ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists group describing instructions for the protest.

The page states, “For white accomplices: Please keep in mind that your role at this protest, aside from acting in solidarity with POC students at the 5Cs, particularly Black students, is to serve as a buffer between students of color and the police. That means, if the police come, it is imperative that you stay at the protest with fellow accomplices and engage with cops should it come to that.” Outside the Athenaeum, protest leaders shouted, “White students to the front!”

ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists also discouraged protesters from speaking with the media, stating, “We ask that participants do not engage with CI [Claremont Independent] reporters or anyone else who is trying to derail this action.” When correspondents from the Independent, including this author, sought information from protesters, they were met with silence and often had hands, clothing, or signs pushed in their faces.

The instructions also describe an “accomplice meeting” at Scripps College where protesters can learn more information about how to handle themselves in various situations. “There is a high likelihood that campus security and police will be present,” states the Facebook page. “[S]o please attend the accomplice meeting at the Scripps Student Union today at 3:30 pm to act given that situation or one where counter protesting is taking place. It is very important that there are white bodies at the action – please show up yourself for the entire duration of the event or if not have friends who can be trusted to go in your place.”

Claremont Students Plan to Protest ‘Anti-Black Fascist’ Heather Mac Donald

Students at the Claremont Colleges plan to protest and “shut down” a speech by prominent political commentator Heather Mac Donald tonight. Mac Donald, a member of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal, is scheduled to give a speech at Claremont McKenna College’s Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.

A photo of the students’ call to protest.

According to the event’s description on the Athenaeum’s website, “The Black Lives Matter movement holds that the U.S. is experiencing an epidemic of racially-driven police shootings, and that policing is shot through with systemic bias. Contending that the central Black Lives Matter narrative is not just false but dangerous, Heather Mac Donald will explore the data on policing, crime, and race and argue that policing today is driven by crime, not race, and that the movement has caused officers to back off of proactive policing in high crime areas, leading to the largest spike in nearly 50 years, disproportionately affecting blacks.”

Student protestors plan to “shut down” the event. “Anti-Black ‘scholar’ Heather Mac Donald has been invited to speak at Claremont McKenna College,” states the protest’s Facebook page. “Join the action with students of color at the Claremont Colleges to shut her down!!”

A Facebook event titled, “Shut Down Anti-Black Fascist Heather Mac Donald” and hosted by “ShutDown Anti-BlackFascists” encourages students to protest the event because Mac Donald “condemns [the] Black Lives Matter movement,” “supports racist police officers,” and “supports increasing fascist ‘law and order.’”

“Heather Mac Donald has been vocally against the Black Lives Matter movement and pro-police, both of which show her fascist ideologies and blatant anti-Blackness and white supremacy,” the Facebook page adds. “Let’s show CMC that having this speaker is an attack on marginalized communities both on campus and off. Together, we can hold CMC accountable and prevent Mac Donald from spewing her racist, anti-Black, capitalist, imperialist, fascist agenda.”

The protest organizers do not state specifically how they plan to “shut down” Mac Donald’s lecture, though they do urge students who attend to carry posters, wear black, and “Bring your comrades, because we’re shutting this down.”

Follow the Claremont Independent on Facebook for live coverage of the protests.

 

Claremont Students Say Masculinity is Hazardous to Mental Health

On Monday night, 5Cs Thrive hosted an event called “Masculinity + Mental Health.” According to the event’s description, the workshop focused on the mental health problems caused by masculinity.

“Masculinity can be extremely toxic to our mental health, both to the people who are pressured to perform it and the people who are inevitably influenced by it,” state the event’s organizers. “We would like to encourage discussion on how to openly talk about our emotions and our wellbeing, and how to engage in masculine identities in a healthy way. Relevant to this discussion is how masculinity can harm our relationships with people and one’s ability to cope when relationships are difficult or end. We want to create a safe and open space where we can talk about masculinity and its various intersections with our identities and experiences.”

5Cs Thrive describes itself as “A safe space for students at the 5c’s to talk about mental health,” and the “Masculinity + Mental Health” event took place at the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (The Hive). The Hive’s stated mission is “to accelerate the creative development of students across the 5Cs. We do that through Exploration – by creating a safe space to experiment and play, Collaboration – by bringing people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives together to be in the ‘intellectual muck’ together, and through Experiential Learning – thinking by doing.”

The event received some positive feedback on Facebook. One woman, Lizbeth Ramirez, posted, “THANK YOU from the fullness of my heart for having this available for my fellow brothers.”

Miles Robinson (PO ’18), who attended the event, told the Independent  that there was “a common consensus that masculinity is harmful both to those who express it and those affected by it” among attendees. “It was all talk through personal experiences,” stated Robinson. Robinson added that all of the organizers of Thrive—as well most of the attendees of Thrive’s weekly functions—are female, and the group hosted this event in the hopes of getting more men to come.

It seems Thrive’s efforts were not entirely successful, as some students avoided the event out of concern that it would alienate men. “If masculinity is described as something negative—a mental illness—then this is sexism against men,” stated Will Gu (PO ’20) in an email to the Independent. “Safe spaces… are supposed to make everyone feel comfortable. Criticizing masculinity makes males who adhere to traditional gender norms uncomfortable.”

Update: October 4, 2016

Sabine Scott, a leader of the “Masculinity + Mental Health” event, issued the following statement in an email to the Independent:

“Our ‘Masculinity and Mental Health’ event was created with the goal of providing a space to examine to effects of masculinity on mental health. In order to preserve the confidentiality of the space I’m not going to disclose what was discussed, but it was a productive conversation that helped people explore how masculinity impacted each person’s individual experience with mental health. Participants were able to find support in other people who have had similar experiences, and the meeting empowered both the men and women in the meeting to realize how the pressure to conform to stereotypical masculinity can have harmful effects on being able to share emotions and maintain healthy relationships.”

Correction: October 5, 2016

An earlier version of this story stated that 5Cs Thrive was part of the The Hive. A representative from Pomona College stated in an email to the Independent that 5Cs Thrive is not affiliated with The Hive, they just used the venue for their event.

Speedo Hike Canceled Over ‘Body Image,’ ‘Bro-iness’ Concerns

Yesterday, On the Loose (OTL), the outdoors club of the Claremont Colleges, announced the cancellation of their annual speedo hike due to concerns regarding body positivity. The event, which had previously been one of OTL’s most popular of the year, involved over one hundred students from the Claremont Colleges hiking up Mount Baldy in speedos.

“By having the Speedo Hike as our official welcome event each year, we unintentionally sent the message that to participate in OTL, you must be fit and comfortable with your body image,” OTL wrote on its Facebook page. “The name ‘Speedo’ itself inherently implies bro-iness. OTL is so much more than just that, but many potentially interested students get turned off to our club each year because of Speedo Hike.”

Clarissa Worcester, a staffer at the Outdoor Education Center, added, “the publicity/legacy surrounding that of the speedo hike is immediately and inextricably ostracizing. Not to mention how it directly excludes individuals with religious dressing practices. No matter what work you do, the ‘speedo hike’ will manifest itself as OTL taking out and funding a group of students that is nearly guaranteed to be almost exclusively outdoor-experienced, fit, and heavily swayed in the direction of outdoor—and otherwise—privilege that OTL is trying to work against.” Worcester added, “OTL’s decision to not put many folks’ organizational effort and time into an event that is widely associated with bodily shaming/exclusion just seems to make a lot of sense.”

Not all students agreed with the decision. “I want to express my profound disappointment in your decision to cancel the speedo hike. This decision is, in my opinion, a mistake that goes decisively against your responsibility as the heads of the club to enable transformative experiences in the outdoors,” wrote Jeremy Snyder, a Pomona student. “OTL should strive to serve as many people from as many backgrounds as possible, but this should be an additive process, not a reductive one. In terms of enabling outdoor experiences, taking the speedo hike off the docket is a net negative. No progress is made by its cancellation. If the hike is cancelled, every individual and group that would have opted not to participate will stay on campus that saturday just the same. The sheer absence of the Speedo Hike will not propel them outdoors, so it is not productive to that end. What does change, however, is that now every person who would have partaken—for whom the speedo hike could have been a fun, challenging, and socially transformative experience as it was for my friends and I—will now spend their saturday on campus as well, sedentary. The decision to cancel the hike has not propelled anybody new outdoors, it has merely erased the chance for students to have a new and singularly memorable experience.”

Samuel Breslow (PO ’18) pointed out that attendees of Speedo Hikes in the past were never forced to don speedos. “I think it’s important to note that wearing a speedo was not a requirement for participation in the speedo hike,” noted Breslow. “I can also speak to it from personal experience: I decided to keep my clothes on (for comfort/in order to lessen the sunburn), and no one ever pressured me in the slightest to take them off.”

“This has been a difficult decision for us to reach. We know lots of our beloved members will be disappointed that Speedo Hike isn’t happening this year,” states OTL’s Facebook page. “In an effort to make the club more inclusive and accessible to everyone, we didn’t want to advertise a trip that our staff felt like wasn’t representational of the full OTL mission and purpose.”

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Image: Flickr

 

Pomona College Poster: ‘Everyone is Problematic’

New students at Pomona College were welcomed to campus with posters all over their dorms giving instructions for “How to be a (Better) White Ally.” The signs state that white people should “acknowledge your privilege” and “apologize if you’ve offended someone,” adding that offensive language includes words like “sassy” and “riot,” which are “racially coded.”

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“Everyone is problematic and even the most educated and well-intentioned people will screw up,” the poster states. The sign then gives three steps for white allies to follow:

  1. Be prepared to make mistakes.
  2. Listen and apologize.
  3. Make sure to change.

“Remember, just because POC [person of color] #1 isn’t offended by something, does not mean that POC #2 will not be offended by it either.”

The poster goes on to states that “social justice is about BOTH elevating oppressed groups and simultaneously unpacking the privilege of dominant groups. These aspects are equally as important!” Additionally, the sign claims that all white people are racist. “Understand that you are white, so it is inevitable that you have unconsciously learned racism,” states the poster. “Your unearned advantage must be acknowledged and your racism unlearned.”

Further, the poster claims that white people should “just listen!” rather than explaining their own perspective. “Comparing a POC’s situation with some experience of your own is not helpful. You do not & can not understand our oppression!” The guide recommends that white people should “listen to a diverse selection of marginalized voices” and notes that “POC will always understand racism in a way that you cannot—you need to listen to them!”

Pomona College had several events last year that white students were not allowed to attend. Pomona College’s website states that “Pomona College seeks to maintain an environment of mutual respect among all members of its community” and that discrimination on the basis of race “destroy[s] the foundation for such respect and violate[s] the sense of community vital to the College’s education enterprise.”

SJWs Create ‘Shady Person of Color’ List to Target Dissenters

During the height of the racial protests at Claremont McKenna College last November, CMCers of Color issued a list of demands including the resignation of Dean Spellman and the establishment of a permanent “safe space” that would function as a Resource Center for students from marginalized backgrounds.

The student group wrote an official proposal to the administration, but also created a private Google doc with other miscellaneous items they wanted for their safe space, such as kitchen items and a sound system.

Among this list is a Shady Person of Color (SPOC) board, which includes a royal court of five members of the CMC community who opposed the group. Brandon Gonzalez, the King SPOC, is the Assistant Dean of Admissions. Gonzalez led the diversity initiative that CMCers of Color felt misrepresented CMC. The Queen SPOC, Hannah Oh (CMC ’15), was the Editor-in-Chief of the Claremont Independent at the time, and coauthored an editorial critiquing the protestors’ tactics. In a similar vein, Nathan Tsai (CMC ’17), the “Ignorant SPOC,” wrote a letter that garnered 277 signatures in opposition to the protestors’ demands.

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Tony Sidhom (CMC ’17)  was included on the list because he was critical of the movement as a whole, particularly with regards to the methods they used. Sidhom didn’t agree with the idea that CMC was institutionally racist, and was vocal in raising his concerns at Student Senate.

The Court Jester SPOC, David Brown (CMC ’19), was critical of the protestors’ lack of logistics and data as well as their tactics. Brown told the Independent, “If [CMCers of Color] had provided a single piece of evidence indicating that they were being systematically kept from performing well, I would have believed them. If I, in my own experience, had noticed a single instance where I was being held down based on the color of my skin I would have believed them. But they didn’t, I didn’t, and I don’t believe them.”

“I find the fact that they named themselves ‘CMCers of Color’ an insult. Instead, they purposefully use their name to manipulate their appearance as if to seem they were anything more than just 30 militant new wave liberal students,” Brown added. “I heard one of the protestors called a friend of mine ‘too rich to be black.’ Doesn’t it seem a little strange to you that the people supposedly fighting racism are the ones perpetuating racist stereotypes? The entire notion of fake or ‘shady’ people of color is just blatantly racist. Since when does being a person of color not allow you free thought? The whole point of this is so the protestors can still feel good about themselves by saying that they represent all ‘real’ people of color campus, but in order for them to consider you ‘real,’ you have to be one of them. Martin Luther King, Jr. said he wanted people to be judged off of the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Oddly enough, the protestors have consistently done the opposite. The protestors are the most racist group on campus I’ve seen to date.”

The use of the term ‘SPOC’ to dissociate students of color who dissented from the protest movement was widespread last semester. “Pomona’s new Latinx club was actually planning on creating a ‘SPOC calling-out’ committee” to target Latino students who did not agree with them, stated Kevin Covarrubias (CMC ’18). “The fact that such an idea was even brought up is deeply disturbing. As a 5C community, we should be all for constructively engaging with each other while debating the actual substance of our beliefs, not indulging in baseless ad hominems directed at one another.”

Edit: This story has been updated to include the name of David Brown, who initially requested anonymity.

Student Leader: “I Would Bully That Girl Out of School”

On Friday, the CMC Forum posted an April 26 letter sent by the former head of the Claremont McKenna College Alumni Association, Carol Hartman (CMC ’86), to the CMC administration and board of trustees. “The college setting may be the first time some students have to exhibit empathy, proportionality, responsibility and respect to their peers who might have very differing beliefs, opinions or perspective. It is not the prerogative of a student, who is on campus for 4 years, to change the historical culture and perspective of our college,” Hartman writes. “I do not believe that any majority of the alumni are supporting of the current events and cultural shift at the college.” Hartman goes on to criticize president Chodosh, “A President who leads with his own mission, Social Justice, rather than CMC’s mission. They are not aligned.”

Hartman then alludes to an example where her daughter, Kate Hartman, (CMC ’19) “experienced racism, delivered by those who say they will not tolerate it.” When the junior Hartman posted a link to Obama’s remarks that college students are too “coddled” on her Facebook page, Sarah Gissinger (CMC ’17), who was recently appointed to be a Fellow for Diversity and Inclusion by the Dean of Students office, responded by telling her “since you are white, you have absolutely no business making such a comment.” Ironically, Gissinger later commented, “As a white person, you will never experience racism.”

“Claremont McKenna College was once a remarkable place,” notes the senior Hartman. “My experience as a student was that it was a meritocracy. It is not today.”

“My daughter has applied and been accepted as a transfer to other universities,” she adds. “The culture of inclusion has created a hostile environment for those who have a different opinion and who are not Persons of Color.”

Some students did not appreciate Hartman’s statements. Liat Kaplan (CMC ’17)—the Editor-in-Chief of The Golden Antlers, a student publication—responded to the letter with a Facebook post stating, “Tbh [to be honest] I would bully that girl out of school if she wasn’t already transferring.”

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“It’s such an aggressive environment,” Kate Hartman told the Claremont Independent. “It seems like people really are not willing to sit down and listen to the opinions of others.”

“By choosing to make disagreements on campus climate personal, students undermine the opportunity to learn and grow from differing opinions,” she added. “I think there is a larger trend of people veiling a desire to silence opposing opinions as activism and progressive inclusion.”

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Image Source: Flickr

Black Women Protest Campus Party Because Non-Black Women Are Invited

This Friday, Black Lives At Mudd (BLAM) is hosting an event for “Black Woman & Non-Gender Conforming People” in order to have “a celebration of what black women have done for this community through a presentation involving black men in the 5’cs [sic].”

“We want to build community and have a safe fun space to kick back and chill,” BLAM states on the event’s Facebook page. “Transportation, food, and tickets will be provided for Black Woman and Non-Gender Conforming people. Allies will be handled according to resources.”

The event comes in response to Friday’s annual “Dinner for the Sistahs” event hosted by Building Leaders On Campus (BLOC), an all-male organization for “self-identified marginalized” students with a largely black membership. Dinner for the Sistahs is designed to be “an opportunity for the men of BLOC and the WOC [women of color] of the 7Cs to interact and get to know one another.” This year, “Any WOC is able to attend” Dinner for the Sistahs, according to the event’s Facebook page. In previous years, the event “was catered to Black WOC” at the Claremont Colleges.

Many black female students did not approve of this change. “There have been several complaints by Black womyn about the BLOC event that is happening on Friday and from what I have seen, it seems to me that the men of BLAM wanted to explicitly make sure that the womyn who felt oppressed and not welcomed by the structure and advertisement of ‘Dinner for the Sistahs’ felt loved and wanted to create an actual safe space for Black womyn—with the input of Black womyn,” stated Ashley Land (PO ’16). “In my honest opinion, I feel like the dinner is being half-assed, it is last minute, it is devaluing black womyn by not even letting them have two hours with them as the focus (when the event was originally created for Black womyn…like how you gonna make the event called Dinner for the Sistahs when the word ‘sistah’ is historically seeded with Black womyn in mind???).”

Land adds, “I think this Thursday’s BLOC meeting needs to revolve around what work y’all can put in to make a more this campus a more inclusive community. You should question why the Black womyn are critiquing BLOC the way they are and what can we do to be better in the future. This is work y’all need to do on y’all on [sics throughout].”

“This is sh*tty and it ignores the fact that a sh*t ton of woc are anti-black on these campuses. Thanks for being complicit in the violence by opening the space. Gross,” stated Erin Houston-Burroughs (SC ’17).

BLOC responded to these criticisms by emphasizing that black women were still the focus of the event. “After considering feedback from all parties, we want to make it clear that this dinner is centered first and foremost around Black Womyn. The purpose of this dinner is to create a safe space for all participants in which they can enjoy themselves and feel unthreatened in a warm, community-based environment. We had no intentions of compromising this safe space nor did we have any inclination that opening up this event to all WOC would have this adverse effect.”

BLOC ultimately canceled Dinner for the Sistahs, and will instead host a forum to discuss the controversy.

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Image: Facebook