Dean Spellman,

I’m sorry I am part of a community that contorts attempts at reasonable gestures into acts of “violence.”  I’m sorry I am part of a community where every word, gesture, and even campaign contribution is subject to judgment and scrutiny by those who claim their mission is to combat judgment and fight for equality.  I’m sorry that I have failed to stand up for my beliefs and your rights as an administrator because as a white, privileged, cis-gendered, able-bodied, male student my views carry no weight in the eyes of the masses and can easily ostracize me as an unsympathetic bigot.  Please know that there are students like myself who think this movement, while rooted in some very concrete details, was carried to incongruous levels and placed administrators in unfair confrontational positions.  We are humans, we make mistakes. A poor word selection should not incite chaos, but rather a dialogue, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, and plan of action for the future.  You made those attempts, yet had no positive reception.  I am deeply saddened by the stain the public response has left on our faculty and campus name.

I wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors.


Ben Sacks

Categories: Guest Opinion
  • Meghan

    I echo this sentiment! So sad to see an opportunity for honest, thought provoking dialogue squandered.

  • TJP

    This isn’t going to stop until faculty and administrators begin to grow a spine and tell these children ‘no’, regardless of how big of a tantrum they throw. Very much in the same way you deal with a misbehaving three year old.

    And like a three year old, it will blow over as soon as their screaming tires them out, and they will be better off for the lesson learned.

    Far from being oppressed, these students are an entitled, spoiled, and privileged class. They deserve to be treated accordingly.

    • F. B. Black

      They should all be encouraged to go on hunger strikes, until such time as the world at large agrees with their absurdly silly beliefs. Please, no comedian, no matter how creative, could have come up with ideas (I use the term loosely) like: safe spaces; people of color; people of marginalized identities; cultural appropriation; lbgtqxmzrtiloa; gender reassignment… and who knows what I’ve missed! Oh, I forgot… Yes means Yes, or whatever this absurdity is called. (What happens if the girl keeps saying yes, but she’s such an ugly slut, the boy doesn’t want to? Does he have to? Or would it be considered reverse rape, because she said yes, and he refused?

      Also, is it cultural appropriation (from whites) when a black man wears a suit and tie? And why anyone would voluntarily be eating a burrito is beyond me, but isn’t that CA?

      School administrators so deserve everything they’re getting, because they created these silly monstrous children.

      • F.B White (not Black) ^

        Wow… I am astounded by the numerous people and identities you have just invalidated. I feel sick just reading this because it hurts to see how closed minded and bigoted you are. Can you just get off your high privileged horse and open your damn mind?! Not everyone has white, male, heterosexual, cisgender privilege. Although, I can’t expect you to know what it’s like not to…

        • Carl

          How does someone invalidate you in a post on a public website? He may disagree with you or out argue you or even insult you (which he certainly didn’t do). You have every chance to argue his points.

          Now try again but this time don’t think of yourself as a delicate flower.

        • TJP

          That.. that was satire, right? Like, you’re not actually serious? Please?

        • Tom (CMC ’64)

          Whenever I meet a progressively liberal, politically correct, gender non-specific person of indeterminate color with a prestigious degree but no competence, I try to remember to say “I’ll have fries with that.”

          But that will pass: when the minimum wage goes to $15 an hour, such perfect people will become unemployable.

          Stay in school forever, kiddies; the real world will scare you to death.

        • Robert

          If you feel sick from reading a comment, seek medical attention because something is wrong with you. If you meant to say you disagree strongly with what was written, good, so do I, but however terrible the statement is and however strongly you disagree with it, it’s his right to say whatever dumb thing crosses his mind. It’s not a threat. No one is under any obligation to like or accept anyone else, although everyone does have to tolerate even the people they don’t like.

        • Scott

          The first problem is that you are “hurt”. If you feel hurt because of what someone else said, you are giving them far too much control of your emotions.
          Here is some truth – it is literally IMPOSSIBLE to be hurt or offended unless you decide to allow it. NO ONE can make you feel a certain way about anything unless you give them that power. It is your choice. If you allow it, then YOU are responsible for the way you feel, not the other person.
          Until you learn this, you will be subject to the will and whims of others.
          Is that really what you want?

        • Scott

          Critcal life skill – become more thick skinned. If you dont, you will never cut it in the working world. If you dont want to do that, and you get crushed out there, do you think anyone will care? I have experienced everything in my career from minor slights to outright unfair treatment. Yet i have been successful. Why? Because i understand that at the end of the day, i am the only one to blame if i dont keep pressing forward.
          If you dont believe that, how do you explain how Ben carson faced way more challenges than almost anyone, and rose to become the head of neurosurgery at johns hopkins?

  • SJ

    Thank you, Ben. Thank you for voicing your sentiments. I share these feelings (except the white male part) and completely agree.

  • Leah

    You’re really brave for explicitly attaching your name to this. It’s nice to see someone express the other perspective with confidence.

  • Mark E. Roberts

    I am happy to read pieces that shine strong shafts of light in an otherwise dark moment! This moment reminds me of the 60s, when senior administrators caved to another wave of irrantional student childishness at places like UC Berkeley.
    Stay this course!

    • Annie Oakley

      In the sixties, they fought for freedom of speech.

      This generation wants the opposite–because they can’t distinguish dissenting opinions from personal attacks.

  • sm

    No one discredited you being white. As feeble as you may feel as a white, straight, able-bodied male, you should realize that it is 1000x harder to not be you on campus. Being a minority student at any grade level is challenging. You are constantly confronted with stereotypes from your teachers and your peers, an existence that would seem extremely exhausting for anyone exposed to such conditions. To be honest, I am not surprised that students of color often times do not feel welcome on our campus. Is this a problem unique to CMC? Not particularly. But if you are upset by Dean Spellman’s resignation, don’t be upset by the recent events, be upset that you didn’t do more to prevent it. The onus was all of us to prevent this from happening. The fact that the situation came to a head like it did is the result of everyone being silent in the face of such overt racism. Everyone who came through our school’s doors without raising their voices should feel responsible, as I do. Here is to the true leaders brave enough to speak up and may they have their voices heard again and again until you get the picture.

    • Frank

      Is it a thousand times harder for a white person to be on campus? Really? That is silly. If it was that bad, no one would stay, there would be lawsuits and complaints. Real complaints, not the racism boogeyman that we keep hearing exists. And I like how you expect voices until the author gets the picture. So we all have to fall in line. That is nice and inclusive. A nice and expected way this movement shows its tolerance.

    • Martin Knight

      I’m sick and tired of silly white (and black) fools telling me that being black is some sort of massive burden and that I – as a black man – am supposed to be psychologically traumatized and living in fear.

      I am black. That does not mean my existence is exhausting or that my life is hard. I had white classmates that struggled far more than I did to fit in, to pay for their tuition, to pay their rent, to complete their assignments and get good grades.

      Seriously, get over yourselves.

      • Jim

        Hear hear, sir.

    • Tom Saltzman (CMC ’64)

      It’s not about your race, or gender, or religion, or nationality, or social background, or any other parsing you can imagine to claim your inherent uniqueness. You are disdained because you believe that you are entitled to heartfelt camaraderie, social and political admiration, and a free pass on anything requiring actual work and competence BECAUSE of your self-defined uniqueness. News flash kids: the world doesn’t care that you’re a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater; it only cares whether you can competently do for it what is wanted from you at an acceptable price. If you don’t like that you have two choices: be a hermit on a mountain or a community organizer for your darling socialist friends.

  • Frank


    A great and courageous article.

    • William Gibson predicted that in the future, industrial society would devolve into a meleinganss consumerist hellhole, while humanists predicted a utopia. Twitter proves once and for all that Gibson was completely right.

    • Cuidado: Anónimo das 10:39 pertence ao grupo «MAN». Este grupo tem diversas particularidades: de manhã, veste de negro e usa um pin do «MAN» no casaco. Andam quase todos de cabeça rapada.De noite, fecham-se em casa, põe uma cuequinha cor-de-rosa de mulher e dançam nús ao som de Freddy Mercury: «I want it all! Yes, yes!»

  • Daisy

    Great article, I’m sad for my alma mater right now… And even sadder that the media chooses to shine light on this trash and not the great things the students are doing besides this. Maybe we donated too much money to the school during the Gann days and have helped create these entitled kids. It does remind me of my two year old who cries and demands over and over again even when I tell him I’m working on it or trying my best, it’s never good enough. Also I’m shocked that they’re walking around with posters with the F word on it. No respect whatsoever.

    • Annie Oakley

      That twerp in the red Che shirt with the sign that says “FUCK YOU CNC MOLD”

      bought his Che shirt mass-produced from a target or walmart.

      such a loser and doesn’t even have any clue whatsoever….

      • Rachel Tice

        “bought his Che shirt mass-produced from a target or walmart.”

        Oh actually, um, my sister gave it to me. She found it in a ditch.

  • AM


  • not as privileged as you

    This article and most of the comments should be entitled, “I do not understand the concept of privilege.”

    • Martin Knight

      And yours should be titled; I have no critical thinking skills.

    • Professor Elsewhere

      Anybody who attends Claremont is extraordinarily privileged. How on earth does this simple reality escape you?

    • Benjy

      If you think that simply calling someone privileged invalidates everything they have to say on issues of privilege, it’s you that doesn’t understand privilege and you don’t understand intersectionality. You’re free to express your opinion on this topic without fear of retribution, while this student isn’t. I’m sure that in many contexts this student would be more privileged than you, but here, in this context, you’re more privileged. If the majority wear a badge of underprivilege, it isn’t underprivileged any more.

      There is, of course, still room for a conversation to be had on this topic, but if you want to criticize what this student is saying, try not doing it on the basis of his race and gender, because you’re the one being the racist/sexist here.

    • Robert

      What people don’t seem to get is that the tired ‘power + prejudice’ rhetoric that gets tossed around to excuse racist behavior only functions on the scale of the situation being measured. At a national level there is no real racism against whites. The odds of a white man being selected for a ‘random’ stop and frisk are vanishingly small. But in other contexts power can flow different ways. The lone white male waiter at a restaurant in a majority black area is probably going to get treated poorly and tipped less than his black coworkers. And between people of roughly equal standing ‘power’ has so little meaning that anyone can be racist, as in the video from CMC making the rounds, when the privileged protest mob shouts down an Asian woman telling her own story. One protester tried to ‘blacksplain’ racism to her. Power and privilege are contextual, not universal.

      That explanation though doesn’t lend itself to feel good smug self satisfaction about sticking it to ‘the man’ or justifying silencing the voices of those who disagree with you, and you can’t really build an irate mob around context and nuance, so I can see why it’s not very popular. Plus it requires thought and empathizing with others outside of your own bubble of experience, both of which might disturb someone’s comfort and safe space.

      Essentially, the ability to be a racist jerk is intrinsic to all humans of every sex, race and creed, and to deny that only certain kinds of people can be racist is to deny those who can’t be their basic humanity.

    • Jacob

      Some children have loving parents; other children have abusive or non-nurturing or constantly fighting or absent parents. Some children have warm, interpersonally rich home environments as they’re growing up, with supportive siblings and other relatives; others live in cold, lonely, sterile ones. Some children are fed well, get plenty of sunshine and exercise; others don’t. Some children grow up in houses with lots of books and intellectual stimulation and encouragement; others don’t. Some children grow up with musical instruments or with creative parents; others don’t. Some children get to go on vacations every year; others never do. And on and on.

      Some kids reach adolescence attractive and socially skilled; others go through the hell of depression and/or are conventionally unattractive, socially awkward, or any number of other things. Some kids are healthy; others have to face health problems at a young age.

      Each of these factors co-exists with sex, sexuality, and race. And this is the trouble with such crude notions of “privilege.” It’s also why there is a backlash today. As I mentioned in a previous thread, there are millions of “straight white males” out there struggling to raise families on low wages. And they look around and see themselves demonized. They see plenty of gay people with exciting social lives, in good jobs with a lot more disposable income than they have, in part because many of them are not raising children, and yet they are constantly being told they are the “privileged” “oppressor.” They see the statistics telling them 4-5 TIMES as many men kill themselves as women. And they do the dirtiest jobs, and have always been the ones to put their lives on the line in war. And they have a shorter lifespan than women too, and virtually are never granted custody of children in divorce, and are frequently represented in feminist discourse as potential rapists only for being male. Yet, again, they are constantly being told they are just plain “privileged” over women.

      So, what about the concept of “privilege” don’t I understand? I think the way it is being used today has become poisonous — and I say that as someone broadly on the “left” by the way.

  • Greg

    Bravo for the clarity of your thinking. Thank you.

  • sophie


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