After several national media outlets covered Pitzer College student leaders’ defense of racially discriminatory housing practices, both the incoming President of Pitzer College, Melvin Oliver, and the Vice President for Student Affairs, Brian Carlisle, issued statements to the entire student body, faculty, and staff.

“Recently, an article in local media quoted Facebook comments made by Pitzer students regarding their preference in race for their roommates in non-Pitzer housing. Specifically, the post indicated that only people of color should inquire about the housing option,” President Oliver stated in his first-ever email to the Pitzer College community. “While Pitzer is a community of individuals passionately engaged in establishing intracultural safe spaces for marginalized groups, the Facebook post and several subsequent comments are inconsistent with our Mission and values.”

“Pitzer College’s Mission is to create engaged, socially responsible citizens,” Oliver continued. “We come together to live and work in a shared learning environment where every member is valued, respected, and entitled to dignity and honor. Our shared goal is to create a balanced approach to engaging complex intercultural issues, not to isolate individuals on the basis of any protected status.”

Shortly after incoming President Oliver sent out his email condemning students who refuse to live with certain people based on the color of their skin, Vice President Carlisle reached out to the Pitzer College community with a different message. “Our dedicated resident assistants have been targeted by Twitter trolls who publicly defame them and attack their contributions to our community,” Carlisle wrote. “Now, more than ever, is the time to come together as a community to celebrate and support our amazing resident assistants and student affairs staff. Please join me in thanking them for their work in furthering our mission and for keeping our campus a safe place to work, live, and study.”

Students were unimpressed with the administrators’ inconsistent responses. “I think it’s important that our administration takes a firm stance on this. What we saw in those Facebook posts and comments was a disdain for a certain group of people, in this case, white people. If Pitzer wants to stay consistent with their values of racial harmony and multiculturalism, they must speak out against comments like this,” stated Nick Toro (PZ ’18). “What’s even more important than racial diversity is the diversity of thoughts and ideas. Only then can we learn to understand each other.”

Categories: Campus News
  • Brian Carlisle

    I would like to share my full, unedited message to the Pitzer Community here.

    Dear Pitzer Community,

    Recently, student affairs offices have been inundated with vitriolic emails and telephone calls, filled with foul language and spewing hate. Our dedicated resident assistants have been targeted by Twitter trolls who publicly defame them and attack their contributions to our community. Staff members have received anonymous, hateful voicemails demanding their resignations for attempting to provide a safe and challenging living/learning environment.

    In spite of these messages, student affairs continues our strong commitment to the growth and development of all students. We understand that during this growth process our students are sometimes prone to make imperfect decisions. Yet, our faith in and unwavering dedication to the education process and its capacity to engage and transform students remain steadfast.

    Now, more than ever, is the time to come together as a community to celebrate and support our amazing resident assistants and student affairs staff. Please join me in thanking them for their work in furthering our mission and for keeping our campus a safe place to work, live, and study.


    Vice President for Student Affairs | Pitzer College

    • Samuel Breslow

      Thank you for sharing the full message; it adds a lot of context and reveals how much the CI’s coverage tried to spin your words. If anyone is interested in President Oliver’s full statement, it is available here:

    • Kenny Moran

      Wow, that actually gives the impression that you don’t support the students’ right to live with people of color. Funny how the whole article was written to give the opposite impression. Even though the Pitzer administration regrettably sees the issue in the way the Independent does, the CI has fabricated further controversy to stoke the flames of their racist culture war. Despicable.

      • Brent

        Kenny, what was fabricated? Give an example — just one. What is despicable, as you call it, is that our educational institutions are producing ignorant boobs like you who don’t know what simple words like fabricated mean.

        • Rick

          The fact that the VP and the President agree, but CI implies that they do not.

          • Brent

            You, too, Rick? The point of the article is that there is no – – as in none, zero, nada – – condemnation of the racists by the VP. He completely ignores the issue. Imagine if this had been a thread by whites. Think this would have been ignored?

      • Thomas Anderson

        Shut up you stupid piece of garbage

    • Rick

      I think the fact that CI was able to selectively use your words to create a controversy and imply a disagreement between you and the president of the college should make both of you reconsider the original students intent. They were not trying to create a segregated housing system, but merely to choose one roommate guarunteed to face some similar challenges as themselves. CI then pulled their comments from a private thread and publicly share them on the CI news site. (The FB thread was only available to fellow students and was deleted.) I find this to be a breach of ethics over such a minor issue. It would be different if the original post was a bout some campus wide activity or protest, but it was not.

  • Rick

    As an aside, it’s likely that both the President and VP only read the selected quotes published by CI, not the full thread in FB. They may have had.a different take on this conversation if they had a more complete picture.

  • Tex Mexico

    Someone call HUD.

    • Hank Melville

      Obama would head off the HUD complaint.
      This whole thing is right up his Organizer Alley.

  • john

    This is rich coming from a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, a fraternity that explicitly announces on its website header:

    “for the JEWISH COMMUNITY”


    “Alpha Epsilon Pi’s mission statement describing a “non-discriminatory fraternity”[12] has often come under fire, particularly under current Executive Director Andrew Borans. In 1990, Alpha Epsilon Pi brothers at MIT decided to disband their chapter after National kicked out 45 of 55 members of the chapter. Members believed it was largely in part due to the National’s desire to re-colonize the chapter as a Jewish fraternity.[13] Joseph P. Wong, former Vice President of the chapter who was invited to stay, was quoted saying “AEPi is inherently discriminatory and does not deserve a place on this campus”.[13] In 1998, members of the UCLA chapter dropped out, believing the National organization was “discriminatory against non-Jewish pledges”.[14] In 2009, the Mu chapter at University of Virginia was shut down, with members claiming the National fratenity told them they “weren’t Jewish enough”.[15] AEPi National declined to comment.[16] In 2014, the Beta Rho chapter at Brown University disaffiliated with Alpha Epsilon Pi, citing mistreatment of non-Jewish members by their National organization, and a lack of emphasis by the National organization on sexual assault education.[17] Still, no action has been taken against Borans or the National fraternity.”

  • john

    Typical noise from hypocritical bigoted trolls. Just let this “controversy” echo in its right wing chamber until they move on to some other manufactured scandal.

    • Brent

      What was manufactured except for the racism? Feel free to be a bigot, just don’t ask the rest of us to join in.

  • Lori

    Since when is it racist to put an add with a preference? Have you ever seen the adds for people in search of a specific type for dating? For example ” single white female in search of single white male 6ft tall” etc…. No one is spreading hate just because of a preference in who they date or live with as a roommate. The white and black bs needs to stop. Wtf is wrong with this nation?

    • Brent

      Did you read all the posts? It wasn’t simply about preference. It was a laundry list of the ills of white people. If you don’t see the difference, consider getting an education at a place suitable to the intellectual challenges you face.

  • Jeff

    Without question, MLK’s vision of the future is dead at Pitzer. To remind everyone his vision was for people to be judged by the content of thier character and not the color of thier skin. I honestly believe the students posting the ad do not actually know the definition discrimination.

    • john

      lol. if you were around in during mlks time youd be spewing the same hatred at him that black lives matter gets today. look up mlks hate mail. all of the exact same complaints against him. you dont give a crap about mlk or his vision.

      • Brent

        1) “If you were around in during mlks time …” How do you know he wasn’t?
        2) “youd be spewing the same hatred …” You know this how?
        3) “that black lives matter gets today …” You mean calling our racists is passé now?
        4) “look up mlks hate mail …” Yes, it was despicable. I’m sure the poster and I agree with you. So your point?
        5) “all of the exact same complaints against him …” Really? So MLK actually advocated for racism?
        6) “you dont give a crap about mlk or his vision …” And you know this how?
        7) MLK would cry if he read your drivel.

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  • Laquantrell

    White people should be banned from Pitzer. I don’t like them and I don’t want them around me.

    • BLM?

      Well us whiteys don’t like you darkies much either. If there were a race war tomorrow, we’d still slaughter you guys.

    • Jen

      Well, then no more alumni financing your elite college education

  • Tired of this Shit

    CI, stop creating mountains out of molehills already. This isn’t an example of journalists reporting on an issue, it’s an example of journalists turning something minimal into a huge issue so they’d have something to report on. If CI had not intentionally done shitty reporting on it, nothing would have happened. Again, CI seems to thrive off of creating hate and spite. Probably because that’s a way easier method of getting web traffic than actually doing good writing.

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