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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Categories: Campus News