Student Senator: Picture of Gun is a Threat to “Black Mental and Emotional Health”

Early Monday morning, Gregory Ochiagha (PZ ’18), a Student Senator at Pitzer College, sent out an email to the student body criticizing a mural recently painted on campus. The mural, painted by Selena Spier (PZ ’19), depicts a handgun with flowers coming out of the end and was approved by the Pitzer College aesthetics committee.

“It’s truly in bad taste to have a large depiction of a gun in a dorm space—especially when students of color also reside there,” states Ochiagha. “Now let’s imagine there were countless videos of white teenagers, white teenagers that look like you, or your brother or your sister, get shot to death by police officers. Imagine scrolling down Facebook everyday and seeing a new video of the same thing, over and over again. Really put yourself in that headspace. Then ask yourself whether it’s the brightest idea to have white teenagers, who have a very real fear of getting shot, see a large gun every time they want to get food from the dinning [sic] hall.”

Ochiagha continues, “My Black Mental and Emotional Health Matters. I shouldn’t be reminded every time I leave my dorm room of how easy my life can be taken away, or how many Black lives have been taken away because of police brutality. This is emotionally triggering for very obvious reasons. And if you want to belittle or invalidate by [sic] black experience, I live in Atherton, come thru, let’s have that idiotic conversation.”

Jessica Folsom (PZ ‘19) responded by providing additional background on the mural. “Just to preface this, I am not trying to dismiss how you feel or belittle your experience as a student of color,” she states. “This mural is actually representative of a nonviolence movement to protest the Vietnam War in the 60s. There’s a famous photo of a protester putting flowers in the barrel of a National Guardsman’s rifle and everything.” Folsom continues, “I thought it might be an important distinction to make between what the mural actually represents and perhaps the romanticized aesthetic of a gun which someone (maybe you?) could potentially mistake this for. I hope this helps.”

Not all students felt that Ochiagha’s reaction was warranted. “I actually love the mural and thought it was obvious that it was about the flower power movement/a message of anti-violence,” wrote Jennifer McNamara (PZ ‘19). “It was approved by the aesthetics committee and the artist has freedom of speech within her design. I’m excited to see it finished.”

Alessandra Elliott (PZ ‘18) added, “I love our radical liberalism. However, I’m not in love with the trend of shutting down voices that don’t align with liberal ideologies.”

Spier plans to modify her mural. “I spoke with Gregory earlier and we agreed on a modification that preserves the integrity of the original piece while avoiding any potentially triggering content—it’s a change I was absolutely happy to make in the interest of creating a safe and inclusive environment for everyone in my community,” Spier told the Claremont Independent. “I have absolutely no right to decide whether or not my artwork is offensive to marginalized communities—nor does anyone else in a position of privilege, racial or otherwise.”




Image: Facebook

33 thoughts on “Student Senator: Picture of Gun is a Threat to “Black Mental and Emotional Health””

  1. KUDOS ,,, the most mentally challenged scholar of the week at our institutions of higher learning
    PSSSST,,,, there have been about 1000 -1 more African Americans shot by other African Americans than by police , and the reality is , most of the police shootings were justified

  2. Maybe there’s a very important lesson that has eluded Gregory Ochiagha:
    “Now let’s imagine there were countless videos of white teenagers, white teenagers that look like you, or your brother or your sister, get shot to death by police officers” . . . usually while they were fleeing from their most recent, often violent, crimes.
    I’d be grateful for the removal of the violent predator from the community, making myself, my family and loved ones just a little bit safer, and Society itself just a little bit BETTER!

    “My Black Mental and Emotional Health Matters. I shouldn’t be reminded every time I leave my dorm room of how easy my life can be taken away, or how many Black lives have been taken away because of police brutality” . . . remember instead the innocent Black lives that were SAVED when the violent predator was permanently stopped from victimizing the Black community.

    Maybe this will help Gregory Ochiagha to understand that his “concerns” about “police brutality” are based in his ignorance as well as his own racism:
    In 2014*:
    Whites murdered: 3,021
    Blacks murdered: 2,451
    This means that in 2014, Black murderers murdered 570 LESS people than White murderers murdered.
    Now let’s take a closer look at the numbers:
    White victims murdered by Whites: 2,488
    White victims murdered by Blacks: 446

    Black victims murdered by Whites: 187
    Black victims murdered by Blacks: 2,205

    Whites (including Hispanics who identified as White) are the majority of the US population, with a total of about 245,532,000, or about 77.7%
    While the US Black population is 45.7 million, or about 14.3%.
    This means that the 45.7 million (14.3%) Black population of the US only commits 570 less murderers than the 245,532,000 (77.7%) of the White population.

    What this means is that while the 245 million White population murdered 3,021 people; the 45 million Blacks population murdered 2,451 people.
    Or to put if a different way: TWO-HUNDRED-FORTY-FIVE-MILLION White people only murdered 570 more people than 45 million Blacks.
    This also means that the 14.3% of the population, murdered 1,759 more Blacks than the 77.7% White murdered.

    *FBI Expanded Homicide Data Table 6 2014

  3. At least Gregory Ochiagha has done prospective employers the service of identifying himself as an idiot and a tool. Any grown college student who is “triggered” by a photo, a mural, or frankly, anything else should not be attending college. Grow up, Gregory.

    1. Particularly those with atrocious grammar and spelling. I’ve never heard of Pitzer College, but they should be requiring remedial English courses.

    2. Mental note to self : Self, never hire Gregory Ochiagha or any other Pitzer College graduate for an open position with my firm !
      Never, ever !

  4. I suppose it makes sense that baby Gregory would rather have pictures of dancing purple lollipops and smiling pink elephants painted on the walls near his baby crib.

  5. What is it with these “Trigger” events, is that code for “I’m a whining little ***** who needs to cry to get Attention? What kind of a Maroon talks this way, and why on earth would the Artist even give this creep the time of day let alone try to appease the Little Snowflake? I have a few suggestions that will maybe help you get over the Horror you feel over the depiction of a Gun. Instead of thinking about all of your Bro’s who have been shot by the Police, (Most likely killed while running away from a violent crime scene), I would suggest that you think about how many of your other Bro’s have been saved by the police who stopped a murderer after he’s only killed a couple of your people. Or maybe you can think about the fact that if it wasn’t for a lot of good people with guns who killed a shitload of bad guys with guns, you’d more than likely be working as a non-paid servant for the Emperor of Japan, or De fuhrer of Germany. It’s a good thing for you that the minimum wage workers in NY and Ca. will be getting 15 bucks an hour before long, because that is the only chance you’re ever going to get to make that much money. In reality though, no one is going to want to employ a wuss like you so you better get signed up for welfare as early as possible.

  6. are all of the people commenting before me from the klan or something? y’all are a bunch of hateful SOBs and there’s no place in our society for your ignorance. oh wait there is! it’s the claremont independent! congrats on a new level of demeaning and dehumanizing ‘journalism’

    1. No place in society? Are you kidding? That IS society, and it’s most definitely the new social justice movement, which has now adopted the demeanor and much of the ideology (between making racist assumptions about black people and figuratively burning crosses on social media to scare them with lies and misinformation) of the klan.

  7. What a pathetic delicate little snowflake. With the price of tuition at your school one would think students are actually receiving an education that prepares them for the real world. Would love to have that dainty flower interview with me or any business and spout bs like this. This is the mentality that will have him with a “studies” degree living in moms basement complaining about increasing minimum wage.

  8. Seriously? “we agreed on a modification that preserves the integrity of the original piece while avoiding any potentially triggering content.” LOL. You people are pathetic. Oooops. Is that a trigger word too? Run to your safe space!!!

  9. When did college get to the point where instead of making kids more ready for life it makes them emotionally fragile social cripples. People actually go into debt to be made worse then they were before they went there.

  10. Destr Greg,
    IF you would have spent 2 minutes researching the image that triggers your anxiety and fear, you would have found the image represents the same philosophy that you’re searching for( Non violence.) Read the post here that provides the statistics you’ll need to really understand where the real threat is. In reference to the police, here’s a clue…. Don’t point guns at people or beat people up, don’t take things that are not yours, dont rape anyone, obey the laws created by politicians NOT by the police. If you find yourself sharing physical space with an officer of the law, do what they ask you to do. You’ll be AMAZED that the police actually DON’T want to hang out with you, they don’t WANT to give you a ticket which forces them to do a lot of paperwork, they don’t WANT to arrest you and they definitely don’t WANT an internal investigation focused on them which is what happens if they shoot you. I know this all sounds CRAZY but it true. Oh and if you find an image offensive .. Don’t look at it. Think of rainbows, unicorns and candy.

  11. somebody needs to tell these college students that when they get out in real life and they screem trigger warning they need a safe space they will be told to grow up and be quiet. the 1st amendment does not guarantee the right to not be offended that is why they call it freedom of speech I use to be one of those hippees then I went into the military and grew up.

  12. Greg, here’s a little tip you might find useful. You are FAR MORE LIKELY to die at the hands of another young black man than you are to die at the hands of the Po Po !

  13. Sounds like this emotional child is the racist. Blacks are not the only victims of violence. As much as people like this think they are special, They are supposed to be working for equality not special privilege.
    And, if these kids are offended so easily by opinions other than their own, wait until they get out of their diapers and mommy and daddy’s money can not by them special privilege to cry to get their way. They are going to fall on their face, break down and end up poor and homeless because they lack the grit to deal with reality. And that is at the bests, otherwise they are going to turn this world in to a bunch (even more than now) of self centered, egotistical little whiners that have to get their way and the everything will crumble because they are to weak minded and ignorant to tolerate others and fail miserably in everything.

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