Tag Archives: Claremont Independent

Editorial: We Tell the Truth When No One Else Will

A recent editorial in The Student Life (TSL) criticized a Claremont Independent article because they thought it opted “for sensationalism over accuracy and impartiality.” Our article’s title pretty much summed up the story: “Black Women Protest Campus Party Because Non-Black Women Are Invited.” TSL notes that the event “attracted controversy due to confusion over whether the even [sic] was open to all women of color or only black women.” In other words, there was no inaccuracy or bias in the Independent’s version of the story. And yet, TSL claims our article “demonstrates no effort to understand the underlying issues behind the controversy or the opinions of the community members affected.” The reality is that we build our news stories from quotes, and allow our sources to tell the story as accurately and impartially as possible rather than trying to provide our own commentary or insight. Simply put, our style of reporting lets the facts speak for themselves. Unfortunately for our radically liberal peers, the facts consistently reveal some serious problems on our campuses.

Anyone who has followed the Independent this year knows that we go to school at one of the most racist and bigoted places in America—but not in the way progressives would like you to think. On multiple occasions, white students (and recently, even non-black students of color) have been excluded from on-campus events solely based on their race. Conservative students of color are bullied because progressive groupthink leads minority students to view any political dissidents as traitors or sellouts to their race. What’s more, this bullying is widely viewed as acceptable by the same progressives who think that any viewpoints aside from their own are offensive. All the lessons on racial equality and acceptance that progressive students supposedly abide by are thrown out the window when dealing with “shady people of color,” a fancy name for nonwhite students who hold different opinions than they do. Pitzer College’s recently appointed Communications Secretary called for a ban on the Claremont Independent and asked, “Why not ban Steven Glick from even writing all together [sic],” whatever that’s supposed to mean. It’s no surprise that students act in this manner, since administrators openly endorse this sort of behavior. Yet, if you listen to the rhetoric coming from most students at the 5Cs, you’d have the story backwards and believe that white conservative students are the ones perpetuating racism against students of color on campus.

The reason our stories are so much more successful than those of any other 5C publication is that we are the only paper that actually reports on what life is like in Claremont. Rather than pushing some speculative narrative about how upper-middle class, white, cisgender STEM majors are trying to oppress or silence their fellow students, we report on direct actions taken by student government officials, professors, and administrators to punish those who do not agree with them. We report on issues that the TSL staff doesn’t consider newsworthy, and most of the time they are the ones who feel compelled to respond to us.

Many of our detractors complain about our use of social media and emails to the student body to obtain information, but the information presented in those outlets is exactly what makes our stories so accurate. People are more honest when they don’t think anyone is listening, and the message someone sends to a large audience (such as all students at Pitzer College) always provides a better picture of the ideas they wish to project than a quote given to a single writer representing the Independent.

The Independent serves many purposes on our campuses: we provide a place for students to express right-leaning or alternative opinions, we inspire dialogue regarding controversial events, and we keep students informed about all of the events TSL is too politically correct to write about. But perhaps most importantly, we let the rest of the world know what is happening in Claremont. National media outlets routinely pick up our articles because of the fact that we share the most interesting stories. Every article we write provides clear evidence exposing our peers for what they are: censorious, bigoted, oversensitive bullies. And the country is taking notice.

 

Steven Glick, Editor-in-Chief

Taylor Schmitt, Publisher

Jose Ruiz, Managing Editor

I Resign: The Writing Center’s Mission is to Teach Writing, Not Ideology

Dear Professor Bromley, Ms. Liu-Rojas, and Ms. Snell,

I am writing to resign my position as a Writing Fellow. I wish that I felt I could continue in this role and am sorry to resign mid-year. As you know, writing is one of my passions and as you also know, that wasn’t always the case. It was my freshman seminar that convinced me I could write and that I enjoyed it. My professor, Dean Lozano, was instrumental in that process, and his Writing Fellow, Ben Brasch, was key as well. At the conclusion of the course, I decided to apply to become a Writing Fellow in the hope that I could inspire other writers the way I had been inspired. I was thrilled and honored to be selected to serve as a Fellow.

I had genuinely thought the purpose of the Writing Center was to teach writing. I hadn’t realized the writing instruction would be delivered with a side of ideology and that the ideology was not only mandatory but also more important than the actual teaching of writing. I’ve learned this over the past few months, which is the reason for my resignation.

First, Ms. Snell, the Writing Center Team Coordinator, asked me to meet with her. She accused me of being an obstacle preventing the Writing Center from being a “safe space.” This came in response to a news article I had written that detailed a series of no-whites-allowed “safe spaces” at the Claremont Colleges. Ms. Snell specifically mentioned my article, and noted she was concerned that my involvement with both the Writing Center and the Claremont Independent would lead students to associate the organizations with one another. Obviously, many other Writing Fellows contribute to campus publications. But as far as I’m aware, no one else has been told that’s a problem.

My next meeting was with Professor Bromley. She told me she was worried that I was not doing enough to make the Writing Center a space where students feel welcome. To rectify that, she canceled my appointments that night and asked me to read three packets about identity politics instead. One of the readings states that teaching English to non-native English speakers is an attack on free speech. Another criticizes “the hegemonic feminist theory produced by academic women, most of whom were white.” The third, titled “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy,” states that capitalism is racist. I read all three packets, as I had been told to do. I did not agree with the opinions presented in any of them, nor did I see any connection between these readings and my work at the Writing Center.

Ms. Snell then asked to meet with me again to talk about what I had read, and what role identity politics should play in the Writing Center’s mission. My peers have proposed their ideas for a new Writing Center mission statement, noting that we should aspire to “provide a space for students to work through their ideas with fellows trained in a writing pedagogy that considers how race, gender, sexuality, language, national-origin, and socioeconomic status influences and affects those ideas,” “educate ourselves so that we better understand oppression, liberation, and dynamics of difference and power as they manifest themselves in the Writing Center,” and “acknowledge and interrogate the ways in which the Writing Center, Pomona College, and academia itself perpetuate and have perpetuated injustice and oppression.” I told Ms. Snell that, in my opinion, the goal of the Writing Center should remain unchanged: to provide “students with a community of experienced readers and writers, offering free, one-on-one consultations at any stage of the writing process—from generating a thesis and structuring an argument to fine-tuning a draft.”

I guess that was the wrong answer, since the next day I was placed on probation and informed that I needed to meet with Professor Bromley and Ms. Liu-Rojas, the Writing Center’s administrative assistant, the following week. I was told the reason for my probation was that I had missed a mandatory meeting for Writing Fellows, but at my meeting with Professor Bromley and Ms. Liu-Rojas, we did not discuss that at all. Rather, we talked about my prior meeting with Ms. Snell. Apparently, “her feelings had been hurt” because of my “tone.” Professor Bromley and Ms. Liu-Rojas told me that if I did anything else they deemed wrong, I would be fired.

The following night, I worked my normal shift. I met with two students and I thought that both consultations had gone well. However, I soon received an email from Professor Bromley stating that the Writing Center had received an “anonymous complaint” from a student who had worked with me, that they were investigating the situation, and that my appointments would be canceled until further notice. Perhaps coincidentally, a quick Facebook search revealed that one of the students with whom I worked that night had dressed as “White Supremacy” for Halloween and appeared in photos with two other students who were dressed as “Steven Glick and his White Fragility,” yet she still chose to work with me as her tutor.

Based on these incidents, which have occurred over many months, it has become clear that the Writing Center is harassing me because of my political beliefs. This is unacceptable, just as harassment based on gender, race, religion or any other demographic or ideological construct is unacceptable. My probation is not related to any inadequacy of my work at the Writing Center. Rather, it is due to my political views, which differ greatly from those of the Writing Center leadership. Each time I have been asked to meet with Writing Center leadership, I am asked to talk about controversial political issues that are unrelated to my work at the Center. Soon after each meeting, I have been informed I’ve done something wrong on the job and need to be punished. I had hoped that President Oxtoby’s recent statement in support of free speech at Pomona College would be a game changer, allowing conservative, libertarian, and classically liberal students and faculty to share our honest opinions with our progressively liberal peers who seem to control the sanctioned conversation on campus. Unfortunately, I was naively optimistic. His words carry no meaning if they are ignored and countermanded by Pomona’s faculty and staff.

I wish I could continue to work at the Writing Center because I feel that it’s important for all students, whether black or white, on financial aid or not, conservative or liberal, to have a place to review and strengthen their writing. Unfortunately, the Writing Center no longer seems to be that place. Until the Writing Center can return to its apolitical mission and forsake its acceptance and appeasement of political harassment, I regret that I must resign my position as a Writing Fellow.

Sincerely,

Steven Glick

Editor-in-Chief, The Claremont Independent

I, Too, Dissent

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.

Sincerely,

Ben Sacks

It’s Time to Stop Blaming Everything on Guns

Following the tragic shooting of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina this summer, many have called for increased gun control in America. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that guns should be banned altogether. Such reactions are natural in response to a devastating occurrence like this, but gun control policies formed around reducing the number of mass shootings will do little—if anything—to alleviate America’s gun violence problems.

The gun control measures proposed by the Obama administration focus almost exclusively on trying to reduce the frequency of mass shootings like the one in Charleston. Policies such as banning “military-style assault weapons;” limiting magazine capacities to 10 rounds; providing “active shooter” training to law enforcement, first responders, and school officials; and plans to improve mental health awareness and make it more difficult for those with mental illnesses to obtain guns are all strategies designed to lower the number of mass shootings in the U.S.

Though shooters like Dylann Roof (the killer behind the Charleston massacre) receive a tremendous amount of attention from the media, such shootings are exceptionally rare. Between 1983 and 2013, there were a total of 78 mass shootings in America (an average of 2.6 mass shootings per year). These shootings claimed a total of 547 lives. Thus, for every American that dies in a mass shooting each year, two Americans die from a dog bite. Is it time to ban dogs? Or at least ban the big, scary-looking ones?

Additionally, only 23% of mass shooters had a documented psychiatric history and just 6% were determined to have been psychotic during their attack. Thus, individuals with a mental illness perpetrate approximately 4 deaths by mass shooting per year, and mentally ill mass shooters who are psychotic during the attack cause about 1 death per year.

While it is important to try and reduce the number of deaths in America (or anywhere else) whenever possible, the costs of banning certain types of firearms or making it more difficult for the mentally ill to obtain a gun will vastly outweigh the benefits. Guns are used for self-defense 80 times as often as they are used to take lives and, notably, handguns (i.e. semiautomatic, concealed weapons) are used in more than 75% of these situations. Typically, gun owners using firearms for self-defense will only use the weapon to fire a warning shot, as guns are used to kill the attacker in just 8% of instances of gun-related self-defense. Additionally, about 200,000 American women use firearms to protect themselves from sexual violence every year, and a Justice Department study found that 60% of felons agreed that a criminal is not going to harm an individual whom he or she knows is armed.

Even though guns are used to prevent murders with far greater frequency than they are used to commit murders, and despite the fact that mass shootings are unlikely, there are still a lot of gun deaths in America every year. As such, many believe that stricter gun control would be beneficial to the U.S. Most gun control advocates view countries like Australia and England as model nations, as civilian gun ownership is prohibited in almost all circumstances there: the Australian government requires that a “genuine reason” be provided for citizens to even own a paintball gun, and in England not even the police can carry firearms. As a result, there are few gun deaths in these countries. Further, the overall murder rates in Australia and England are noticeably lower than that of the U.S. For proponents of gun control, these comparisons paint a clear picture: “See? If we banned guns in America, we would save so many lives.” The flaw in this argument lies in its failure to recognize that correlation does not imply causation.

There are approximately 32,000 gun deaths in the U.S. every year. Of these, approximately 64% are suicides, less than 1.6% are accidental, and the remainder are homicides. To determine whether a ban on guns would save lives in the U.S., it is necessary to compare each of these statistics with those of Australia and England.

In Australia, the suicide rate in 2013 was 10.9 per 100,000 and in the UK, it was 11.9 per 100,000. In the U.S., the suicide rate was 12.6 per 100,000. Although the U.S. rate is slightly higher than that of Australia and the UK, the disparity disappears when considering the prevalence of depression among Americans relative to citizens of Australia and the UK. While a gun is often the weapon of choice for Americans committing suicide, the availability of firearms does not cause more people to commit suicide.

Similarly, the rate of accidental gun deaths in America is comparable to the rate of other types of accidental deaths in Australia and the UK. In 2012, there were about as many accidental deaths by firearm per capita in America as there were deaths per capita in Australia from falling out of bed and deaths per capita in the UK from crossing the street. In the U.S., the likelihood of an accidental gun death is approximately half the likelihood of  death by autoerotic asphyxiation. In other words, gun accidents are no more likely to be fatal than any other type of accident.

The only disparity between the U.S. and the duo of Australia and the UK is the homicide rate. In Australia, there were 430 murders in 2013, which yields a murder rate of approximately 1.86 per 100,000. In the UK, there were 537 murders in 2014 (the fewest there since 1978), a murder rate of approximately 0.84 per 100,000. In the U.S., there were 14,196 murders in 2013—a murder rate of 4.45 per 100,000—which is more than double Australia’s murder rate and over four times that of the UK.

This disparity can be attributed to the pervasiveness of gangs in America. According to the European Journal of Criminology, “reports of gang-related homicides are almost entirely absent from the Eurogang studies.”  In Australia, gangs account for less than 1% of homicides. In the U.S., by contrast, organized crime accounts for approximately 80% of violent crimes. Thus, the non-gang murder rate in the U.S. is 0.89 per 100,000—approximately half that of Australia and equal to that of the UK.

Gang-related homicides are related to factors such as drugs, intergang violence, and intragang violence. Mental health issues did not contribute to a large enough percentage of gang homicides to even be included in the National Gang Center’s list of causes for gang violence from 2006-2012. No amount of restrictions or screening based on potential gun buyers’ mental health will reduce gang violence. Chicago, my hometown, has some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws yet still has a higher murder rate than Congo, Bolivia, and South Sudan. To lower the murder rate in the U.S., gangs—not guns—must be stopped.

Policies formed in response to a tragic event fail to take into account the true reasons for the many guns deaths in the United States. The only way to reduce gun violence in America is to focus on the underlying causes that lead people to commit suicide or homicide. Unfortunately, it’s going to take much more than a ban on guns to solve these problems.

 

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Image Source: Flickr

Editorial: Welcome to the Claremont Independent

Dear Class of 2019,

Congratulations! This week you have officially entered “The Bubble.” You now belong to one of the most intellectual, elite liberal arts institutions in the country—where reasoned discourse and thoughtful debate are not just encouraged, but actively kept alive by your many bright and vocal peers.

The Claremont Independent is the catalyst that drives our most lively, heated student discussions. We are the leading outlet for students whose views differ from—and often oppose—mainstream liberals and progressives. We also report campus news and, importantly, serve as a check to 5C administrations. As the only independently funded student publication, the Claremont Independent is in a unique position to criticize administrative decisions and policies, ranging anywhere from unnecessary free speech infringements under the guise of “political correctness” to blatantly biased curriculums that propagate liberal agendas.

We are a small but quickly growing organization with influence that extends beyond the Claremont Colleges. Last year, our stories consistently made national waves and were picked up by prominent news outlets, such as the National Review, Newsweek, and the Daily Caller. Over the summer, we received the Collegiate Network’s William F. Buckley Award for Outstanding Campus Reporting.

Traditionally, we have always been a right-leaning organization with the majority of our members subscribing to some variation of conservative ideology. At the heavily left-leaning Claremont Colleges, we provide students with the opposition needed to engage in critical thinking and intellectual debate—two key pillars of a traditional (and meaningful!) liberal arts education.

So welcome to the Claremont Independent, where you can find the most politically diverse set of opinions, thought-provoking arguments, and significant campus commentary at the 5Cs. We hope you enjoy these next four years with us.

Sincerely,

Hannah Oh

Editor-in-Chief

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Photography by Wes Edwards.