Tag Archives: conservative

Why I Haven’t Enjoyed Claremont

When I came to Claremont, I hoped to find a loving community and an extended family. Unfortunately, what I found instead is an environment in which professing a commitment to social activism is often more important to my fellow students than actually connecting with the people around them. Many of my progressive classmates concern themselves with berating their peers for their ostensible insensitivity or privilege, rather than with expressing sensitivity to each other.

I have a message for these students: Expecting others to accept your conception of morality—one in which tolerance and acceptance are supposedly paramount—while treating dissenters with disdain is hypocrisy at its finest. You are trying to show people how to better society, which is admirable, but you have forgotten that a better society must start with ourselves. Society is not some vague entity – it is all around us in our dorms, in our classes, and in our libraries. If we are to demand that others embrace certain ideals, we are obligated to take on these same ideals ourselves and live them out as fully as possible.

When we willfully ignore this obligation, however, our community suffers. Deep and lasting relationships are no longer possible; instead, our relationships depend upon whether or not we agree with each other ideologically. When activism becomes more important than establishing sincere, genuine connections with people from different ideological backgrounds, no reasons remain for listening to those who cannot help our political goals. We thus become indignant of even respectful dissent, blinded by a sense of moral superiority that deems any disagreement a moral violation. In this way, we dehumanize each other based on ideology and create a highly judgmental culture that absolves us from needing to treat each other with respect and or consider alternative perspectives.

This last point is what most upsets me about the Claremont community. Students encourage each other to believe that highlighting the immorality of others is of far greater importance than actually practicing the values which they claim a person must support, accept, and live by in order to be morally good.  How can we improve ourselves if we see only good in ourselves and our opinions and only evil in those who deviate from our worldview? How can we become better people if we rarely place ourselves in a position to contemplate our wrongs? The fact is that no one is perfect, consistent, or correct all of the time, and rather than becoming indignant and aggressive when faced with dissent, students should do better for the community and for themselves by showing each other sincere kindness and understanding.

Activism should not strangle our relationships or limit the compassion we show to others.  If it does, the activism which truly matters—the radical task of loving and accepting one another in spite of our differences—will be left behind, and we will have lost sight of what’s truly important.

Claremont Students: Non-Progressive Students of Color Are ‘Shady’

On Wednesday, a Facebook page called “Pray for the Boys of Claremont” began circulating among 5C students. The group posts “prayer requests” for the salvation of various male students at the 5Cs.

The page’s first prayer request targeted all men involved with the Claremont Independent. The subsequent post ridiculed the entire “vile” publication.asf

asdThe group swiftly turned their gaze to a specific student at Pomona College, condemning the CI’s Managing Editor, Jose Ruiz, for being both a Person of Color and writer associated with the Claremont Independent.

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After a series of complaints, the page removed the explicit mention of Jose’s name and promised to “refrain from posting names in the future” because “[t]he Lord does not need names to know for whom we pray.” In addition to this retraction, the group removed a picture featuring current Independent Editor in Chief Steven Glick, Publisher Taylor Schmitt, and former Editor In Chief Hannah Oh Thursday night. The inclusion of Hannah Oh appears contradictory to the group’s stated mission, but would be coherent within a larger mission to bully conservative students, a not uncommon practice at the Claremont Colleges.

Mr. Ruiz noted, “I have been targeted before for being part of the Independent, but usually in person. This is the first time I’ve been targeted over social media… It’s been getting worse over the years, and the negative sentiment peaked last semester.”

Not all students visiting the page appreciated the personal attacks. One student remarked on the page “I thought Claremont people [were] better than this cyberbullying crap… There is a special place in hell for people who bullied their classmates online in the name of [the] Lord.”

The group seems to have no specific religious affiliation, calling on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, while claiming that “[s]horts with imperialist flags are not Halacha.”

As of this morning, the page has received over 100 likes and is still drawing support for their claim that: “Many of the boys of Claremont are in desperate need of salvation and our prayers. Submit the gross boys in your life to our prayer list!”

Featured Organization: ISI Claremont Society

Last fall the issue of political diversity took center stage at the Claremont Colleges as a result of two separate events. The first was the release of a 40-year study that measured the political attitudes of students and faculty at the 5Cs. The study found that over 70 percent of CMC students, and over 90 percent of students at the other colleges surveyed, identify as Democrats – a rate far above that of the American voting population. Of the 532 Claremont Colleges tenured faculty, there are only 16 registered Republicans (half of which come from CMC). The survey highlighted the glaring lack of political diversity at each school, with little to no response from any of the 5C administrations.

Shortly thereafter, conservative pundit George Will was disinvited from Scripps College, where he was slated to give a speech as part of the Malott Public Affairs Program. The program typically brings in one conservative speaker a year, noting that  “a range of opinions about the world – especially opinions with which we may not agree, or think we do not agree – leads to a better educational experience.” Will was disinvited because of a column he wrote that shared his conservative view of the college sexual assault adjudication process.

The Malott Program’s failure to uphold its commitment to bring in speakers with opposing viewpoints, and the 5C administrations’ lack of effort to address these concerns, sparked the formation of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) Claremont Society. Through the ISI Claremont Society, students are able to access the ISI Speakers Bureau to bring in renowned conservative scholars to campus, connect with other ISI Society members, and attend national conferences and educational seminars.

The ISI Claremont Society’s inaugural event will feature Pete Peterson, the 2014 Republican candidate for California Secretary of State and interim director of Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy. The event will be held on Tuesday, September 15 at 6pm in the Athenaeum Parents Dining Room. If you would like to attend, or if you would like to get involved in the ISI Claremont Society this year, please email claremontisi@gmail.com.


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Photo courtesy: Pete Peterson.

We Who Must Not Be Named

In a recent issue of The Student Life, we came across a funny little name for CI articles that ruffle campus progressives’ feathers: “That One Article.”

Some would see a problem. We see an opportunity. As a long-ignored voice on campus, it is great to see others acknowledging our efforts to challenge progressives’ control of the campus debate this year.

But, why, some might ask, is it even beneficial that we exist and grow as a publication? Simply put, we are showing a different way forward for those who are unhappy with the mainstream campus debate on both on- and off-campus issues. Instead of basing ourselves on intolerant “inclusiveness” and censorious “safety,” we believe in the fundamental importance of individual rights, and the principles that are the basis of Western civilization.

One of these rights is due process, including the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty.” Sadly, such a right does not mix well with the impulses of campus activists. In the case of the Ferguson shooting of last year, students marched out against what they assumed was the racist murder of an innocent man before the facts were out. While some might argue that the justice system is inherently racist, the Justice Department’s recent report supporting the decision of the grand jury should at least give activists pause.

America is still infected with racism, but that fact should, if anything, make us want to strengthen individual rights, rather than abrogate or infringe on them. Instead of immediately resorting to ill-founded assumptions and angry rhetoric, we urge students across the political spectrum to take a step back. Listen to and understand your fellow Americans. Get to know your fellow human beings as individuals with hopes, dreams, and fears, not as caricatures that are labelled by any number of hateful adjectives. This goes for both conservatives and progressives.

We believe that you have the right to speak your piece whether or not we agree with you, regardless of what some students might say. Case in point, over the past year, a number of centrist and self-identified liberal students have joined our staff because they felt there was not enough room for their views in the mainstream campus debate.

In a campus that is so obsessed with tearing down the “establishment,” we will continue to build up those who do not conform to the established view on campus. The CI is at its strongest in years, and we are eager to grow further and challenge more of the comfortable conformity that attracts well-intentioned progressives. While it is central to our conservative principles that everyone be safe from physical harm, no idea should be safe or privileged from discussion and debate.

We are the publication that must not be named, and we are here to stay.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons