Tag Archives: Pitzer

College Presidents Spread False Anti-Trump Narrative to Student Body

Earlier this week, presidents of the five Claremont Colleges joined over thirty peer institutions of higher education in denouncing President Trump’s recent executive order, which halts refugee immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days. Trump stated of the executive order, “America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border … The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.” However, the presidents’ emails to their respective student bodies described Trump’s policy as a ban on Muslim immigration.

Pomona College President David Oxtoby, for example, described Trump’s orders as “deeply troubling” examples of “xenophobia” and “religious discrimination.” President Oxtoby stated that “these actions tear at the fabric of who we are and what we aspire to be.” Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver went so far as to say that “President Trump has altered the American experience, and with it the vision of hope and unity previously shared by most of us.”

President Oliver’s statement continues, “three executive orders … have upended our policies of openness and welcoming,” claiming that the orders have “the practical effect of creating a religious ban against people of Muslim faith.” Though Trump’s orders would likely affect only around 200 million of over 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, President Oliver told the Independent that he believes “America is more beautiful because of its inclusiveness, not despite it.” Oliver stated that “xenophobia – whether targeted at one … or 1.5 billion – goes against America’s founding values,” but did not specify why he thinks Trump’s orders amount to a Muslim ban or what about them is xenophobic.

While noting that Pitzer College, Claremont McKenna College, and Pomona College currently enroll zero students from the seven countries named in the executive order, each of the school presidents made lengthy efforts to reiterate the availability of emotional assistance for students who “feel vulnerable.” President Lara Tiedens of Scripps College ended her own note by stating “We are fortunate to have such a strong network of active, informed, and compassionate individuals who are invested in preserving Scripps as a haven for inclusive excellence,” referencing a December statement naming Scripps “a sanctuary center of higher education” which would follow in the footsteps of Pomona College and Pitzer College to refuse compliance with federal law regarding immigration status.

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Image: Flickr

Editorial: The Importance of Free Expression

Free speech on campus has become a growing issue in the US and internationally as traditionally freer countries place more and more restrictions on speech. As students and journalists at the Claremont Colleges, we have seen the negative repercussions of this trend firsthand—in our classrooms, jobs, places of worship, and even in our coffee shops.

It’s sad what this culture has cost the colleges. We live in a community of bright, engaged students, but fear of radical left wing retribution too often stifles conversations before they start. We are fortunate to study under great professors but, going forward, the quality of many of our tenured faculty will be subject to how well a given professor fits into the Social Justice Warrior mold. Even our peers’ charitable efforts fall prey to the expanding reach of political correctness.

It’s our job as students to shape the community here on campus, but the administration has the power to set the tone and step in when our peers or teachers abuse their power. Too often, our administrations are compliant or even complicit in the destruction of our community’s cohesion and intellectual growth.

Yet last Thursday, President Chodosh and Dean Uvin stood up in favor of our rights in an email released to Claremont McKenna College’s student body and alumni. The email outlined the administration’s commitment to protecting free speech on campus, both inside and outside the classroom. By defending students’ and faculty members’ right to think and speak freely, Claremont McKenna College’s administration has made an important pivot away from the increasingly sensitive culture of censorship and toward a more positive academic community. This will serve students well both in Claremont and outside the bubble.

CMC’s announcement is a strong first step, and we’re hopeful that the administration will take this policy seriously in order to provide students with a well-rounded intellectual environment. We now call on the administrations at Pitzer College, Scripps College, Pomona College, and Harvey Mudd College to adopt the University of Chicago’s policies on speech as well. The Claremont Colleges have a great capacity to influence the world around us, but that can’t happen unless we are allowed to grow as thinkers and as people. We cannot overstate the importance of free expression on campus. Without it, education is impossible.

Steven Glick, Editor-in-Chief

Megan Keller, Publisher

Daniel Ludlam, Managing Editor

Hispanic Pitzer Student Criticized for Denying the Word ‘Trump’ is Hate Speech

Over the weekend, several places on Pitzer College’s campus were spray painted with pro-Trump messages. Last Sunday, Brian Carlisle—the Vice President for Student Affairs at Pitzer College—responded to the vandalism and set off a firestorm of student responses.

Carlisle condemned the “hate filled message”—referring to the phrase “Make America,” presumably the first half of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign slogan—that was written over an on-campus mural. Carlisle also stated, “harassment and intimidation will never be accepted at Pitzer” and said that the administration is conducting an investigation to hold someone accountable.

Carlisle’s response was not sufficient for students who believe writing “Trump” is a racist hate crime and emblematic of “institutional racism” at Pitzer. “The way Administration has failed to classify these incidents as a hate crime has put students of color  safety at risk and has proved to students of color that their safety and well-being is not a priority of this institution,” claims Sarah Roschdi (PZ ‘17). “Students of color are being directly targeted by pro­trump messages and their [sic] has been zero steps taken to secure the safety and wellbeing of students of color on this campus.”

Haylee Sindt (PZ ‘18) did not agree with Roschdi’s sentiments. “Every person that has been affected by this, has the absolute right to feel this way,” wrote Sindt. “You may say that it makes you feel unsafe or that this is a hate crime,” she adds. “However… this is not a hate crime, it was not done to maliciously harass or intimidate ‘people of color,’ and in no way shape or form should it ‘negatively and personally impact people.’”

“Please tell me how the words ‘Trump’ and ‘Make America’ is threatening or triggering,” Sindt continues. “What would the campus’s reaction be if ‘Vote for Bernie’ or ‘Hillary is Awesome’ was written on the mural? Would people still be reacting to the degree to which they are? We all talk about how these colleges are a free space, however, in reality they are not. The second that someone with opposing views, [whose] ideals are vastly out numbered, expresses their opinions, people shut them down, tell them they are wrong, and that they are making them feel ‘unsafe.’”

Several students expressed outrage in response to Sindt’s email. “Your email dismisses the experiences of every person of color on this campus,” Lillian Horin (PZ ‘17) said to Sindt, who is Hispanic. Horin also criticized Sindt’s use of quotation marks around the word unsafe. “Do not trivialize how people of color feel on this campus and in the world around us. We do not feel ‘unsafe,’ we feel unsafe,” wrote Horin. “Just because you don’t feel it doesn’t mean the rest of us are merely whining. If we feel unsafe, believe us. We have no reason to lie.” Horin added that the words ‘Trump” and “Make America” are, in fact, racist because “one need only look at his [Trump’s] supporters to see that it is.”

“I am not here to explain stereotypes, micro aggression, white privilege, or systematic oppression to you,” stated Jessica Saint Fleur (PZ ‘18). “It is no secret that Trump’s campaign is centered around these aspects of oppression. His entire campaign is built on bigotry and hate.”

One student even accused Sindt of being the one who defaced the mural. “Your tone in your email sounds like you might be/know the person who vandalized the mural,” states Basha Brulee-Wills (PZ’ 17). Brulee-Wills then encourages Sindt to think about why she is at Pitzer, “because it possibly cannot be that you’re striving to uphold Pitzer’s core values.”

Pitzer’s Dean of Students, Moya Carter, shared her opinions regarding on-campus vandalism as well. “This is not the place to speak to the foolish, embarrassing, hate filled, Islamophobic, fact devoid behavior being represented by some of the candidates running for President of the United States,” wrote Carter in an email to the student body. Just sentences later, Carter claims that “Pitzer College is a community that strives for critical thought, diversity of beliefs and freedom of expression.”

“When they have nothing better to argue, they immediately accuse someone of being racist,” Sindt told the Claremont Independent. “Many students do not know how to accept what students with differing ideas have to say, so they immediately shut them down. People need to learn that not everyone in life will agree with them.”

Social Justice Warriors Are the Reason Donald Trump Exists

Over the past couple weeks, students at colleges across the country have retreated into their safe spaces to protest the “hate speech” that is Donald Trump’s name. Never to be left out of a big PC trend, the Claremont Colleges have seen plenty of oversensitivity to Trump as well. Students and administrators at both Scripps College and  Pitzer College have referred to the phrases “#Trump2016” and “Make America” as “harassment,” “intimidation,” and “racism,” among other things. What these students seem to be missing is that their outrage is exactly what has made Trump’s candidacy so successful.

Political correctness has reached a point where it is essentially impossible to have an honest, open conversation about sensitive issues. Trump’s rise is nothing more than a direct response to the growing trend of language policing, and nowhere has this pattern of offense-taking victim culture been more evident than right here in Claremont.

At Pomona College, students protested an America-themed party because they felt that it supported “imperialism, violence, and racist power structures.” A mad scientist-themed party was opposed because the student government felt that the party’s name—“Mudd Goes Madd”—“trivializes mental health and disability issues.”

At Pitzer College, the Student Senate rejected a proposed Yacht Club because they thought that the word “yacht” was offensive to low-income students. Just weeks later, that same Student Senate did not approve a student’s request to start a campus branch of the national DreamCatcher Foundation—an organization that helps to give happy experiences to terminally ill hospice patients—because, even though the Student Senators believed that it “seems like a worthy organization in their goals and mission,” they were concerned that the word “DreamCatcher” was a form of cultural appropriation. This despite the fact that the CEO of the national organization is Native American herself.

The administration at Scripps College rescinded its invitation to George Will to speak at the Malott Public Affairs Program, a conservative speaker series intended to provide students with an opportunity to hear viewpoints they disagree with, because they didn’t agree with the conservative views Will expressed in a column he had written for the Washington Post. A cupcake-decorating event at Scripps was criticized for being a “garbage, cis, white event” and  “incredibly violent to trans women,” and students who defended the event were called “racist.” Just a few weeks later, the same on-campus coffee shop that hosted the cupcake event allowed only “people of color and allies that they invite” inside. Minority-only “safe spaces” appeared at Pomona College as well, where students were told that the presence of white students would prevent their nonwhite peers from feeling “safe” and “comfortable.”

The political correctness movement is losing traction because students are growing tired of being told what lecturers they can listen to, what parties they can go to, what clubs they can start, what charities they can support, and how they can decorate their cupcakes.

This same principle applies to most Americans on national political issues. Any opposition to illegal immigration and any efforts to call out radical Islam have been deemed unacceptable by the PC police. Much of Trump’s appeal comes from his brash, unapologetic demeanor and ongoing crudity in the face of public resentment. He maintains his strong views on immigration despite frequently being called a racist by progressives. He is willing to speak out against radical Islamic terror even when his critics try to call him an Islamophobe. He’s the only presidential candidate in American history who can talk about the size of his penis without committing political suicide. The fact that Trump is willing to confront societal taboos and revel in other people’s shock and distaste hits home with those who are tired of rampant PC culture dictating what they can and cannot do with their lives.

Overwhelmingly, Trump is supported by those Americans that feel constantly derided by elites in academia, the media, and Washington, DC. It only confirms Trump’s narrative when students and administrators at some of the most elite, exclusive, and expensive colleges in the country describe the act of writing Trump slogans on campus as “hate crimes” and acts of “violence.” These sorts of reactions communicate to the American working class what Trump has been peddling throughout his campaign: the upper echelons of society find your very presence offensive and they will seek to exclude, or even—in their ideal world—oppress you. How do you imagine that looks to Trump supporters? Every time a social justice warrior tries to call out Donald Trump over supposed bigotry, he, she, they, or ze adds more fuel to the Trump fire. Ah, the irony.

 

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Just The Facts: Pitzer College Tuition

With the current tuition increase rate at 5% per year, babies born this year (class of 2037) can expect to pay $156,671 per year—$626,685 over four years—for an undergraduate degree from Pitzer College. As a result, Pitzer students are left wondering, “where does my tuition go, and why has the tuition increased?” As a non-profit institution, Pitzer is not required to divulge its yearly financial audits. Fortunately, Pitzer used its discretion to post its audits from the past decade on its website. Understanding those audits can provide insight as to where the extra money is going.

The political and educational climate has changed immensely since Pitzer’s founding in 1963. Federal laws that impact the finances of institutions of higher education are constantly being created and amended. For example, Title IX wasn’t enacted until 1972, and the Clery Act has been amended 7 times since its inception in 1990. Additionally, more recent instances of regulation include Student Health Insurance and the Affordable Care Act. Presumably, these laws were passed with the best intentions for students attending college in America, and the debate about whether or not they are worth the costs is for a different article. This article will only seek to describe Pitzer College’s budget and the effects of new regulations on the increased cost of tuition.

For a college to remain accredited and in full compliance with the law, the administration of any four-year institution is required to keep a series of records and follow various regulations regarding, for example, pay, benefits, and equal opportunity. Consequently, these record keeping and associated costs are unavoidable for any institution seeking to demonstrate compliance with federal regulations. If a college is not compliant with, say, the Clery Act, possible consequences include a suspension of the institution’s Title IV funding, civil fines up to $38,500 per violation, and reputational loss due to negative media attention. Further, failure to comply with the Clery Act can be used in various litigation matters.

As new regulations are introduced, the extra paperwork and record keeping requires Pitzer to add more staff to its administration—a costly change. According to a recent study by Pitzer’s Institutional Research Board, Pitzer increased the size of its administration staff from 169 individuals to 217 (a 28% increase) between 2001 and 2014.

An additional factor contributing to Pitzer’s increased costs is the lower student-faculty ratio. A school’s student-faculty ratio is an important factor included in US News & World Report’s annual rankings of American colleges. As such, since the start of the 21st century, Pitzer has worked to reduce its student-faculty ratio—which includes only tenure and tenure-track faculty—from 13:1 to 10:1. As the size of the student body increased with the building of new dorms (from 937 students in 2001 to 1076 in 2014, a 15% increase), the number of tenure and tenure-track faculty increased from 59 to 79, a 34% increase. The total number of faculty members (including those who are neither tenured nor tenure-track) increased by 55% from 74 in 2001 to 115 in 2014.

The exact salaries of professors and members of the administration are confidential, but data from The Chronicle of Higher Education found the tenure and tenure track salaries at Pitzer College to be $115,00 per year at the high end in 2014 . The Chronicle also reported that administrative salaries ranged from $30,000 per year for service workers to $167,000 for high-end management positions during the 2013-2014 academic year. A complete breakdown of the budget can be found in the corresponding infographic.

While the data presented in the graphic may answer the question of, “what does my tuition pay for?” it hardly gives the reason for the increase in tuition. Various college expenses can be placed in different categories from year to year depending on a change in auditing guidelines. Part of the answer to the question of why Pitzer’s tuition has nearly quadrupled in the past 35 years is that the college is “nicer.” In the past ten years alone, Pitzer constructed a new pool, built brand-new LEED certified dorms, a new student gym, and has turned McConnell into one of the highest-rated dining halls in the country. The “Phase Two” dorms cost Pitzer $33 million to complete, while the construction of the student gym and other updates to the Gold Student Center cost the college an additional $7 million. On average, each category of Pitzer’s expenses has increased by 83% over the last decade, with a corresponding student revenue growth of 88%.

According to Paul F. Campos’ recent article in the New York Times, nationwide, enrollment in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs has increased by almost 50% since 1995. Campos reported that while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher than they were when Pitzer was founded in the 1960s, the cost of tuition has increased by a CPI-adjusted 1,120% since 1978. It cost around $1,300 to attend a top private college in the ’60s. Today, Pitzer charges $46,992 for full-time tuition ($61,750 including room and board) a 40% increase from $28,256 in 2003. Subsequently, Pitzer is the 15th-most expensive college in the country. Given the recent increases in spending on academic and administrative staff, along with construction projects, it appears that the 88% increase in student revenue over the last decade adds up. If the current trend continues, tuition will rise to unthinkable numbers, just as our current tuition is unfathomable to those who attended and paid for a Pitzer College education at its founding.

Invest in Oil, Help the Environment

The fossil fuel divestment movement, like many other campus causes, mistakes posturing for effective action, giving its proponents a false sense of accomplishment. By divesting from fossil fuels last August, Pitzer College actually weakened its ability to help the environment. Fortunately, Pitzer’s mistake can be corrected. Current market conditions allow for Pitzer to regain and extend its environmental influence (and shore up its endowment) before it is too late.

Pitzer’s move to divest from fossil fuels came at the perfect time for the college’s endowment. Either by luck or clairvoyance, the college sold its oil-related assets right before last year’s major energy sector selloff. On November 27, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) held a conference during which the cartel stated that it was not going to cut production of oil in order to retain its market share. Subsequently, oil and many other fossil fuel-related assets’ prices plummeted. Halliburton’s stock price fell from a high of 74.33 to 37.21, while Exxon’s fell from a high of 104.76 to 82.68. Values of energy sector ETFs and mutual funds fell by 30%.

Thanks to a surge in domestic production due to fracking, coupled with OPEC’s decision to maintain production, analysts estimate that the world is producing 1-1.5 million barrels of oil a day more than demanded. The world is even running out of space to store the excess supply. At $51 a barrel, down from $115 in June, oil is less profitable to drill. Production is slowing. As the price of oil begins to rebound, the energy sector is easing off of its 52-week lows. Halliburton is now trading at around $45, and Exxon around $86. Energy sector mutual funds have also begun to rally.

Now is the time for Pitzer to reinvest in the oil industry.

A shareholder’s say in deciding the direction of a company is directly proportional to the number of shares it owns. Though fossil fuel divestment was a great public relations move by Pitzer, if the college intends to spark change in the oil industry, its best course of action would be, ironically, to increase the number of fossil fuel shares that it holds in its endowment portfolio. It is impossible to sell a stock without a buyer, and whoever bought Pitzer’s shares probably does not care about the environmental impact of fossil fuels. At current prices, shares of companies in the energy sector are at bargain levels. By buying low, Pitzer could buy more influence for less. Pitzer’s endowment would also benefit when fossil fuel prices rise in the future.

In today’s market, investors are increasingly becoming catalysts for change. Just last week, General Electric finally gave into pressure from “activist” investors, selling off much of its GE Capital and real estate assets. Based on a net income of $44.9 billion, Exxon Mobil is the top oil company in the United States. Its market capitalization runs $356.55 billion. In 2013, the National Association of College and University Business Officers calculated the average endowment of 849 four-year institutions in the US and Canada to be $335 million, led by Harvard ($33 Billion), Yale ($20 Billion), Princeton ($18 Billion), and Stanford ($18 Billion). Pitzer was 393rd with $118 million. The total of all college endowments in the US and Canada exceeded $455 billion, enough to buy Exxon Mobil, Valero, and Halliburton. Though colleges have enormous buying power, a complete buy-out of the companies would be unnecessary. A large minority share of ownership in the companies could be disruptive enough get their attention. A few colleges could enact real change through collaborative investment in energy, rather than divestment from it.

If not the energy sector, where to invest? Certainly not in tobacco companies, McDonald’s, Coke, or Wal-Mart. Government debt supports the purchase of intercontinental ballistic missiles. What about consumer staples? Harmless, right? Proctor and Gamble (they make just about everything in your bathroom) profits off the use of fossil fuels. They still require petroleum-based products to manufacture and ship “Zanzibar” scented deodorant to the shelves of your local CVS.

Whether we like it or not, we all demand cheap energy in order to function. At the present moment, there is no cheaper energy source than fossil fuels. Beloved “Big Oil” will continue to drill and will remain the primary producer of transportation fuel whether or not Pitzer owns part of the industry. By divesting, Pitzer is simply ridding itself of one obvious association with fossil fuel companies. In actuality, the institution benefits enormously from fossil fuel consumption. When a professor drives to work, Pitzer benefits, just as it does when garbage is hauled away. How would Pitzer send students to Washington, D.C. to protest the Keystone pipeline, as it did last March, without oil and the 2.3 million miles of domestic energy pipelines that are already in existence?

It is my hope that cheap, efficient, renewable energy is just around the corner, and we may see it become more of a factor in our daily lives within the next few years. Many companies that are leading the charge, including the liquid metal battery company Ambri, are still in developmental stages and are privately held. This means that an institution like Pitzer cannot be a shareholder because the companies have yet to make a public equity offering. Pitzer already invests a small portion of its endowment portfolio in smaller public companies that specialize in renewable energy, limiting its exposure to them because emerging companies tend to be riskier investments. Established companies in the energy sector, including Chevron, also happen to be some of the largest researchers and providers of renewable energy. A group of investors could pressure major energy companies to do even more by allocating more capital towards renewables, causing a significant shift away from fossil fuels within the industry.

Thankfully, Pitzer’s commitment to environmental sustainability extends beyond its bark. Pitzer’s Presidential Task Force on Campus Sustainability has broad goals, including campus carbon neutrality by 2050. If the Task Force reaches just a few of its objectives, the impacts will be positive. The goals as they currently stand, however, are limited to the 34 acres of Pitzer’s campus. If the Task Force proposed a collaborative investment initiative with other like-minded colleges, the consequences could resonate far beyond Pitzer’s campus, adding a new dimension to what it means to be an “activist” investor. Students across the 5Cs with plans for their own divestment campaigns should be mindful of the opportunity cost of spending time on a project with no environmental impact. For their cause to remain credible to non-environmentalists, they should focus on tangible accomplishments that are both symbolic and immediately effective. They should invest more, not less, in the energy sector.
Disclosure: Author uses a re-usable water bottle, picks up trash in national parks, grows his own vegetables during the summer, rides his bike to work, leaves the air conditioning off, and invests in KMI, HAL, and PSX.

Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

Ward Elliott
CMC Professor Emeritus Ward Elliott. Image Courtesy Ward Elliott.

With midterm elections just around the corner and a heated battle between Democrats and Republicans over control of the Senate, it becomes imperative to ask the daunting question, “What will you do on November 4?” Instead of having to go around and take a poll, Professor Ward Elliott’s study entitled, “Political Attitudes at the Claremont Colleges,” takes a deeper look into the political trends on the 5Cs throughout the last 40 years. His findings not only give us some insight into party preference, but also dispel some deeply ingrained rumors about CMC culture.

From students to faculty, many would make the argument that CMC is a conservative utopia that looks down on the rest of the 5Cs. However, let’s put aside all the Yik Yak comments and examine the legitimacy behind these claims.

Students

Professor Elliott’s study spends a lot of time on students of the 5Cs in order to get a clear picture on their beliefs and establish a consistent trend.

Rep-Dem preference at CMC
CMC Student Political Preference, 1972-2012

As Figure 1 (above) from the study demonstrates, since the mid 1990s, CMC has seen a huge turnover in political preference with a 45 percent liberal to 17 percent conservative affiliation in the year 2012. Professor Elliott makes the observation that, “Apart from the 1980s, liberal students have outnumbered conservative by more than two to one.” These findings indicate this growing political direction CMC is taking as more and more students identify as liberals. Professor Elliott takes a step further by focusing in on the increase in liberal views on the CMC campus in relation to the other campuses, pointing out that, “% Change (from conservative to liberal) during 1988-2012 was +35%.” If we were to compare that to the percent change from the other 4 campuses, +16% (HMC), +13% (PO), +16%(SCR), and +19%(PI), that’s more than double the amount of any other campus during the same period!

Faculty

The faculty are no exception to the trend that Elliott spotted among 5C students.

5C Faculty Party Breakdown
5C Faculty Republican population, broken down by school

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 4.24.56 PMOnly 16 registered Republicans were found from the entire 532 5C core (permanent) faculty, with only one female among them. In other words, only 6.0% of all 5C faculty members are registered as Republicans. Professor Elliott does point out that “only half of the 5C core faculty were found, so the most likely estimates are twice the numbers found: 14.8% for HMC, 13.0% for CMC, Zero for Pomona, Pitzer, and Scripps, and 6.0% for all the 5C’s.” Although CMC may have a higher percentage of Republican faculty members than the other 5Cs, the number is still significantly lower with a “2.2:1 ratio” of Democrat to Republican. Moreover as Professor Elliott explains, “Claremont’s percentages are not out of line with those of other elite institutions, which are generally thought to be more lopsidedly/purely liberal than less elite campuses.” This is an important fact as outsiders look to CMC and some of the 5Cs as the Ivy League of the West Coast and in many cases, make comparisons between different aspects of each institution. It seems like these thoughts about CMC are not an accurate depiction of the political culture on campus.

Implications

This study raises the question about which campus truly is more tolerant and open-minded when it comes to political views. Contrary to popular belief of campuses like Pitzer and Pomona being tolerant and CMC being the least, based on this study, it seems as though the opposite is true.

Courtesy Ward Elliott
Courtesy Ward Elliott

Figure 2 (above) shows the Student Presidential Preference, 2-Party, from 1972-2012 of CMC, Pomona, and Pitzer. Professor Elliot explains that, “ Since 1972, 65%-98% of Pomona and Pitzer students have favored the Democratic ticket in Presidential elections, 24-52 points more than the general public, and 16-52 points higher than CMC students.” Even though we are only taking a look at one specific factor, presidential elections, these numbers do highlight an important point about the political diversity we see on the campuses. With CMC gaining more liberal students while maintaining a presence of conservative-minded students, an argument can be made about an, if not rich, at least identifiable contrast in political preferences on campus. On the other hand, with such a strong left-leaning population, upward to 98% for students, on campuses like Pomona and Pitzer, and a faculty with no registered Republicans, the notion of political diversity is completely out of the question.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 4.30.24 PMI was able to attend CMC Professor Jack Pitney’s Athenaeum talk entitled “What’s at Stake in these 2014 Mid-Term Elections,” where he talked about the Democrats’ and Republicans’ chances of victory in Congress. By the end of the speech, Professor Pitney concluded that a victory for the Republicans in both the House and the Senate was likely. However he was careful to point out that these elections still “could go either way.” Unfortunately, the likelihood of students in Pomona and Pitzer voting “either way” is as likely as George Will setting foot on Scripps’ campus. Although Professor Elliott’s study demonstrated how CMC’s political demographics are not nearly as one-sided as its neighbors, that’s really not saying much.

Best Places to Study at the 5Cs

Certain people can study in their dorm rooms and lounges with ease; I’m not one of them. If you’re the sort of person who can grind through Thursday night econ problem sets with Avicii blasting and inebriated classmates traipsing loudly through your dorm, then more power to you. For the rest of us, I’ve compiled a short list of some of my favorite study spots around the 5Cs.

The Cube: Virtually any CMC student would agree that the Cube easily ranks among the best places to study on campus. Conveniently close to North and Mid-Quad dorms, the Cube has the advantage of being a few minutes closer to home than the library and a very quiet atmosphere. Cons include the general lack of power outlets, the not-so-comfortable mod chairs, and the fact that the almost perfect silence that pervades the place has an eerie quality that will have you glancing around to see who’s breathing so loudly (this last one might just be me, though).

Pitzer Mounds: There are a number of good study spots for those who prefer fresh air and sunlight to buckle down and hit the books. For those who don’t mind ambient noise and enjoy a little local color, the Pitzer Mounds are hard to beat. Nab the hammock in the shade under the massive pine trees or you’ll likely be sitting in the grass, though.

Scripps Alcoves: This isn’t one particular place, but a reference to the various outdoor nooks and crannies that define the Scripps campus. Whether you favor a shaded table at the basement-level patio west of the Scripps dining hall or the alcove outside the admissions office, you’re sure to find a quiet isolated spot if you look hard enough. Unfortunately the various Scripps alcoves, like the Mounds, are pretty far away, especially in 5C miles.

Hub Patio: Not to be conflated with the Hub itself, which is usually loud and guaranteed to be full of people you know, the Hub patio is a fairly good place to study. Centrally located for CMCers, the Hub patio boasts shade provided by umbrellas and quick access to snacks. The main shortcoming of the Hub patio is that friends will probably join you and start up a conversation.

Honnold-Mudd Library: While a fair walk, Honnold is the classic go-to for a place to study. In particular, I’d recommend the always quiet fourth floor or, if you’re looking for a spot with a view, any of the three bridges between the two halves of the library. For those looking for total seclusion, check out the desks interspersed along the stairwell in the stacks. There’s something about the looming presence of thousands of books that is very conducive to concentrating on your studies. The downsides of Honnold include the fact that you often have to scout around to find an open desk and that many of the chairs aren’t especially comfortable.

Kravis Research Institutes­: If you are able to land a gig as a research assistant at any of the several research institutes located in the Kravis Center, you’re in luck, because the research institutes win the dubious award of being my favorite place to study at the 5Cs. Brand new ergonomic chairs, great views, complete silence and isolation, and ease of access to Kravis rooftop decks for a stretch are all perks reserved for those whom work for research institutes. Be sure to petition your institute head for 24/7 access to office space. The only con to these exclusive study spaces is that they have a sterile, professional feel to them.