Tag Archives: Protest

CMC President Promises To Punish Policy Violators in Wake of Protest

After protesters at Claremont McKenna College shut down a scheduled lecture and Q&A with Heather Mac Donald, a critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, by blocking the venue’s entrance, Hiram Chodosh, the president of Claremont McKenna College, promised to crack down on some student protesters for violating college policy.

Chodosh observed that, despite the protesters’ efforts, a live-stream of Mac Donald’s talk was viewed by nearly 250 people live and had been watched over 1,400 times at the time of his email. “In the end, the effort to silence her voice effectively amplified it to a much larger audience,” he wrote.

He outlined the college’s decision to not physically remove protesters, explaining that “based on the judgment of the Claremont Police Department, we [the college] jointly concluded that any forced interventions or arrests would have created unsafe conditions for students, faculty, staff, and guests.”

Chodosh also took the unusual step of promising punishment for those who blocked all exits and entrances to the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, where Mac Donald’s talk was scheduled to take place. “Blocking access to buildings violates College policy,” he wrote. “CMC students who are found to have violated policies will be held accountable. We will also give a full report to the other Claremont Colleges, who have responsibility for their own students.”

Chodosh highlighted the fact that the protest was composed of “a large group of students from the Claremont Colleges, including a small number of CMC students and some individuals from external communities.”

Echoing the statement released Thursday evening by Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of Faculty at Claremont McKenna College, Peter Uvin, Chodosh concluded by reaffirming the college’s commitment to protecting free speech:

“Finally, the breach of our freedoms to listen to views that challenge us and to engage in dialogue about matters of controversy is a serious, ongoing concern we must address effectively. Accordingly, we will be developing new strategies for how best to protect open, safe access to our events.”

Scripps Students Boycott Dining Hall, Claim Caterer is “Neocolonial,” “Racist,” and “Exploitive”

Scripps students boycotted Scripps College’s Malott Dining Hall during lunch on Thursday in order to protest Scripps’ contract with its dining hall provider Sodexo, accusing Sodexo of racism, exploitation of labor, environmental violations, and management of private prisons. Organized by Scripps student campaign Drop Sodexo, the boycott as well as a simultaneous protest outside the dining hall were aimed at ending Scripps’ contract with Sodexo. Drop Sodexo urged students to eat at other dining halls in the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) during the boycott.

According to the event description, the organizers invited students to “join the Drop Sodexo campain [sic] in protesting Scripps’ contract with Sodexo! This is a boycott of Malott lunch services on the 30th as well as an alternative community lunch event. We want to show the administration that students are serious about ending the Sodexo contract. You showing up to this event will help do that!” Following the boycott, Drop Sodexo claimed success, writing that “Malott was basically empty for all of lunch.”

The Drop Sodexo campaign organized the boycott because it claims Sodexo—a French multinational—is involved in “civil rights abuses…neoliberalism, anti-unionism, substandard food quality…racial discrimination, major class-action lawsuits, ownership of private prisons, and much more.” The students also claim that Sodexo exploits “neocolonial relationships that allow them to acquire raw materials from nations of the Global South.” Drop Sodexo also states that by “continuing business with a company that has such an extensive corporate crime record, we [Scripps] are providing a monetary endorsement for the increasing exploitation of land, people, and communities throughout the world.”

In an interview with The Student Life—the administration-funded student newspaper of the Claremont Colleges –student organizer Rebecca Millberg (SC ’17) accuses Sodexo of having “a history of horrible labor practices and food safety violations and worker exploitation,” adding that “it shouldn’t be hard for Scripps administration to see that it [the contract with Sodexo] goes completely against our values.”

Scripps administration subsequently informed student organizers that terminating Sodexo’s contract before its 2020 expiration could result in over $1 million in “legal fees and a variety of other expenses” that could “reduce funding for other important priorities, such as financial aid and faculty and staff compensation.” In a separate statement in response to students’ calls to end its contract with Sodexo, Scripps administrators stated that “the College does not have a policy of disqualifying contractors based on their client or investment portfolio.”

Drop Sodexo has suggested that “Scripps could choose any number of dining management companies besides Sodexo,” including in-house dining services. But when Pomona College — the flagship institution of the CUC — stopped contracting with Sodexo in 2011, many dining hall staff lost their positions at the College.

It doesn’t help that many of Drop Sodexo’s accusations run counter to Sodexo’s actual track record.

While Sodexo did settle an $80 million lawsuit brought by black employees on the basis of workplace discrimination back in 2005, it has since won numerous awards for diversity and inclusivity, including NBIC’s “2016 Best of the Best Corporation for Inclusion,” DiversityInc’s “2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity,” and Working Mother’s “Best Companies for Multicultural Women.” The French multinational has also recently received awards for sustainability, its commitment to hiring and retaining military veterans, and LGBT inclusion in its workforce.

Drop Sodexo also charges that Sodexo has “a consistent pattern of interfering with worker rights in many states,” and it has criticized the company’s “anti-unionism” actions against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In fact, Sodexo took the SEIU to court for employing illegal tactics to unionize workers, including blackmail and extortion. Faced with the possibility of a highly damaging public relations fiasco and civil liabilities, the SEIU agreed to terminate protests against Sodexo in exchange for dropped charges.

The student campaigners have also criticized Sodexo’s food quality and safety, stating that “to avoid having allergic reactions, many students limit themselves to eating the same foods for each meal because the labeling cannot be trusted.” Malott has been rated as one of the best campus dining halls in the country by the Princeton Review.

According to Drop Sodexo, the French multinational is responsible for the “privatization of the prison industry” and has exploited “unpaid or underpaid labor from private prisons.” While Sodexo divested its investments from American private prison corporation Correction Corporation of America in 2001 — nearly two decades ago — charges that Sodexo has poorly managed private prisons abroad are substantiated, as evidenced by the Sodexo-managed prisons HMP Northumberland and HMP Forest Bank in the United Kingdom.

Sodexo has operations in developing countries such has Colombia, Guinea, Morocco, and the Dominican Republic.

Drop Sodexo did not respond to requests for comment.

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

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.

28 Scripps Professors Will Protest Madeleine Albright’s Commencement Speech

Yesterday’s issue of The Student Life contained an open letter, signed by twenty-eight Scripps faculty members, criticizing the selection of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to deliver the commencement speech at Scripps College this May.

“As concerned Scripps faculty members, we are outraged at the selection of Madeleine Albright as the 2016 Commencement speaker and will not participate in this year’s graduation ceremony,” the professors write. “Our opposition to her speaking at commencement, however, has to do with her record during her service as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and U.S. Secretary of State.”

The professors condemn Albright for supporting sanctions on Iraq, for removing UN troops from Rwanda (Albright has stated, “My deepest regret from my years in public service is the failure of the United States and the international community to act sooner to halt these crimes), and for advocating for the U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia.

The letter adds that, “As a member of the Clinton administration, Albright was crucial in the crafting of ‘Plan Colombia,’ which funneled billions of dollars in aid to the country, 80 percent of which took the form of military aid to security forces, during a time when those forces were linked to right-wing paramilitary organizations.”

The faculty members also oppose having Albright speak at graduation because they don’t feel she’s done enough over the course of her career that is in ideological accordance with the demands Scripps students came up with last semester to encourage “unlearning.”

“The selection of Albright as the 2016 Commencement speaker runs counter to the spirit of student activism during fall 2015, which resulted in the demand to address institutional racism, among other forms of barred access,” the professors write. “As a women’s liberal arts college, we should promote the advancement of women and transgender peoples broadly and not simply emulate and celebrate those individuals who participate in U.S. state power and wield its violence. Representing the category of ‘woman’ in this way evacuates feminism of its anti-racist, anti-paternalistic, and anti-imperialist potential to address those lives that are systematically made vulnerable to sickness and death.”

The professors conclude their email by demanding they be included in the commencement speaker selection process rather than leaving that decision up to students. “With respect to the process for commencement speaker selection, it is our understanding that the selection is currently left in the hands of the senior class leadership with no input from faculty or other community members,” the letter states. “Because the commencement speaker is representative not only of the current senior class but also of the broader Scripps community, the process of selection should be reconsidered to better reflect Scripps values and commitments. In consideration of Scripps values and of our commitments to students and the institution, we will not be walking in graduation this year in protest of Albright’s presence.”

Scripps Dean: Writing #Trump2016 is ‘Harassment,’ ‘Intimidation’

Last week, Scripps College’s Student Body President, Minjoo Kim, sent an email to the Scripps community describing a “racist incident” that occurred on campus. “A Mexican-American Scripps student woke up to find her whiteboard vandalized with the phrase: ‘#trump2016’.” A similar incident occurred at Emory University where students felt frightened and disturbed after pro-Donald Trump chalkings appeared on campus with the phrase “#trump2016.”

“This racist act is completely unacceptable. Regardless of your political party, this intentional violence committed directly to a student of color proves to be another testament that racism continues to be an undeniable problem and alarming threat on our campuses,” the email continues. “Campus Safety has been notified and we hope to find the person responsible so they can be held accountable for their actions.”

“This is not the inclusive, safe, and welcoming community that we have been striving so hard to create,” notes Kim. “Actions and words have consequences. Think before you act.”

Dean Charlotte Johnson also addressed the incident with a school-wide email.

“Scripps respects the First Amendment rights of its community members, and students who wish to advocate for a political candidate may certainly do so pursuant to all relevant policies and procedures,” Johnson writes. “However, while it is true that under most circumstances the mere iteration of a presidential candidate’s name would not be regarded as a form of harassment or intimidation, the circumstances here are unique.”

She further describes the “circumstances” by stating, “Given that the Scripps incident targeted a Mexican-American, who was the only student in her residence hall to discover the message on her door, the negative reaction registered by many members of the community is understandable and far from extreme. As all who have experienced can confirm, racist acts and intimidation are not always overt. But, for their targets such acts are always disconcerting.”

Dean Johnson ends her email by declaring, “We are all responsible for ensuring the Scripps community is a safe place for everyone.”

The Scripps Guide to Student Life makes no mention of any policies pertaining to whiteboards. Students in all dorms are given public whiteboards placed outside or on their doors, and many leave markers for other students to write on their board with.

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Scripps Students, Faculty: Protest Madeleine Albright Because She is a ‘White Feminist’

Recently, the Office of the President at Scripps College sent out an email informing the student body that former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will be the commencement speaker this spring. “We proudly welcome Dr. Albright to Scripps College and eagerly anticipate a glimpse of the person ‘behind the position’ in her history-making role as America’s first female Secretary of State.”

Several students were upset by the decision to invite Dr. Albright to speak at graduation. An article in The Student Life (TSL) described Albright as a “white feminist and repeated genocide enabler” because she removed UN peacekeepers and U.S. troops from Rwanda and supported military intervention in the Balkans.

Many other students were concerned by the fact that Albright is white, and expressed their sentiments on social media. “2012 and like 2008 appeared to be people of color. but also SO MANY white women,” a student stated.

“*Just out of curiosity* does anyone know how many POC we’ve had as guest commencement speakers at Scripps? 2…3?” asked another student. “real question. real problem,” responded a student who previously stated that she was “fulfilling life dreams” when she saw white feminist Nancy Pelosi speak at Scripps in February.

One student even called for a protest of the event. “With Madeline [sic] Albright being our commencement speaker (and a war criminal and a white feminist) I know some of our professors are refusing to be on stage. I was wondering if any of the students were planning a protest or perhaps some sort of show of disagreement with Albright and what she stands for?”

Not all students were angry that Albright was invited to give the commencement speech. “Having the opportunity to listen to Madeleine Albright speak during commencement is something graduating students, and Scripps students in general, should be appreciative of,” Olivia Wu (SC ’19) told the Claremont Independent. “Seeing negative reactions about her visit just because of her race is honestly ridiculous when considering her achievements.”

Scripps students did not appear to protest when Angela Davis, a leader of the Communist Party USA and member of the Black Panther Party—who was on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list for murder and kidnapping—spoke on campus earlier this year. The event, titled “Radical Acts: A Conversation with Angela Davis” described Davis as “a one-time Communist party candidate and champion for prison reform” who is “an outspoken advocate for the oppressed and exploited, writing on black liberation, prison abolition, the intersections of race, gender, and class, and international solidarity with Palestine.”

Scripps’ commencement will take place at the Elm Tree Lawn on Saturday, May 14.

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Scripps Students Demand Required Anti-Oppression Training “To Ensure their Unlearning Process is Continuous”

Yesterday, students from Scripps College issued a list of demands to the school administration. “As a collective of students who recognize movements here, and globally, we are calling upon increased action to combat institutional racism and oppression,” the students write. “Together, we have written the following list of proposed actions with the faith that our institution, Scripps College, will honor its commitment to institutional change that centers diversity and inclusivity.”

We Demand: The appointment of a Vice President of Institutional Diversity who will supervise and assess the diversity and inclusion efforts in all Staff, Faculty, Administration, and Student realms of the college,” the list begins. “We demand that students are able to help shape what this position will include, as well as be voting members on the hiring committee. We demand that the Board of Trustees Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion become a standing committee.” The students feel that the creation of this position “is one of the first steps in establishing an institution of checks and balances and accountability for the college on issues of diversity and inclusion.”

The students also demand that the Sustained Dialogues Initiative end. “Sustained Dialogue Campus Network methods solely depend on utilizing marginalized student experience to catalyze discussions even at the risk of retraumatizing minority participants,” they write. “In addition to this, in trainings focused on gaining facilitation skills, all participants are certified as discussion facilitators despite having openly proven themselves to be complicit in racism, classism, ableism and other modes of oppression. This indiscriminate certification process is just one example of the ways that Sustained Dialogues fails to protect, support, and center students of color.”

Further, the list calls for “mandatory Anti-Oppression Trainings” for faculty, staff, and students. The students propose that their classmates should not be able to register for classes each semester unless they attend anti-oppression training “to ensure their unlearning process is continuous.”

“Frameworks of the occasional, optional trainings offered to faculty, administration, staff and students to promote inclusion are not focused on explicitly naming and addressing facets of oppression and the intersections between them (including, but not limited to: racism, classism, ableism, homophobia etc),” the students state. “Scripps has a history of using its seemingly ‘progressive and paradisiacal’ nature to avoid addressing, naming, and putting systems in place so that our community can begin to explicitly unlearn the ways in which we are complicit in structural and interpersonal violence.”

Additionally, the list of demands includes a request for modifications to Scripps’ CORE curriculum. “CORE 1 has continually failed to aptly educate Scripps students on the topics of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender,” the students write. “Students should be learning about modern manifestations of systemic violence including but not limited to: gentrification, police brutality, military industrial complex, xenophobia, immigration, prison industrial complex, food deserts, and sexual assault on college campuses.”

The students also demand “the hiring of an on-campus therapist experienced in healing and processing racial based trauma,” as well as “A policy of accommodations for students that experience racial-based trauma, equal to accommodations given to disabled students.”

“Racially traumatized students are put in unsafe spaces,” the students write. “Institutional racialized violence creates no room for students to have healing time for their race-based trauma. These students are forced to encounter the same perpetrators and discriminators—who may be fellow peers, faculty, and administration—thus retraumatizing these students as they are in hostile environments (ie. residential halls, classrooms, dining commons).”

The list also calls for “the removal of SAT/ACT/Standardized Testing from the admissions process” because “SATs/ACTs are strongly biased against low-income students and students of color, at a time when diversity is critical to our mission statement and campus climate.” The students state, “Removing the SAT/ACT requirement for admission makes Scripps more accessible to populations who would otherwise be isolated from applying.”

In addition, the students demand “The establishment of an intercollegiate department for Indigenous Studies and Disability Studies, respectively.” The students note, “Course curriculum that reflects diverse lived experiences is important in boosting retention rates and creating individuals with inclusive excellence.”

The students also call for “increased scholarship and support” for illegal immigrants due to the fact that “California has one of the largest undocumented populations and Scripps should be responsive to the demands in the immediate geographical community by supporting undocumented/DACAmented students pursuing higher education.”

“Every other college in the consortium has at least one undocumented/DACAmented student and have explicit policies for admitting undocumented/DACAmented students,” the students write. “Scripps should follow suit and implement an official policy to ensure that undocumented/DACAmented students are able to attend and succeed at Scripps to resist subjugation for people who cannot obtain legal citizenship.”

The list of demands closes with a call for the abolishment of the 7C Demonstration policy. “We Demand: A repeal of the 7C Demonstration policy in all of its forms and a statement that acknowledges the institutional violence of endorsing the policy at all,” the students write. “Demonstrations are by nature disruptive, so these policies discourage students from protesting at all with the threat of both police force and academic consequences. When considering which students are more likely to protest or need to protest, these policies disproportionately target students of color and marginalized students.”

Scripps Associated Students (SAS) will hold an open forum to discuss these demands at the Motley on December 1.