Only a day after the College Fix uncovered tweets from the newly-appointed director of the Claremont Colleges’ LGBTQ center announcing his wariness “of white gays and well meaning white women” and accusing police officers of “servic[ing] and protect[ing] white supremacy,” a dean at Pomona College announced that the college plans to launch a search for a new director.
Back in June, the college first announced the appointment of Dr. Jonathan Higgins, the subject of the present controversy, as the new director of the Queer Resource Center of the Claremont Colleges. At the time, a dean highlighted his experience as a “motivational speaker dedicated to empowering all LGBTQ students with an emphasis on students of color.”
But as early as last year, Higgins had been posting a number of controversial tweets on his public Twitter account. In December 2016, he wrote that “police are meant to service and protect white supremacy.” Asked in April to identify whom he is “automatically wary of/keep at a distance because of [his] past experiences,” Higgins answered: “White gays and well meaning white women.”
Following coverage from the College Fix and the Claremont Independent on his controversial statements, Dean Jan Collins-Eaglin, the Pomona College dean who had originally shared the news of Dr. Higgins’s appointment, announced that the college would be seeking a new QRC director in an email sent to all students on Saturday afternoon. The body of this email is quoted below:
“I am writing today to let you know that we have reopened the national search for the Director of the Queer Resource Center. Our priorities for the QRC remain the same – to maintain in a seamless fashion the robust services of the Center, including its ability to provide direct support to students, expertise in workshops and trainings, and an inclusive space focused on student success and support, with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and community.
The new search will begin as soon as possible and constituents from across the colleges will participate in the search process.
In the next few weeks we will work to appoint interim leadership to lead the QRC, support the staff, and help support our student community while the national search is underway. Al Forbes, who was recently appointed as Assistant Director of the QRC, will continue in that role, and I will be working closely to assist him during this period. In addition, Student Dean’s offices across The Claremont Colleges are committed to supporting the QRC, its student staff, and the broader LGBTQIA community during this upcoming period.
Supporting students is our first priority. We will work with purpose and as quickly as possible to meet the important needs of our community.”