CMC's Focus on the Party Scene Distracts From Real Issues

Two weekends ago, the police raided a North Quad party at Claremont McKenna College. The administration decided to call it a night when the “gathering of well over 100 people,” armed with “glass bottles of hard alcohol and the projection of loud music,” refused to listen to the residence assistants and Campus Security. Drunken suburban malevolence from raucous alumni didn’t help either.

In the weeks following the Invasion of North Quad, the Rebel Bro Alliance has reignited a longstanding war against Darth Spellman and her Galactic Empire.

After all, what’s more CMC than pushing an RA through a door—amiright?!

In the name of the Founding Fathers—that is, the Class of 2010—brave CMC revolutionaries are standing up to their oppressors, demanding that their God-given right of intoxication without reprobation be respected. 

But all jokes aside: Would any of these outspoken CMCers who have bravely given the finger to the administration and their buddies in blue stand up against anything remotely important—say, real institutional marginalization?

To paraphrase CMC’s guardian angel: My heart and my best intentions tell me it’s entirely possible, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.

For more than half a decade, the campus has raised a fuss over the administration’s party-pooper ways. Nostalgia for the “golden years” has been the topic of innumerable Forum op-eds and Internet comments. Email after email has been sent out by the administration in an attempt to convince us that TNC fences are in our best interest. In 2013, the student body president wrote a five-page memo detailing how “[the] Fall 2012 semester marked a significant decline in the quality of our social scene” and how we just had to create another task force to revive a previous task force to create “a community-wide dialogue between students, faculty, and administrators … about the balances and tensions inherent in CMC’s social policy.” And most recently, Dean Huang and Empress Spellman answered over an hour's worth of questions regarding their decision to call the cops on an obviously unsafe situation.

It’s pretty easy to conclude from all of this that the social scene is CMC’s most pressing issue.

This is embarrassing.

For a student body in which only 11 percent come from low-income households; for a school that only has one full-time Black professor; for a campus that witnessed a student die at the hands of a dangerous drug culture just a year and a half ago, a discussion on how free you are to get wasted is the last thing we should be worried about.

I get it. You’re pissed off. But come on, do we really want to be a school where partying takes precedent over everything else? That in and of itself confirms the ugly stereotype that we tell ourselves is wrong. 

And it’s not like we’re even being reprimanded for our drunken stupidity. Judging from the student reaction, it would seem as if Dean Spellman were going into our fridges and throwing our beers down the sink. We have at least three parties per week, all of which are swamped in alcohol. I’m sorry, but the Interim Guidelines are pretty damn reasonable, especially since they’re rarely enforced. In this respect, we’re probably the envy of every single college in the country. 

Of course they’re not as 'free' as the rules were pre-2009. But CMC has changed for the better in so many ways since then. Specifically, survivors of sexual assault have a much greater support system than ever before. While this reflects a broader community approach to this issue, it's not a coincidence that this type of change is happening as the party scene is being tamed; there is a wider recognition of how potentially dangerous big party culture, aka 'the golden days,' can be. 

And for all the old school alumni out there: We’re not going back to the days where someone’s dad can hire a stripper to perform in Collins. Deal with it.

But even though we’ve come so far, we've still got a ways to go. We are at a historical juncture in which there is so much potential to make long-lasting change. Our president is committed to increasing our financial aid capabilities by $100 million. The 5Cs just received a $1 million grant to increase faculty diversity across the board. Those are the types of issues we should bring attention to, rather than attempting to convince the administration that we are responsible little adults. 

Carlos Ballesteros CM ’16 is a history and sociology double major from Chicago. He plans on radicalizing all of our children once he gets his teacher's certification.