ASCMC resolution to return to pre-pandemic social life sparks controversy

Over 250 students gathered at a Feb. 6 ASCMC Senate meeting to discuss a resolution to “protect social life ” on campus. (Wendy Zhang • The Student Life)

On Feb. 6, students crowded into the Mary Pickford Auditorium for the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) weekly Senate meeting to discuss a resolution proposed by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps student-athlete Austin Andersen CM ’25 on Jan. 23. 

The resolution demands that the Dean of Students Office (DOS) lift “arbitrary and unreasonable” restrictions on Claremont McKenna College’s social life and restore the college’s pre-pandemic party culture.

ASCMC Senate meetings typically have about 20-30 students in attendance. At Monday’s meeting, however, long-time senators and ASCMC officers found themselves ambushed with over 250 attendees due to unprecedented levels of interest around the resolution. 

The resolution highlighted concerns over the lack of 5C parties, the 100 person cap on student-hosted events, the prohibition of the use of event funds to purchase alcohol and the requirement of administrative supervision at events with over 20 students. It was passed almost unanimously at ASCMC’s Jan. 30 Senate meeting. 

Other members of ASMC, however, strongly opposed the resolution but felt outnumbered.

“It was not a representative sample of the student body at all, and was majorly white students and majorly athletes,” ASCMC President Josh Nagra CM ’23 said.

When the resolution passed, students formed a committee devoted to “protecting social life” at CMC, sparking conflict throughout the college. 

Nagra commented that the resolution glorifies CMC’s pre-pandemic party culture. However, according to Agosto Aliaga CM ’24, this is not the resolution’s intention.

“They’re [those against resolution] arguing that we want to return to the fraternizing culture of the school,” Aliaga said. “But I think most of what the committee’s arguments on why they want to regress to the old culture is not for that aspect of it. They just want more frequent parties, and larger parties.”

On Feb. 5, in preparation for turning the resolution over to the student body for voting, the committee released a revised version, which highlighted concerns with substance-free housing, bans on kegs and beer and the 100 person cap on student-hosted events. 

Several students have supported the resolution and claimed that allowing kegs could discourage students from ingesting harder, more dangerous alcohol, as beer is one the lowest alcohol-by-volume drinks.

Some students like Nagra have argued that  increased access to alcohol on campus won’t lead to safer drinking habits overall. 

“The Club Claremont event, where ASCMC served no alcohol, had zero transports, while the Monte Carlo event, where ASCMC served alcohol, had three transports,” Nagra said via email.

Another major goal brought up by the committee was obtaining permission for students to host events with over 100 people. A few committee members expressed concern that party registration and limiting capacity means limiting inclusivity. 

“People should just be able to turn on a speaker and have anyone show up who wants to show up,” Aliaga said. 

Students in favor of the resolution argued that these restrictions force students to take parties off-campus, making them more dangerous and exclusive, and asked the DOS to work with students to “draft new policies that will be more conducive to a fun and vibrant social culture—one that is genuinely inclusive.”

Prompted by the new resolution’s reference to inclusivity, Camille Forte CM ’23 sent an email to over 500 CMC students, urging them to attend the Feb. 6 Senate meeting in an effort to ensure more diverse voices were represented in the conversation.

“Their claim that [the] Senate is inclusive and representative of the whole school is something that I disagree with,” Forte said. “It was quite obvious that the buy-in that this type of resolution elicited was from students that were majority white, majority student athletes.” 

Students opposing the resolution, however, offered a different understanding of the definition of inclusivity.

“I haven’t heard anything that actually helps any of the many identities I hold,” one non-voting senator said during the meeting. “None of these resolutions have anything to do with helping queer people feel safe, helping women feel safe, helping African American people feel safe.” 

After nearly two hours of debate, the meeting was adjourned with 17 senators in favor of adjourning and 12 opposed. Committee members plan on working with the DOS to send the resolution to CMC’s student body for a vote in late March.

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