CGU, CMC, KGI, Pomona, Scripps, Pitzer issue statements condemning Capitol riot

A large white building with a sign that reads KGI
Keck Graduate Institute, along with Claremont Graduate University, Claremont McKenna College and Pomona College presidents condemned the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in messages to their students.

Presidents of Claremont Graduate University, Claremont McKenna College, Keck Graduate Institute, Pomona College, Scripps College and Pitzer College condemned the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol via emails sent to students Thursday.

CGU, in response, extended its spring 2021 class registration deadline to Jan. 13, and its Dean of Students Office outlined available academic, counseling and health services in a separate email to students.

“It has been a tumultuous time, and everyone is tired and frayed,” CGU President Len Jessup and Provost Patricia Easton said via email of the decision to extend the deadline.

Jessup and Easton expressed their desire to “join the chorus of voices across America and the world in condemning yesterday’s assault on the peaceful transition of power,” and called the counting of electoral votes “a proud moment.”

The two described the partisan disagreements during yesterday’s counting of the electoral votes before and after the riot as “passionate differences of opinion, [with] legitimate points and counterpoints raised on all sides, and some fiery exchanges.”

The Trump campaign filed 62 lawsuits since the election, losing all but one. Former Attorney General William Barr said in December that the Justice Department uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.

Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., a former CGU student, condemned his colleagues who wished to discard votes cast in the presidential election. 

“You have some senators who … were giving false hope to their supporters, misleading them into thinking that somehow yesterday’s actions in Congress could reverse the results of the election, ” Cotton said. “… That was never going to happen. Yet these senators, as insurrectionists literally stormed the Capitol, were sending out fundraising emails. That shouldn’t have happened, and it’s got to stop now.”

CMC President Hiram Chodosh also sent students an email condemning the events, calling on the CMC community to “reinforce our commitments to democracy, regardless of our political differences.” 

Chodosh asked the community to “absorb, study, reflect, [and] respond” in the weeks that follow to better understand the causes and consequences of the attack.

Pomona President G. Gabrielle Starr criticized the violence in the nation’s capital in an email to Pomona students Thursday, calling on students to “seek truth, to limit harm and to bear in trust all that we have been given for those who come after us.”

“Democracy is on a ventilator when people calling themselves patriots tear into the U.S. Capitol, waving white supremacist flags alongside the flag of this nation, vandalizing offices, reveling in the heady passions of riot, seeking to overturn an election in which more than 159 million Americans cast their votes,” Starr said.

KGI President Sheldon Schuster called the attack a “violent attempt to undermine our democracy” that was “inappropriate, unacceptable and unpatriotic” in a statement and email to students Thursday.

“Within our KGI family and our local communities, we must continue to be open to dialogue and hearing other points of view. At the same time, we must not tolerate unlawful, disrespectful, or violent behavior.”

Scripps President Lara Tiedens said the attack was a “stark discrepancy between law enforcement’s response to the insurrection and violence at the Capitol and their response to this summer’s peaceful protests against systemic racism and inequity.”

“In the educational spirit that lies at the center of Scripps’ mission, we must examine the factors that brought us to this moment in history and challenge each other to find constructive ways to move forward,” she said.

Pitzer President Melvin Oliver condemned what he called “a painful and regrettable stain on our history, and a reminder of the fragility of our democracy and indeed, our future.” 

“[We] condemn the bullying, intimidation, prejudice, and violence that we witnessed yesterday. We are united by our core values that are tied to truth and learning, and based on a commitment to civil, respectful discourse and ethical action,” Oliver said. “…It is imperative that we live these values as we reflect on recent events in this country.”

Charlotte Johnson, dean of students and vice president of student affairs of Scripps College, sent an email to students with a reminder of resources available, such as 7C Health and Scripps students’ primary contact deans.

Anna Gonzalez, dean of students and vice president of student affairs of Harvey Mudd College, sent an email to students encouraging those in need to access 7C Health, HMC’s Division of Student Affairs and its Office of Health and Wellness and Office of Institutional Diversity.

Chris Murdy and Yasmin Elqutami contributed reporting. 

This article was last updated on January 7, 2020 at 8:30 p.m.

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