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SJP Denounces Ongoing Investigation; Complaint Names Professor

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In a written grievance submitted to the Claremont McKenna College (CMC)_x000D_
and Pitzer College deans early this morning, Students for Justice in Palestine_x000D_
(SJP) member Najib Hamideh PZ ’15 identified CMC Associate Professor of_x000D_
Economics Yaron Raviv as the person who allegedly made insulting and explicit_x000D_
remarks to Hamideh on March 4 while SJP was acting out a mock Israeli checkpoint_x000D_
outside Collins Dining Hall.

Hamideh’s_x000D_
statement accuses Raviv of violating two CMC college policies as stated in the_x000D_
college’s Faculty Handbook: section 4.2, which maintains that “professors_x000D_
encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students … [and] hold before them_x000D_
the best scholarly and ethical standards,” and section 10.6.2, which states, “It is the policy of Claremont McKenna College_x000D_
to maintain an environment for_x000D_
students, faculty, and staff that is free of sexual, racial and other unlawful_x000D_
harassment … Retaliation against a person who properly reports, complains about,_x000D_
or participates in the investigation of such harassment is likewise prohibited.”

Raviv_x000D_
declined to comment for this story.

CMC_x000D_
and Pitzer are now in their fifth day of a joint investigation of the_x000D_
altercation. But SJP submitted a separate statement this morning asserting its_x000D_
concern that the investigation thus far has questioned SJP students to_x000D_
determine whether they were breaking CMC’s Policy on Demonstrations without a_x000D_
formal complaint on which to base such an investigation.

“The_x000D_
administration has been conflating an investigation of the club event with an_x000D_
investigation of the hate speech espoused by a Claremont McKenna College_x000D_
professor by conjoining the two investigations and being unclear about the_x000D_
expected processes of both,” the statement reads. The statement specifically_x000D_
references “CMC’s investigation,” though according to SJP member Lily Lousada_x000D_
PZ ’14, who was questioned in the investigation, Pitzer Vice President for_x000D_
Student Affairs Jim Marchant also participated in her questioning.

Marchant,_x000D_
CMC Dean of Students Mary Spellman, Pitzer Dean of Students Moya Carter, and_x000D_
CMC Associate Vice President for Public Affairs Max Benavidez declined to_x000D_
comment for this story, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The_x000D_
SJP statement claims that by questioning the participants’ obedience of college_x000D_
policy in their performance outside Collins, the college_x000D_
could be “retaliating against us for reporting the racial harassment, which in_x000D_
itself would be a violation of its own harassment policy which prohibits_x000D_
retaliation for reporting harassment.”

The_x000D_
statement continues, “We are demanding that the administration either end the_x000D_
investigation of SJP effective immediately or lodge an official complaint so_x000D_
that procedural rights can be upheld. If there are any concerns about the club_x000D_
event, we demand that you file specific grievances and reports per_x000D_
administrative protocol.”

An_x000D_
e-mail sent last Sunday to the Pitzer student body from the Pitzer Faculty Executive Committee expressed similar concerns. “We think it is unfortunate that the_x000D_
initial, public communications about this issue were focused on potential_x000D_
demonstration policy violations – we reassert that the right to peaceful_x000D_
demonstrations is an integral piece of an open, intellectually vigorous,_x000D_
college community,” the e-mail states. “We would also like to reaffirm that at_x000D_
the heart of any vibrant college community are the principles of free speech,_x000D_
peaceful assembly, and protection from verbal assault and harassment.”

The_x000D_
concerns arose after a joint e-mail from both colleges’ administrations last_x000D_
Thursday stated, “CMC and Pitzer are jointly investigating this matter to_x000D_
determine what occurred and whether the Policy on Demonstrations was_x000D_
followed.”

Last Friday, Marchant sent a follow-up e-mail to the Pitzer student body that_x000D_
stated, “While an investigation is underway, it has been determined that the_x000D_
group informed Campus Safety of their intentions prior to the events on [March 4],_x000D_
and also completed an event registration form at CMC that was approved.” Marchant indicated that the investigation would be concluded by this past week, but no update on the progress of the investigation has been released.

Campus_x000D_
Safety officer Mario Trinidad, who was on duty and present during the March 4 exchange, filed an incident report that described the altercation but did_x000D_
not identify the names of either party involved.

“I_x000D_
arrived at 1738 hours and noticed the performers standing near the doorway of_x000D_
Collins Dinning [sic] … As I walked towards the group a male adult approached_x000D_
me and stated he did not want the demonstrators blocking the entrance to the_x000D_
dining hall,” Trinidad wrote in the incident report. “At this time a white_x000D_
male, a member of the performance group, approached the male adult and asked_x000D_
him for identification and who he was. The male identified himself as a_x000D_
professor and told the white male to ‘fuck off.’ The performer replied[,]_x000D_
‘[W]hat did you say?’ and followed up by asking, ‘Do you have permission to be_x000D_
on campus?’ The professor quickly flashed his CMC identification card and told the_x000D_
white male that he was a cockroach and to mind his own business. The professor_x000D_
then left the area. The performer was angry but in control of his emotions.”

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