CMC Students Launch Advocates Group

Claremont McKenna College has become the fourth of the Claremont Colleges to see the establishment of an Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault group on its campus, following Pomona College, where an Advocates group has existed for roughly a decade, and Scripps College and Pitzer College, where groups were established this school year.  

Clancy Tripp CM ’16 founded the group, which is still in its initial stages. Tripp, a survivor herself, wrote in an email to TSL that her experience was part of her motivation to start the group.

“I think CMC—like most other colleges—is not doing enough to
address sexual assault and sexual violence,” Tripp wrote. “I wanted to do whatever I could to
make sure that our campus is supportive of survivors.”

The CMC Advocates plan to provide a hotline for survivors and
students seeking support. In addition, they plan to educate new CMC students about consent
during orientation. The Advocates will also help survivors navigate CMC’s sexual assault reporting procedures. 

“If students need help working with the administration to report
an incident, we hope to educate on legal matters and support that student through
his/her journey,” Tripp wrote.

CMC Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator Mary Spellman said that she would be
meeting with the Advocates soon but declined to comment further. 

Willa Hevly PO ’16, a member of the Pomona Advocates, wrote in a message to TSL that the Pomona, Scripps, and CMC groups have had limited communication with each other “due to the different stages they’re all at, but we hope to collaborate
more in the future.”  

The CMC Advocates are “really going to be inspired by
Scripps’ chapter,” said Elaine Sohng CM ’17, dormitory affairs chair of the
Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) and a member of the CMC
Advocates. “CMC and Scripps have a really strong relationship.”

Sohng said that there are separate Advocates groups instead of a single 5C group because of the differences between the five Claremont
Colleges. However, both Sohng and Tripp said that the CMC Advocates could become
a valuable resource for all of the 5Cs.

“CMC has a really unique personality,” Sohng said. “CMC also has
an extra social responsibility because we have so many events thrown. I’m an
event planner through ASCMC and so I know that with increasing attendance,
sexual assault has become something that we’re really concerned about.”

Tripp launched a Change.org petition supporting
the creation of the group on April 22. The petition had just over 550 signatures when TSL went to press. 

“The petition is simply a way for students to show their support
for the initiative,” Tripp wrote. “The Dean of Students Office has been nothing
but supportive and wonderful and we have already set up meetings to work with
them.”

To raise awareness about the group’s mission, Tripp and other Advocates set up a table April 28-29 at lunchtime outside Collins Dining Hall where students could fill out a poster reading “CMC needs consent culture because…” Students filled in statements ranging from “Everyone deserves respect” to “Too many feel the need to be silent” and “Do we need a reason?” A third installment of the event will be held today, May 2.

The Advocates hope to receive funding from the CMC administration and from ASCMC. Tripp estimated that the group will initially require between
$8,000 and $10,000. The funds would be used for the creation of a hotline, student training, and event programming.

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