This week has seen a tremendous amount of student action at the Claremont Colleges in reaction to events both inside the 5Cs and within the larger nation. But how did the administration of each of the five undergraduate colleges respond, and what promises did they make in the light of these events?
Claremont McKenna College
President Hiram Chodosh wrote in an email on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 10, that he was upset by “the recent Facebook post of two students trading in ethnic stereotypes for Halloween and the compounded error of our own responses.” Chodosh wrote that the incident “reflects deeper, persistently troubling conditions in the world around us and in our own community. And I feel personal disappointment in and sorrow for not being able to do more and to do it more quickly and publicly.” As announced in this email, Chodosh invited students to a “sit-in” in his office the same day, Nov. 10, at 5:30 p.m. The email then announced that it is a “time for action” and that the college, based on the recommendations of college's personal and social responsibliity committee on climate chaired by Dean of the Faculty Peter Uvin, will continue “to improve and grow our staff support and expertise, to intensify our public programs and implement our planned Day of Dialogue, to work closely with the faculty, and to invest even more in direct student support.”
Harvey Mudd College
President Maria Klawe sent an email to the student body on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 12, acknowledging the concerns of students and expressing her concern “over the systemic and specific injustices faced by students of color at colleges and universities across the country.” Klawe emphasized the college's goal to “foster an inclusive community” and encouraged students who need support to contact specific administrators as well as Klawe. The email also announced that the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID) will be holding an open forum today, Nov. 13, from 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. in the Green Room where the OID staff will “facilitate dialogue to talk through what's happening nationally and locally, provide space for people to express what they are feeling and thinking, and offer support and resources.”
Interim President Thomas Poon emailed students, faculty, and staff that he wanted to respond not “to one particular event but to address the collective frustrations and lessons not learned that have faced us both nationally and locally.” Poon wrote that in response to what he has witnessed so far during his tenure in the president's office, he has decided to create the position of Title IX Coordinator/Chief Diversity Officer to “begin as soon as possible.” The current Title IX Coordinator Marni Bobich, who is also the Human Resources Director, will draft the position description and “the Diversity Committee of the College will work with other interested parties to refine the job description and then establish a committee to conduct the search.”
President David Oxtoby sent an email to the student body on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 11, writing that recent events at colleges across the nation highlighting racism on college campuses “hit close to home and impact the entire Pomona College community, especially students of color.” Promising continued commitment to increased diversity, Oxtoby invited students to a discussion with the members of the President's Advisory Committee on Diversity on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 9 p.m. Oxtoby will also hold office hours today, Nov. 13, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in Alexander Hall.
Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum followed up with an email on Thursday, Nov. 12, when she forwarded to the student body an email that Professor April Mayes and she had sent to the Pomona faculty. In it, they wrote that not only is this a “particularly stressful time of the year,” but that national and local events such as the protests on college campuses including CMC can affect students' well being. Feldblum and Mayes encouraged faculty to be aware and to consider providing accommodations and assistance. The email also announced that the Black Out student march would take place that day.
Interim President Amy Marcus-Newhall emailed the student body that adminsitrators will be holding extended office hours in response to “recent dialogue about the culturally inappropriate costumes worn this past weekend and the recent events at CMC.” Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson held extended office hours Thursday, Nov. 12. Johnson and Vice President Denise Nelson Nash are also working to obtain educational materials from Rhonda Fitzgerald of Sustained Dialogues, an institution that, according to its website, “helps people to transform conflictual relationships and design change processes around the world,” which will be made available to the Scripps community. Marcus-Newhall will also hold office hours today, Nov. 13, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.