7C Students Draft Response to Demonstration Policy

The 7C Student Demonstration Policy Review Committee (DPRC) will meet with the Student Deans Council (SDC) Friday, Apr. 8, to discuss a recent, student-drafted revision to the demonstration policy.

In fall 2015, the Oct. 6 revision of the demonstration policy caused significant student backlash due to a lack of student input on the decision. Many students also thought the revisions were unnecessarily harsh and unfairly directed towards the Black Lives Matter protests in May 2015.

In the wake of an ASPC student resolution passed on Nov. 2 in support of student demonstration rights, the SDC has been making efforts to include student input in their revision of the widely-criticized policy. 

As promised in November, the DPRC was formed in December, with two student members from each of the seven campuses. 

Samuel Breslow PO '18, a member of the DPRC, said, “The SDC’s mandate to us instructed us to collect and synthesize student feedback about the policy. However, I see our role as larger than that—we want to not just communicate student perspectives to the SDC, but also to advocate for them and to ensure, to the best of our ability, that they end up well-represented in the new policy.” 

However, in an email to the Pomona College student body on Mar. 29, Breslow and Brittany Hughes PO ’16 expressed their disappointment at how “unreceptive” the SDC was towards the idea of integrating the review process, telling them that “it was too late to change anything.”  

According to Pomona Acting Dean of Students Jan Collins-Eaglin, a member of the SDC, “the original charge was that the students could have their committee and that that committee would provide input to the student deans because the whole process is to get input to the presidents.”

“The process wasn't designed to have interaction with the students,” Collins-Eaglin said. “In other words, it wasn’t designed so that student deans meet with the students.”

Since then, the DPRC have taken up the task of creating their own, student-written revision to the demonstration policy, and, according to Breslow, have met with legal experts in the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to discuss their proposal.  

After the DPRC’s submission of the new draft in March, the SDC charged the student committee with the synthesis of a consortium-wide student feedback report to accompany the draft.

A setback cited by the SDC in the process is the lack of student feedback. According to Scripps College Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson, a member of the SDC, “I can only speak for the process from the SDC perspective and would say that [it has been a challenge to collect] feedback from a wide swath of the student community,” wrote Scripps College Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson, a member of the SDC, in an email to TSL. “The response rate from students has been lower than we hoped.”

During this Friday’s meeting, the SDC plans to meet with students to discuss the student-created draft along with the feedback report the DPRC submitted on Mar. 24.

According to Collins-Eaglin, another item on the SDC meeting agenda is a discussion of the creation of a broader committee including both students and faculty. There currently aren’t any faculty committees in place to address the issue.

“During [the student] meetings with the SDC so far, they have not been overly receptive to our efforts to transcend the confining role they attempted to impose on us in our mandate,” Breslow said. “We've only had a few meetings with so far, though; it'll be hard to tell how receptive they are to our input until the later stages of the policy drafting, at which point we'll see how many of our suggestions they decide to incorporate into the new policy.”

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