CMC Students Who Blockaded Mac Donald Talk May Soon Face Sanctions


A group of kids links arms and yells
Students protesting Heather Mac Donald’s pro-police talk block the entrance to the Athenaeum on April 6. (Alexander Landau • The Student Life)

Claremont McKenna College students who blocked entrances to the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum when conservative commentator Heather Mac Donald spoke against Black Lives Matter on April 6 may face sanctions in the coming weeks, according to a statement from Joann Young, CMC’s director of media relations.

At the time, CMC President Hiram Chodosh told the community that students who violated campus policy prohibiting blocking access to buildings would be “held accountable,” and Chodosh appears to be following through with his warning.

“We have begun the conduct review process with individual CMC students, who will be afforded a full, fair, and impartial process before the determination of findings, sanctions, and appeals,” the statement read. “Over the course of the next few weeks, students who are found responsible for violations of College policy will face sanctions appropriate to the severity of the violation.”

The statement adds that “to ensure a fair process that protects the interests of our students, while complying with our policies and [the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act], we cannot disclose any additional information about an ongoing process.” According to CMC’s website, possible sanctions include fines, withheld diplomas, suspension, and expulsion.

In a May 4 open letter addressed to CMC administrators and trustees, nearly 900 students, faculty, and alumni from the Claremont Colleges and elsewhere decried what they called the “criminalization” of CMC student protesters. The letter claims CMC students have been threatened with supension and expulsion, and may not be allowed to walk at graduation.

“For low-income and first-generation students, graduation is a culminatory moment that should not be revoked,” they wrote. “On campuses where students of color already feel unsafe, it is distressing that these institutions resort to punitive measures to resolve issues resulting from their own negligence. These are acts of violence, and if advanced, would severely harm the survival of these students, particularly those of whom are graduating this coming week.”

Correction — May 7, 2017 at 2:03 p.m. PST

An earlier version of this article overgeneralized the signatories of the open letter to Claremont McKenna College administors and trustees. The 900 students, faculty, and alumni who signed the letter include members of the broader 5C community and the general public, not just the CMC community.

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