‘Snapping’ Masks Issues Worth Discussing

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, The Student Life would like to offer a response to those who were confused, upset, or frustrated by last week’s ‘snapping’ article. As this Editorial Board explained last week, we are trying to build a dialogue, and sometimes that means taking risks.

First, there is a history of tension in RHS training at Pomona that we felt warranted a follow-up, and, furthermore, it is a history of such discomfort that we felt it had ramifications for students outside of the RHS and Pomona community.

Three years ago, RAs and sponsors at Pomona were trained separately. This was changed after a conflict emerged that year between the two groups following presentations on race similar to those which spawned controversy during this year’s training. Similar to this year, meetings were held between the two groups to come to some kind of understanding, but little progress was made and the issue was never resolved. We published last week’s article because we felt this years-long discussion deserved to be reopened.

This brings us to a second issue raised by last week’s article: sensationalism. Snapping may on the surface seem to be a minor issue, and we regret any unnecessary dramatization that our front-page publication of the story caused. But for many of the RAs and sponsors involved, the issue was a real one, as our article last week made clear. As trivial as the snapping meetings may seem to those who were not involved, RAs and sponsors constitute a significant population of the Pomona community, and the primary job of the newspaper is to inform the student body of issues that affect students.

Furthermore, considering the role snapping played in RHS training (nearly “unravelling” the whole thing, according to Dean of Campus Life Ric Townes), it is worth reflecting on any issues that might be at the heart of the conflict. With that in mind, this Editorial Board begs the question: could it be that some students at the 5Cs do in fact feel excluded from the broader Pomona and 5C community? Could it be that forms of prejudice and oppression do exist at the 5Cs, and that we as a community ignore them either out of ignorance or an unwillingness to listen?

The Student Life cannot say for certain that this is the case, but we can implore our readers to be aware of the possibility. As a newspaper, it is our job to inform the community of issues on campus and to provide a forum for those issues to be discussed. ‘Snapping’, though a trivial topic in its own right, is a microcosm for the racial discomfort—if not divide—that has existed at Pomona and the 5Cs for years and that this community and perhaps all of America seem unable to overcome. However, as students of the Claremont Bubble, we operate in a unique context, where, if we have the courage and patience, we can face these issues head-on without the distorting influence of America’s long racial history.

But in order for this discussion to take place, all perspectives must be heard. And on this front, TSL apologizes for any perceived bias exhibited in last week’s article. However, we cannot force students to give us their perspectives. We offer you the forum to have your voice heard; you must be the one to use it.

We hope you will.

Please direct letters and inquiries to editor@tsl.pomona.edu.

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