Back in September, we pledged to spend this semester covering local news for the benefit of the local community. Claremont may not make national headlines every week, but the people who live and work here matter to us, so we’re proud to tell the stories that matter to them. Those principles have guided our work for the past three months, and they are worth reaffirming as TSL closes down for Winter Break.
Last week, we published a front-page article by Julia Comnes about the proposal to hold a Thursday Night Club (TNC) party at Claremont McKenna College with the theme “Thanksgiving: Bros, Pilgrims and Navajos.” The proposal was rejected by popular vote, but some students were horrified to see that a theme based on the sexual objectification of indigenous women made it onto the ballot.
The resulting controversy was captured in the online comments section below Julia’s article, which had accumulated almost 100 posts by press time. We are glad to see a lively debate taking place on our website, and we welcome people of all viewpoints to contribute. But we respectfully disagree with those commenters who suggested that the proposed TNC theme was an insignificant joke and that TSL should have ignored it.
We recognize that this proposal was not the type of racial macroaggression that would demand national media attention, and we appreciate that the Claremont Colleges are making an effort to combat racial insensitivity and sexism. (For an example of contemporary bigotry that exceeds the TNC incident, see Catherine Chiang’s article in Opinions, which describes the recent appearance of the sentence “Asian Women are White-Boy Worshipping Sluts” in a University of California, Los Angeles bathroom.) But the emotional pain inflicted on some 5C students—especially Native American women—was real, and the ensuing debate pointed to deep ideological divisions in the Claremont community. Stories like this have important implications for life at the 5Cs, so we stand by our decision to cover them as thoroughly as possible.
As we act out the role of liberal arts campus junior journalists, we realize that our efforts won’t change the course of world history. But campus journalism has the power to influence Claremont history, and that is a high enough aspiration for us.
We look forward to bringing you more local news when we resume publication next year. In the meantime, we leave you with one of those rare exclamation points: Good luck with finals, and happy holidays!