As of today, Claremont McKenna College is still in the process of conducting what is now an almost month-long investigation of the alleged bias-related confrontation between members of Students for Justice in Palestine and CMC professor Yaron Raviv. Repeated requests TSL made for comment by the professor, the school’s Office of Public Affairs, and a range of CMC administrators over the past several weeks have resulted in a blanket refusal to comment and excuses that the investigation is yet ongoing.
This editorial board would like to draw attention to the unnecessarily extensive length of this investigation. Due to the limited number of witnesses and persons involved in the incident itself—a Campus Safety officer, a handful of students who were involved in the street theater action, the professor, and at most a couple others—it is puzzling that there has still been no conclusion offered to the many students and other community members at CMC and the other colleges who are deeply concerned about the alleged incident.
While we recognize the sensitive nature of the situation and the attention the administration must devote to assessing the incident and determining what actions should be taken, a lack of forthrightness with the 5C student body and the lengthy investigation give the impression that the school is not giving due credence to the incident and the concerns it raises. If the school is investigating the incident based on accounts from students, Campus Safety, and the professor, the investigation need not have continued for a month. If the school has found more information that is applicable to the investigation that has prolonged the inquiry, students must be kept aware of this as well.
This incident drew attention from individuals representing all of the 5Cs, and CMC’s disregard for the importance of their decision downplays the significance of the altercation to those alleging the bias-related incident. CMC has instead focused on an unnecessary facet of protest protocol, belittling efforts of students to protect their right to assemble and to exercise free speech.
While this editorial board commends CMC for undertaking the investigation, we urge the administration to maintain neutrality and conduct the investigation as swiftly as possible in order to bring information and some degree of closure to the student bodies and faculties on all of the campuses. A memo e-mailed to CMC students March 15 by CMC President Pamela Gann read, “Published student media reports about the incident raise concerns about the appropriateness of the CMC faculty member’s alleged statements. At the same time, it is important to emphasize that these reports do not reflect the faculty member’s response to these allegations, and that factual questions have been raised about whether aspects of the SJP event adhered to the College’s Demonstration Policies.”
If the parties responding to the allegation indeed wish to ensure that their responses are heard in student media reports and communicated directly to the affected student bodies, CMC should provide students with a more concrete comment or reply.