Not What We Want, What We Need

some clarification: We are not against the progress or growth of Scripps College.
Our work stems from a deep love for our college and the fact that we are angry, and mobilizing reflects our concern with the current direction of the “We
Want More” campaign. We acknowledge that fundraising is essential for
growth. Instead, we question the lack of community input and transparency involved.

The Feb. 17 protest at the Revelle House has raised some questions and
misunderstandings. We’ve heard accusations that we are some sort of “We Hate
Scripps” organization, or that we’re “internalizing patriarchy” by critiquing
Scripps’ push for advancement. 

However, these statements misconstrue our
position. We don’t think that Scripps should not ask for or demand more. In fact, we believe that at Scripps, we need more. Yes, we need more resources,
better facilities, and stronger programs. But we also need more student voices
to be heard in decision-making. At Scripps, students are given opportunities to
provide feedback, participate in committees, and speak with those in power.
We are allowed to talk—but we aren’t always heard.

The selection process for the founding director
of the LASPA Center for Leadership, a keystone of the “We Want More” campaign, revealed that the Scripps administration feels comfortable discarding the voices of not only students, but also faculty members, staff members, and alumnae.
Many community members who had met with the candidates and provided input advocated
heavily for Margo Okazawa-Rey to be the founding director, due to her extensive academic experience, ongoing support of the Claremont Colleges, and history of community empowerment and anti-violence work. As a woman of
color, she connected with the diversity of identities and experiences of
students at Scripps.

addition, she brought in alternative models of leadership while recognizing
more traditional models, such as leadership in the corporate world. We hoped that as founding director, she would bridge the constructed binary
between social justice and the corporate world, which are often mistakenly seen
as mutually exclusive. 

At Scripps, we’re always told that we don’t have to
choose, and this vision of the LASPA Center was a hopeful incarnation of that
ideal. The rejection of Okazawa-Rey as a candidate reflected Scripps’ rejection of
alternative leadership and of someone who could serve the diverse communities at
our college.

When Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga notified the college that she was restarting the
process, she made it clear that it was her decision to ignore community voices
and discard eight months of work. She left us with more questions than answers.
The reasoning behind her decision was that the LASPA Center’s goals were

However, both candidates had expressed willingness to work with students
to create a shared vision for a leadership center. We acknowledge that not
everyone supported the nomination of Okazawa-Rey, but there was a strong
push from students, faculty members, staff members, and alumnae who participated in the
selection process. Whose voices are more important than those of the Scripps

We are
calling on our fellow Scripps students and their allies to think critically
about how the “We Want More” campaign is shaping the future of Scripps. Here at
Scripps, students are misled by a false sense of democracy. We’re told to
provide feedback and to get involved, but this democratic
participation is a mere facade if those in power can disregard our opinions and needs without

We need more for Scripps; we need more community voices to be
heard, and we need the administration to be more accountable to those it is supposed
to serve. If progress for Scripps means ignoring and silencing the voices
that this college is meant to empower, then what kind of future are we
building, and at what cost?

Scripps Coalition Against More is an advocacy group of Scripps College students working to increase student influence on the future of the college. They can be contacted at 

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