Pitzer College bans Claremont Independent, non-TSL news sources from Haifa vote

Pitzer College banned media outlets other than TSL from attending Pitzer College Council’s vote Thursday on whether to suspend its study abroad program with the University of Haifa in Israel. (Hank Snowdon • The Student Life)

Pitzer College is banning The Los Angeles Times, The Claremont Independent and other news outlets, except TSL, from attending Thursday’s College Council vote on whether Pitzer should suspend its study abroad program to the University of Haifa in Israel, according to Faculty Executive Committee chair Claudia Strauss.

Pitzer will not permit any non-Pitzer members of the media, excluding TSL reporters, to attend the vote, Strauss said. This includes The Independent, a student-run, conservative 5C news outlet.

Pitzer is barring The Independent from the meeting because it is “external media,” according to The Independent. Pitzer student senator Claire Wengrod PZ ’19, who is on Pitzer’s Faculty Executive Committee said via message that The Independent is “not affiliated with the Claremont Colleges,” which is why it was not invited to College Council.

Strauss attributed the limitations on media access to limited space at the meeting and said via email that the FEC has also not allowed Pitzer alumni to attend.

The Independent is a registered club at the 5Cs, as is TSL.

When she was informed that The Independent is a registered club at the 5Cs, Wengrod said “we weren’t aware,” but declined to say if the committee would reconsider its decision.

Strauss said The Independent is privately funded and the FEC considers TSL to be the “official 5C paper.”

The debate over suspending Haifa has embroiled Pitzer and the 5Cs for months, and the situation will come to a head Thursday. The College Council, which will be voting on the motion, consists of both faculty and students.

Earlier this week, Pitzer faculty and administrators restricted the number of student senators allowed to vote, enforcing a seldom-used rule in the faculty handbook. Only 32 of Pitzer Senate’s 48 members will be eligible to participate.

This article was updated March 13 at 8:04 p.m. to add information about Pitzer College’s Faculty Executive Committee not knowing The Claremont Independent was a registered 5C club.

This article was last updated March 14 at 12:37 a.m. to add information provided by FEC Chair Claudia Strauss about additional media outlets and Pitzer alumni being barred from the event.

Marc Rod contributed reporting.

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