Will other Claremont colleges defend free speech?

In April, approximately 170 people marched to Claremont McKenna’s Athenaeum, disassembled a fence newly built to restrain protests, and blocked the entrances. Claremont’s security officers failed to control the crowd. Consequently, Heather Mac Donald, scheduled to address a live audience regarding her book The War on Cops, was forced to speak to a camera instead.

Last month, Claremont McKenna punished seven of the violent protesters. Apparently, this represented a majority of the Claremont McKenna students who were identified as participating in the protest and all who violated college policy (or so the college says).

We noted, however, that some members of the mob attend other colleges within the Claremont consortium. Claremont McKenna referred evidence of these students’ misbehavior to their respective deans. It is up to these colleges to discipline their student protesters to the extent that their behavior crossed the line.

Will they? Rachelle Peterson of the National Association of Scholars (NAS) asked them. She reports:

Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps are currently looking at evidence of potential student policy violations. Harvey Mudd College will review the evidence in the fall, when classes resume.

Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute. . .believe none of their students participated in the protests against Mac Donald.

Peterson says her organization will be watching. So will we. The colleges responses will speak volumes about their respect for and commitment to free speech.

In the meantime, we need not be entirely passive. If you are an alumnus of any of the four institutions in question, it’s not a bad idea to write to the college presidents and the deans who will be overseeing the investigations to express your concern. If you know alumni of these institutions, it’s not a bad idea to alert them to the situation.

Here are the relevant email addresses:

Harvey Mudd College:

Maria Klawe, President, [email protected]
Jon Jacobson, Dean of Students, [email protected]

Pitzer College:

Melvin L. Oliver, President, [email protected]
Brian Carlisle, Vice President for Student Affairs, [email protected]

Pomona College:

G. Gabrielle Starr, President, [email protected]
Miriam Feldblum, Dean of Students, [email protected]

Scripps College:

Lara Tiedens, President, [email protected]
Charlotte H. Johnson, Dean of Students, [email protected]

Some of our Dartmouth readers may recognize Charlotte Johnson’s name from her time in Hanover. Like many college administrators, she’s not absolutely opposed to doing the right thing when pressure is brought to bear.

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