Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dean Holmes's History of Threatening Students

Upon rereading the letter Dean Marcelle Holmes sent to David Daleiden and Kyle Kinneberg, I was struck by this sentence: 

"Use and enjoyment of Pomona College's private campus facilities is a privilege, not a right, and that privilege was sorely abused through the intentional conduct you engaged in, designed to disrupt the proceedings, intimidate participants, and chill the free exchange of ideas." 

"Free exchange of ideas"? Dean Holmes is one to talk! 

Last March, I reported how Dean Marcelle Holmes -- the Pomona College Dean of Women -- threatened several Pomona students after a student reported their conversation after they had argued about whether or not the so-called attack on the QRC was actually a bias-related incident or whether it was just harmless fun. Dean Holmes, according to one of the male Pomona students, suggested that the students could understand her needing to talk them -- after all, those students were, in Holmes' words, "identifiable white males," and might make some people feel "uncomfortable." 

Here's what I wrote at the time

At Pomona College, several weeks ago, four students were given a talking to by Marcelle Holmes, Acting Associate Dean of Students and Dean of Women– yes that really is her title – after they had a lunchtime conversation about a supposed attack on the QRC. 

. . . 

In fact, Dean Holmes met with all the students to intimidate them. She, along with a campus safety officer, ambushed one of the students right outside of the dining hall and forced all of them to come in and give their statements.

I asked Dean Holmes for a statement about those statements. No comment. She does not comment on private conversations she has with students.

This March, Dean Marcelle Holmes has threatened two Claremont McKenna schools -- David Daleiden CMC '11 and Kyle Kinneberg CMC '09 -- with a letter that bans them from Pomona College's campus. I quote it's most incendiary part for you here for your viewing. [Emphasis is mine]

"This letter will serve as notice that, from this day forward, you are banned from the entire Pomona College campus. This will be in effect until your anticipated graduation date of May 31, 2011. As such, you are not authorized to visit Pomona, use any of the campus facilities, or identify yourself as having any association with Pomona.  This includes, but is not limited to, dining at any of Pomona's dining facilities, use of Pomona's athletic facilities, or visiting any Pomona student at the Pomona campus. If you are found on Pomona's campus, outside of the times that you are attending an academic class for which you are registered, the Claremont College's [sic] Campus Safety Officer can cite you for trespassing, additional disciplinary charges can be brought against you, and we may contact the Claremont Police Department, if necessary. 

You are prohibited from using, releasing, or in any way disseminating any image you obtained in your filming, including, but not limited to, any voice, video image, or likeness obtained ruing the event. Further, all original and copies of the recording that was made or any products generated from the recording must be surrendered to the Office of Student Affairs at Pomona College by March 6, 2009. Because you are banned from the campus, you may not personally deliver these images. They should be surrendered to Dean Fid Castro, who will deliver them to us. Failure to produce and surrender these images may result in further action from the College.  Please be advised that we hold you accountable for the images obtained during this recording, and if you are no longer in possession of the images produced from this recording, you must arrange for the individuals who do have these images to surrender them. We also understand that the personal emails of individuals in attendance may have been noted by you or others with you; please be aware that should those emails be used by you or any third parties to engage in or encourage unlawful cyber-harassment, Pomona College will review such activities and act immediately to prevent improper conduct. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can answer any additional questions for you.




Marcelle Holmes

Associate Dean of Students/Dean of Women

Pomona College

For more, please see this blog post I wrote about how both students were well within their rights, see this blog post

See also my article on FIRE and the Claremont Colleges, especially the section on the video taping that Mr. Peter Mursurlian did. 



Anonymous said...

"This letter will serve as notice that, from this day forward, you are banned from the entire Pomona College campus."

Due process or arbitrary and capricious?

Jeremy said...

Pomona doesn't owe anyone due process. They're a private entity, not the government. They can do (almost) whatever the hell they want, including arbitrarily and capriciously banning people from campus. (Although its a douche-y thing to do, not unlike harassing people and disrupting a discussion.)

Tom said...

Who was harrassed? This is all very confusing. Was the "harrassment" simply that they recorded the discussion?

If so, what's the problem? That they didn't get "permission?" Doesn't that happen all the time? Would a Facebook video have caused the same controversy?

Tom said...

Also, the letters cites them not for recording, but for repeatedly recording after "being asked to stop," and for recording "with the intent to disrupt."

Ok, the first claim is ambiguous, and anyway, since when are event managers allowed to tell people to put microphones away?

As for the second, how do they know the boys' intent?

Anonymous said...

Any luck getting a copy of the video?

Anonymous said...


It's private property, but there is such a thing as Contract Law. Pomona College and CUC have an explicit and implicit contract with David Daleiden and other students of all the 5C's.

Students may respect no-trespass laws, but legally, Pomona's trespass can be construed as a contractual violation of their membership to the CUC. The only legitimatacy of this action is if David and Kyle violated their end of the bargain.

Property rights are for obvious reasons, not absolute. The Leonard Law still applies to Pomona College.

zansky said...

Is this Jeremy, Jeremy G?

Kathy Willet said...

I actually think these two would be wise to just chill. I mean, I see the points of contention here and I see the 'urge' to fight back, but why, I mean why--all of a sudden--do students at the same college that wants to Puck Fomona really care about the fact that Fomona has now banned you from their pucking campus? It's not like Pomona is the intellectual center of the universe. I mean seriously, cross register somewhere else. Pomona is like a python here, the more you struggle the the more they're going to squeeze you. If you're smart you will just let this Dean Holmes woman just win and slink back to her office a quiet victor rather than a loud one. I say move on. Either way, she has won. You can't go to Pomona anymore, big deal. you're life just improved in my opinion.