Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pomona College and "Double Standards"

Let's put this in perspective. Shall we? 

A brief history is in order. 
  • In 1993, when students protesting a lack of racial diversity on campus occupied Alexander Hall, the then-dean of students at Pomona College reportedly gave them hot chocolate and cookies while they "occupied" the building. 
But when pro-life students ask a couple of hard-hitting questions of Selena Josel, a Planned Parenthood PR rep, they get banned from Pomona College. 

Even though Page 129, Pomona College's handbook calls for a "written statement" to be sent to the respondent, no statement was delivered letting the boys know that there were charges outstanding against them. They were just flat out banned. 

Page 127 says something far more damning. I quote, 
"In determining whether an act constitutes discrimination or harassment, the context must be carefully reviewed and full consideration must be given for the protection of individual rights, freedom of speech, and academic freedom." 
Did Dean Marcelle Holmes, who never contacted David or Kyle before she banned them, "carefully" review the "context"? Did she give "full consideration" for the "protection" of their "individual rights, freedom of speech, and academic freedom"? And might there be some conflict of interest in "investigating" a "grievance" from the Women's Union, when Dean Marcelle Holmes is the Dean of Women? 

I've emailed Dean Holmes asking for a time to meet with her for an article we plan on running in The Claremont Independent. Let's see if she really wants to have a dialogue about free speech issues on campus. 


zansky said...

If they haven't already, Kyle and David should submit a claim to FIRE:

Tom said...

Bravo, CJ. Your best post yet. Keep it coming.

Nick (Pomona '08) said...

I agree with zansky. I don't agree with most of the opinions expressed on this blog, and I certainly don't agree with the opinions of the students who filmed the event at the Women's Union, but this incident requires outside attention. FIRE is an excellent organization and ought to be able to help with this ridiculous response from Pomona College.

Nick (Pomona '08) said...

Also, I don't have a copy of the student code with me, but my understanding was that this sort of incident would be subject to the student Judicial Board at Pomona College. I don't know if the deans have authority to issue this sort of decree without the ruling of the J-Board, but either way these students deserved the opportunity to tell their side of the story. Even if the actions they took were in violation of the student code of Pomona or CMC, they deserve an opportunity to defend themselves. Whether or not Pomona has an obligation to provide such a hearing dude to the law or its own policies is not important. There is clearly a moral obligation for Pomona to provide a hearing before issuing a punishment.

zansky said...

Nick, I hope you write to your alma mater expressing that opinion. I know we're working to communicate our concern to CMC's administration, but I think Oxtoby and Co would take seriously concerns voiced by their own alums.

Nick (Pomona '08) said...

I intend to write to someone at Pomona regarding this incident. I'm not sure, however, that the administration will care much what I have to say, given that I've never donated a sizable amount of money to the college.

zansky said...

It's true they might not care, but I think the more they hear about it the better.

If you need the contact info of the people to get in touch with at Pomona, we've posted it in the Facebook group "Don't Ban Kyle and David from Pomona" which should be easy to find via search.

Theresa said...

Nick - this likely will go to J-Board (the "further sanctions" Dean Holmes mentioned in the ban letter.) Unfortunately, that part of the handbook that Charles quoted references J-Board, not bannings. The deans can pretty much ban whomever they choose, for whatever reason.

Nick (Pomona '08) said...

Like I said, I don't have the code with me and I don't know whether or not Pomona is bound by law or its own policies to give these students a fair hearing. However, the college has a moral obligation grant such a hearing before taking such serious action as banning 5C students from campus for a period of more than 2 years.