SPINELESS: Pomona College Will Not Punish Students For Illicitly Blocking Heather Mac Donald

The administration's letter included many false statements.

Last April, Claremont McKenna College's Athenaeum attempted to host Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald in the hopes of fostering dialogue on issues of race, police, and criminal justice. However, hundreds of leftist thugs, mainly students from the five Claremont Colleges, blockaded the Athenaeum, while protesters threatened student journalists covering the protest. Mac Donald had to be relocated for safety reasons.

Three months later, Claremont McKenna announced that it would discipline just seven of its students out of the nearly 170 individuals investigated for violating college policies. The students will face either suspension or probation for their actions.

While the independent panel sifted through videos and photographs, it also provided evidence to the rest of the Claremont Colleges in the hopes that they would hold their students accountable for violating their own college policies.

The Claremont Independent reported that Pomona College, the oldest of the Claremont Colleges, made its decision Monday on whether to hold their students accountable for violating college policy and denying Mac Donald her ability to speak. Administration officials and judicial council advisors Ric Townes and Christopher Waugh sent the following email:

Dear Students,

This letter is in follow-up to CMC’s demonstration complaint from last Spring semester.

After a comprehensive review of photos and videos sent by CMC, we have concluded the investgation into allegations that Pomona students violated the Demonstratons Policy of the Claremont University Consortium. While the visual documentation shows that Pomona students were present and did block access to buildings, there was no evidence that participants were instructed to disperse. Further, there was no indication of property damage or physical altercations. When policy violations become apparent during protest activities, Pomona College’s approach has been to engage in conversations with students, reminding them of the policy. The aim is to provide an opportunity for students to protest in a responsible manner, respectful to others and consistent with our community values.

Further, in the case of some minor violations of the Demonstrations Policy, the College usually seeks to issue to individuals a reminder of the policy and provide notice, such as this letter, that future violations could result in more severe disciplinary action. Since we were unable to identify every Pomona student present at the event, we are sending a reminder to all students that the Pomona College Demonstration Policy prohibits actions that become disruptive or non-peaceable, infringe upon the rights of others, threaten property or impede the business of any of the Colleges or CUC. As stated in the policy, “[d]isruptive actions or demonstrations are those that restrict free movement on any of the campuses, or interfere with, or impede access to, regular activities or facilities of any of the Colleges or CUC.”

Pomona’s full demonstration policy, which is a shared Claremont Colleges policy, can be found in the Student Handbook.

As always, Pomona College maintains a deep commitment to student rights to protest and dissent, and strongly supports the rights to free speech and assembly. If anyone has any questions, concerns, or comments, please feel free to contact us.

In claiming that there was "no evidence that participants were instructed to disperse," both Townes and Waugh lied through their teeth. Claremont McKenna's investigation stated the following evidence that contradicts their letter:

The Blockade Group marched into Flamson Plaza, just north of the Athenaeum entrance, gathered around the fencing perimeter, and temporarily stopped behind the security fence on the northwest side of the entrance to the Athenaeum.

Almost immediately, members of the Blockade Group began to break down the security fencing. As this was happening, three Campus Safety Officers moved toward the Group to advise them to stop. However, before the officers could arrive, the Group had dismantled the fencing and streamed into the south side of Flamson Plaza. The time was approximately 4:36 p.m.

Students were told to disperse and stop their illicit blockade but did not comply with Campus Safety's instructions. Furthermore, the letter also claims that there were no indication of physical altercations. Video evidence provided by The Claremont Independent showing protesters accosting and threatening student journalists, clearly contradicts these claims:

It comes as no surprise that the Pomona administration decided not to punish its students for violating college policy by silencing a conservative speaker. What is immensely disturbing is that Pomona's rationale relied upon claims that are not supported by evidence provided not only by Claremont McKenna College but also by videographic evidence disseminated by student journalists on the front lines of the fascistic protest.

The Claremont Independent sought comment from the administration regarding its false claim to no avail.

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