500 signatures reached
To: Claremont McKenna College President Hiram Chodosh, Administration, and Board of Trustees
Stop College Administration From Unjustly Punishing Student Activists
Drop all charges and the investigation against students involved in the conduct case for the Mac Donald protest on April 6.
Why is this important?
Claremont McKenna College is currently investigating and attempting to charge student activists with conduct violations for their alleged participation in a nonviolent campus protest. This will punish student protesters on campus and infringe on their right to expression and to association.
This investigation is in a response to a group of students protesting a talk by Heather Mac Donald at the College on April 6, 2017. Mac Donald had previously published books that support and justify the hyper-criminalization and extrajudicial killings of Black folks, which made students concerned for their safety and lead to a campus protest for the duration of her scheduled talk.
The College should drop all charges and immediately cease this Conduct Investigation and Review against student activists for the following reasons:
1. Students have a right to organize, protest, and demonstrate under the US and California Constitutions.
2. Student activists maintained a peaceful, nonviolent protest, despite facing physical violence from professors and other students, most notably by Professor Anthony Fucaloro. The Student Life (the Consortium’s student news publication) has video evidence of Fucaloro physically assaulting students. To our knowledge, the College has not investigated or taken action on any of these incidents.
3. The College is investigating students through a “Conduct Investigation and Review.” According to the Student Conduct Process, this procedure is “reserved for the most significant and serious cases,” which include “physical injury or threatening to harm another and distribution of illegal drugs.”
4. The College has been denying the students’ rights to due process and violating its own policies and procedures throughout this conduct case. This includes an unprecedented attempt to prevent graduating seniors from participating in Commencement and a notation on student transcripts that indicates that students are currently involved in a conduct case. Neither of these actions are listed under the Student Conduct Process.
5. The College knew about the protest beforehand, as evidenced by campus communication, but did not issue a dispersal order or inform students that they could be facing a potential conduct violation before and during the protest. Therefore, the administration gave the impression that the students were engaged in permissible action and properly exercising their First Amendment rights.
6. The College has a history of institutionalized racism and of antagonizing students of color, including recent deaths of two students of color at Colleges in the Consortium and negligence in fully investigating a death threat against students of color in December 2015. This pattern of behavior must be stopped.
The College is still moving forward with the Conduct Investigation and Review. Our goal is to make sure that the College does not continue their attempt to punish students for protesting by sending the administration a petition that addresses these concerns.
Here is the petition that we will send on your behalf:
“Dear President Chodosh and the Claremont McKenna Board of Trustees:
I am writing to you to protest the punishment of student activists, and I urge you to drop all charges and the investigation against students involved in the conduct case for the Mac Donald protest.
I find it distressing that the College is resorting to punitive measures to resolve issues resulting from their own negligence. I believe that there will be significant consequences if the College chooses to continue with a Conduct Investigation and Review, including an impact to the public reputation of the College. The College should be encouraging civic engagement from its students, instead of attempting to curtail student protests by penalizing their participation, especially if it claims “to educate its students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership.”
We hope that the College responds to this matter appropriately by prioritizing the humanity of these students and by removing them from this investigation.