CMC Suspends Multiple Students for Policy Violations at April Protest
In a statement this morning, Claremont McKenna College announced sanctions placed on ten CMC students for violating college policy during the protests against Heather Mac Donald that took place in early April.
Of the approximately 170 protesters who “breached the perimeter safety and security fence” and blocked entrances and exits of the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum during the protests, twelve were identified as CMC students eligible for punishment by the college, and of those, ten received sanctions including suspensions and probations.
Another four non-CMC students have had their on-campus privileges limited for their “significant roles in the blockade.”
The announcement marks the conclusion of CMC’s investigation into the protests, which has been ongoing since at least May. The college undertook “a review of available video and photographic evidence” to identify the students involved in policy violations in the course of the protests. Ultimately, the college charged ten students with violations of college policy, only to find that three of those students “were not responsible for any violation.”
“After a full conduct investigation and review process for the remaining seven students, an independent community panel found each student responsible for policy violations,” the college said. “Three students received one-year suspensions … Two received one-semester suspensions … Two were put on conduct probation.”
The college added that “all sanctions include strong educational components.”
These sanctions come three months after students from across the Claremont Colleges—a consortium of five liberal arts colleges which includes CMC—protested a talk by Mac Donald, a vocal critic of the Black Lives Matter movement. After labeling Mac Donald—a Stanford University-educated attorney and conservative political commentator—an “anti-Black fascist,” the protesters organized a blockade of the Athenaeum to deny her an in-person audience, prompting CMC President Hiram Chodosh to vow to bring to justice the students who violated policy during the protests.
In its latest statement, the college described the specific transgressions of the protesters, who “breached the perimeter safety and security fence and campus safety line, and established human barriers to entrances and exits,” thereby “depriv[ing] many of the opportunity to gather, hear the speaker, and engage with questions and comments.”
“The blockade breached institutional values of freedom of expression and assembly,” the college stated. “Furthermore, this action violated policies of both the College and The Claremont Colleges that prohibit material disruption of college programs and created unsafe conditions in disregard of state law,” the statement continued, referring to the illegal blockade of fire exits.
The college completed “a full, fair, and impartial student conduct process before determining the findings, sanctions, and the resolutions of appeals,” the College declared.
CMC also said that it has sent information regarding policy violations by students from the other Claremont Colleges to their respective schools.
“CMC has also provided evidence of policy violations by students of the other Claremont Colleges to their respective deans of students.” Accordingly, in a letter released to the student body, “consistent with inter-college policy, CMC has asked each campus to review this evidence under their own conduct processes. In addition, CMC has issued provisional suspensions of on-campus privileges to four non-CMC students who appear to have played significant roles in the blockade.”
In a statement to the Independent last month, however, Pitzer College claimed that it was not in correspondence with Claremont McKenna regarding any student code violations. Administrators at Pitzer have not yet responded to further requests for comment on this matter.
Update: In a response to the Independent’s most recent inquiry on whether Pitzer College received a report from CMC regarding Pitzer students at the protest, a Pitzer College spokesperson stated that “Pitzer is in communication with Claremont McKenna College. We are currently reviewing all information provided.”
Photo: Jenifer Hanki / CMC