Pomona Administration Can Remove Club Officers At Discretion

This year, Pomona College reaffirmed that to successfully register as a club — required to hold events on campus and access funds if needed — student clubs must allow the college administrators to remove club officers at their discretion. While most of the conditions in which administrators can remove a club officer are clearly defined, the right to remove officers for “Inappropriate behavior and/or language” and reasons not listed are not. 

Starting last year, Pomona College began requiring student clubs to update club constitutions “with the new required Article regarding removal of officers/members.” Clubs that fail to do so may lose their abilities to access club funds, reserve spaces, or register events on campus. While clubs that did not include this amendment faced no direct action from the school, Pomona is reaffirming the requirement this year, requiring clubs to copy the amendment verbatim into their constitutions. The amendment allows The Smith Campus Center Assistant Direct, usually a dean, to remove officers at their discretion: 

“The Smith Campus Center Assistant Director may, at their discretion, remove an officer from their role should circumstances require such action. Grounds for removal of an officer include, but are not limited to:

  1. Inappropriate behavior and/or language

  2. Behavior that violates College policy and/or procedure

  3. Direct knowledge of hazing incidents and/or failure to report such incidents

  4. Direct knowledge of, advocacy for, and/or participation in illegal activities and/or behavior

  5. Behavior resulting in unreasonable and/or unnecessary risk for students”

While Pomona’s student handbook defines most of these circumstances, “inappropriate behavior and/or language” and circumstances not on this list may give administrators subjective leeway in internal student club affairs. 

To access privileges such as reserving space on campus, “[a]ll student organizations that are open to students at more than one of the Claremont Colleges’ schools or solely to Pomona students are required to be registered with the Smith Campus Center & Student Programs Office at Pomona College,” according to the Student Organization Policies & Procedures

However, in contrast to emails from the administration, neither the Student Organization Policies & Procedures nor the procedures for starting a student organization at the Claremont Colleges (a college consortium of which Pomona is a part) require that amendment, unlike the non-discrimination clause, which is legally required. 

The amendment also governs internal voting structures when club officers decide to remove a fellow officer, requiring the consent of three-quarters of all officers.

Pomona’s administration has previously taken control of student club activities. During the Spring 2019 semester, Pomona suspended Pomona College Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault on “legal and confidentiality” grounds. 

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) rates Pomona’s speech code as yellow, while fellow Claremont Colleges Consortium member Claremont McKenna College receives a green. Claremont McKenna does not have a requirement allowing administrators to determine club staffing in its student organization handbook.

 

A full version of the required amendment reads below:

Article XII Removal of Officers

An officer may be removed only after every effort has been made by all parties involved to resolve the situation. If the situation cannot be resolved, then an officer can be removed from their position by a 2/3 vote of all club members. Approval to hold such a vote must first be obtained from the Smith Campus Center Assistant Director in charge of student organizations.

The Smith Campus Center Assistant Director may, at their discretion, remove an officer from their role should circumstances require such action. Grounds for removal of an officer include, but are not limited to:

  1. Inappropriate behavior and/or language

  2. Behavior that violates College policy and/or procedure

  3. Direct knowledge of hazing incidents and/or failure to report such incidents

  4. Direct knowledge of, advocacy for, and/or participation in illegal activities and/or behavior

  5. Behavior resulting in unreasonable and/or unnecessary risk for students

Removal of Members

In very rare cases, a student may be removed from membership for violating college policies or organization bylaws. A 3/4 vote of all officers is required to remove a student from membership. All request to remove a student from membership must be presented to and approved by the Smith Campus Center Assistant Director prior to removal.

Grounds for removal from membership include, but are not limited to:

  1. Inappropriate behavior and/or language

  2. Behavior that violates College policy and/or procedure

  3. Direct knowledge of hazing incidents and/or failure to report such incidents

  4. Direct knowledge of, advocacy for, and/or participation in illegal activities and/or behavior

  5. Behavior resulting in unreasonable and/or unnecessary risk for students

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