Pomona, Pitzer Respond to Potential Anti-Semitism Lawsuit

After the David Horowitz Freedom Center (“DHFC”), a conservative foundation, stated in a letter to Pomona College president Dr. Gabrielle Starr and Pitzer College president Dr. Melvin Oliver on its intent to pursue legal action against Pomona and Pitzer for the colleges’ lengthy history of “anti-Semitic activities,” Pomona and Pitzer released two short statements in response to the potential lawsuit. Out of the two colleges, only Pomona explicitly denied the accusations listed in the DHFC’s letter. The DHFC gave the colleges until Feb. 14 to respond. 

According to a message sent to the Independent by Pomona College’s Office of Communications, “We [Pomona College] condemn[s] anti-Semitism, we strongly dispute the letter’s portrayal of our campus and we are deeply committed to encouraging the open exchange of ideas with respect for all.”

“The college upholds free speech, academic freedom and open dialogue. We aim to foster an atmosphere of respect for all members of our community and we seek a diversity of viewpoints,” Pomona’s statement added.

While Pitzer’s Communications and Media Relations gave a similar response, it did not explicitly deny the DHFC’s accusations:

“Pitzer College condemns anti-Semitism. Pitzer encourages the open exchange of ideas, protects the rights of all individuals in pursuit of their education and is committed to the exercise of inquiry, free speech and academic freedom.”

The DHFC, a controversial conservative foundation, is threatening to sue the Claremont Colleges—a consortium including not only Pomona and Pitzer, but also Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, and Scripps Colleges—for their alleged support of “anti-Semitic” activities. The DHFC is using President Donald Trump’s new Executive Order ordering federal agencies to classify anti-Semitism with other forms of discriminations protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

As described in the letter by the DHFC, Pomona College recently funded a campus visit by 9/11 conspirator and anti-Semite Abby Martin. Additionally, Pomona intends to fund a speech by anti-Semite and alleged terrorist Angela Davis, an outspoken supporter of convicted murderer Rasmea Odeh, later this year. The letter also criticizes terrorist-linked “campus hate group Students for Justice in Palestine” for organizing many of these speaking events. Specifically noted in the letter to the colleges is SJP’s support for the BDS movement, the erection of a mock “apartheid wall” on campus and several other incidents the letter deems “anti-Semitic.”

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