On Monday evening, the Claremont University Consortium Campus Safety Office sent out a message warning Claremont students about a potential rash of Xanax and other drug-laced drinks at recent CMC parties.
“Over the past two weeks, the Dean of Students Office of Claremont McKenna College (CMC) has received information that three on-campus parties may have involved students providing Xanax-laced or Rohypnol-laced drinks. While this information is unconfirmed, the allegations alone are serious enough that I wanted to alert our students of what CMC has heard. We will continue to investigate these allegations, as such behavior is highly concerning to all of us, dangerous to those who consume the drinks, violates the Student Code of Conduct, and cannot and will not be tolerated.”
Claremont McKenna College, among other colleges, has enacted policies restricting unabridged alcohol usage on campus. Such policies have been geared at breaking up large unregistered parties due to safety concerns. CMC has also promoted its “Teal Dot Training Program”, a program that coaches would-be bystanders to intervene in dangerous scenarios and has held forums related to Title IX policy and the responsible use of alcohol on campus. Thomas Schalke (CMC ‘18), a student on the Personal and Social Responsibility Committee for Campus Climate tells the Claremont Independent “In concert with a wide range of other solutions, the college is committed to expanding access to preventative programs such as Teal Dot and more fully integrating them into the student experience.” As awareness of sexual assault on campuses across the country grows, CMC is looking to make such training a key part of its student experience.
The email continues:
“These allegations are a reminder to be mindful at all times of what you are drinking and to keep an eye out for your fellow students. While this is a small campus and we would like to trust our fellow students, accepting a drink that was made by someone else or that was put in a cup that you did not bring yourself is risky. If you do not maintain constant visual contact with your cup, something can be slipped in it quickly and without your knowledge even if the drink started out fine. Being vigilant about the source of your drink as well as the integrity of your cup once it is in your possession decreases the risks of anything being slipped in your drink. Please help us keep our campuses safer.”
Some students were concerned that the email was an example of “victim-blaming” and “rape culture.”
“This is a message from campus safety in response to multiple students being drugged on Claremont McKenna’s campus. This is disgusting. This is unacceptable. This is rape culture,” wrote one student in a widely-shared Facebook post. “This is textbook victim-blaming, and it is coming right from the people who are hired to protect us.”
Others students argued that while the acts were obviously “deplorable”, the email still served a practical purpose. Another student from Pomona College responded, “I agree that it’s frustrating to be told that the responsibility to be safe falls on potential victims but a) when thinking practically about how to deal with the reality of an unsafe campus, I do appreciate these reminders and b) I think that camp sec individuals would probably agree with the sentiment that people should not do things like drug other people’s drinks (and to be sure, the email did include – begin with – a paragraph about how such behavior was deplorable and not to be tolerated).”
While the subject of drugs on campus presented itself at last night’s ASCMC Senate meeting, few had answers. One student noted, “For most of the student body, this incident is the first encounter with reports on roofie-type drugs anywhere on the Claremont Colleges, so information is sparse.” At the time of writing, no further notices from Campus Safety or Claremont Colleges Administrations have been communicated.