Campus Reform | Calif. college bans conservative newspaper from Israel study abroad vote

Calif. college bans conservative newspaper from Israel study abroad vote

Pitzer College informed the Claremont Independent Wednesday that it would no longer be allowed to attend a Pitzer College Council—a governing body composed of faculty and students that usually decides college policy—vote on Thursday on whether to suspend Pitzer’s only study abroad program in Israel with the University of Haifa as student media. 

Despite being a registered student club at the Claremont Colleges Consortium, which Pitzer is a member institution of, and the first publication to break the news on the Pitzer faculty voting in favor of suspending its study abroad in Israel in support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, Pitzer College’s Office of Communications told the Independent that only the student government-funded media outlet The Student Life would be able to cover the vote as student media. The vote will take place Thursday afternoon. 

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When an editor from the Independent called Pitzer’s Office of Communications to enquire about the details about the vote and whether student media can attend, Pitzer’s initial response was affirmative. However, when the Independent sent Pitzer’s Office of Communications a list of staffers who will be in attendance, Pitzer spokesman Mark Bailey wrote that the initial response was a mistake and that attendance would be limited to “students, faculty, staff and student members of The Student Life staff.”

In Bailey’s email to an editor of the Independent, he wrote that “[t]he Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) of [Pitzer] College has announced that it will restrict attendance at the March 14 College Council session to students, faculty, staff and student members of The Student Life staff.”

Bailey also asserted that “no external media are permitted,” despite the Independent being an official student club of the Claremont Colleges.

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The Student Life—a left-leaning publication—is funded by the student governments of the Claremont Colleges, which includes Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Pitzer Colleges. Pitzer’s own student government, the Pitzer Student Senate, recently vetoed a bill that was supposed to condemn Pitzer’s faculty for voting in favor of suspending the college’s only study abroad program in Israel.

The Independent’s coverage—boosted by its following of over 45,000 on social media, far greater than any other student publication at the Claremont Colleges—of the potential suspension of Pitzer’s study abroad program has been cited by multiple media outlets across the United States and Israel, as well as Jewish organizations across the country.

This article was originally published in The Claremont Independent, a conservative student newspaper affiliated with the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished here with permission.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @CmontInd