Pitzer prez blames factual reporting for 'hate speech'

Elliot Dordick
The Claremont Independent

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  • The president of Pitzer College is upset that a student publication accurately reported inflammatory statements made by a resident advisor.
  • After participating in painting "White girl, take off your hoops," a resident assistant penned an open letter explaining that white women wearing hooped earrings is cultural appropriation.
  • The president of Pitzer College is upset that a student publication accurately reported inflammatory statements made by a resident advisor.

    On March 9, Pitzer President Melvin Oliver released a presidential “Message to the Community” titled “Hate Speech is Not Free Speech” which was both posted on the College’s website and sent in an email thread to all students, faculty, and staff at Pitzer.

    “Coverage...of a recent posting on the free wall has ignited a cycle of violent hate speech.”   

    [RELATED: Pitzer College RA tells white girls not to wear hoop earrings]

    The public statement, a response to the article published by The Claremont Independent that sparked national conversation on PC culture, racism, and cultural appropriation on campus, reads:

    “Dear Pitzer College Community, Coverage in a local publication of a recent posting on the free wall [by Latino students that instructed white women to ‘take off their hoop earrings’] has ignited a cycle of violent hate speech that threatens the safety and well-being of every member of our community. Some students are experiencing harassment and death threats. As a place of higher education, we strongly cherish and defend intellectual curiosity, productive discourse and opposing views that may broaden our perspectives as global citizens.

    However, when speech resorts to hate, violence, and threats, we will not tolerate these acts nor the perpetrators of these actions. If you have information that will help us bring those responsible to justice, please contact the Office of Student Affairs and the Claremont Police Department. Every individual is entitled to freedom from fear and stigma, and with the respect of others to pursue a life of meaning and purpose. Pitzer College supports greater acceptance, not less. However each of us chooses to respond to the challenges presented by these ill-considered, offensive and hateful actions, I encourage us to care for one another and focus on our shared positive values.”

    In the rest of his message, Oliver encourages students, staff, and faculty to participate in a “Healing Justice Workshop” hosted by Pitzer Professor Kathy Yep.

    “The workshop,” Oliver writes, “practices mindfulness in a way that creates a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world and does not cause harm to others.”

    The statement closes by listing resources for psychological counseling, Black Student Affairs, Chicano Latino Student Affairs, the Chaplain’s office, the Queer Resource Center, the Office of the Dean of Faculty, and the Office of Student Affairs available for support on campus at the Claremont Colleges.

    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 Claremont Independent on Twitter: @CmontInd



    Elliot Dordick

    The Claremont Independent

    The Claremont Independent

    The Claremont Independent is an independent journal of campus affairs and political thought serving the colleges of the Claremont Consortium. The magazine receives no funding from any of the colleges and is distributed free of charge on campus. All costs of production are covered by the generous support of private foundations and individuals. The Claremont Independent is dedicated to using journalism and reasoned discourse to advance its ongoing mission of Upholding Truth and Excellence at the Claremont Colleges.

    The Claremont Independent is affiliated with Campus Reform through the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished on Campus Reform with permission from the paper. 

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