Pomona Students: campus safety tips are ‘rape culture’
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,” the message read. “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 institutions, 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”, which 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 theClaremont Independentthat “[i]n 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,” wroteone student in a widely-shared Facebook post.
“By no stretch of the imagination is it the fault of the drugged students that our campus is made unsafe. “Constant visual contact with your cup” is physically impossible, and ridiculous to expect out of anyone. Especially someone drinking alcoholic beverages. (Like ?????) This is textbook victim-blaming, and it is coming right from the people who are hired to protect us,” the student continued.
One student, however, argued that while the acts were obviously “deplorable”, the email still served a practical purpose.
“I agree that it’s frustrating to be told that the responsibility to be safe falls on potential victims,” said a Pomona College student. “[But first,] when thinking practically about how to deal with the reality of an unsafe campus, I do appreciate these reminders and [second,] I think that [campus security] 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 Wednesday's Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College Senate meeting, few had answers.
One student noted that “[f]or 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 this writing, no further notices from Campus Safety or Claremont Colleges Administrations have been communicated.
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This story was originally published by The Claremont Independent. It has been republished here with permission.