To Whom It May Concern (and those who believe it doesn’t concern them)
In August, a Claremont Colleges-based student journal penned an article in response to a debate among Pitzer students that occurred on Facebook. The back and forth regarded the legality of people of color (POC) only housing, which was framed through a narrative of reverse racism by the journal’s piece. Some of those involved with the article received death threats and other heinous forms of online harassment, including a few Resident Assistants (RAs). Because the article mentioned that the targeted students of color were employed as RAs, several other RAs were then attacked on twitter. Specifically, the tweets targeted RAs who identify as people of color, LGBTQ, and survivors of sexual assault. Not only was some of this information private, some threats even included the street address of the students mentioned in the article.
The formal response of the Pitzer administration not only failed to acknowledge the attacks on marginalized members of our community, but also passively supported the narrative of reverse racism projected in the article. The official statement read, “the Facebook post and several subsequent comments are inconsistent with our Mission and values.” We challenge that message by questioning whose values and whose rights are being centered.
We chose to attend Pitzer because the core values seemed to align with our personal beliefs. Since attending this institution, many marginalized students feel as though the core values are simply a marketing tool for the institution and that little to no action supports the written values.
This is not an isolated event. We are writing this letter because of this incident. We call upon our fellow students and employees of the college to take action to uplift marginalized students and listen to our voices. The intent of this letter is to critique the way in which Pitzer fails to support marginalized students and fails to respond to the violence students endure.
As a diverse group of student leaders, we support our fellow Resident Assistants who have bravely spoken their truth.
Resident Assistants of Pitzer College 2016-2017*
*While the majority of the RA Staff for the 2016-2017 academic year helped draft and approve this message, not every RA agrees.