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A Look at the Protest Policy at Scripps

Jacqueline Loh 22

Last week, students from across the Claremont Consortium gathered in front of Malott Commons and marched through Claremont McKenna and Pomona campuses. Armed with posters and signs, the students came out in solidarity with sexual assault survivors after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“For me it was a space where I felt like my voice still mattered because I felt really defeated…” said one protest organizer Madeline McCluskey ’21, “…so I hope it made people feel better and still feel like they mattered.”

Resources on campus such as the EmPower Center and Dean of Students sent out emails with hotline and counseling information. However, there was minimal action taken on the part of Scripps Administration to openly support students.

In a statement from the Office of Marketing and Communications, Scripps College “encourages students to engage in dialogue about current political, economic, and social events that affect their lives and the future of society.” The college “[supports] students’ right to visibly and vocally express their values and beliefs.” The statement also stresses the safety of those who attend a protest. This policy does not differ whether students are protesting an external issue or an issue on-campus, such as Scripps administration.

Organizers of the Kavanaugh protest last week were not required to notify administration of the protest but chose to do so anyways, according to McCluskey. The organizers met with Dean of Student Life, Brenda Ice, before the protest.

“She was super helpful and all of Scripps administration was great about it, however they didn’t help with the protest necessarily,” McCluskey said.

Campus security was also notified of the event. “I’m glad they gave us space to express our emotions and not take over the event,” McCluskey said.

Some faculty came to the protest to show their support as well.

Other than the aforementioned emails and statement, Scripps Administration did little to show open support for students. If the protest was solely in support or either a Democratic or Republican side, it would be understandable for the administration to avoid showing support for one to avoid alienating students who shared a differing opinion.

However, the Kavanaugh Protest held at Malott was intended to show support and solidarity with sexual assault survivors. More could have been done to show support of survivors while also helping eradicate rape culture here in Claremont.

Overall, the protest policy is more focused on maintaining neutrality and safety in the event of a protest. While this in understandable in most cases, the Kavanaugh protest was intended to support survivors and create a safe space to do so. Active and open support of both these efforts would have looked good on part of Scripps Administration and been beneficial for the student body.

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