Sophie Schwartsman ’22
In the previous issue, the Scripps Voice published an article entitled “Rarity of Recognition: The Relationship between Scripps and its Athenas,” which illuminated Scripps student athletes’ dissatisfaction with the support they receive from the institution, ranging from unsympathetic professors to low fan turnouts due to lack of student body awareness of athletic events. While the article focused on potential solutions to repairing Scripps shaky relationship with its student athletes, a larger question remains. Why is it that Scripps, despite its notable contributions to the 5Cs athletic programs, is almost always left out of the narrative of the consortium as a school for scholar athletes? While there are many possible explanations, including the obvious: good, old-fashioned sexism perpetuates the idea that women are inferior athletes. There are also institutionalized decisions that push Scripps out of the athletic narrative. Why are the CMS athletics colors only gold and maroon when they represent three, and not just two, schools? Pomona Pitzer’s colors combine the blue of Pomona and the orange of Pitzer, indicating that the baseline trend for consortium athletic teams is to feature the colors of all of the colleges represented by the sports teams. Therefore, because CMS represents Claremont Mckenna, Harvey Mudd and Scripps, the athletics department should hypothetically both tangibly and visually represent all three colleges which comprise its athletic membership.
Now, one could argue that because CMS represents both the Stags and the Athenas, and the Stags do not currently (to my knowledge) feature any Scripps athletes, it doesn’t make sense to have green on the Stags uniforms, and in order to have a cohesive athletic department, it makes sense for all of the teams have the same colors. Yet, the men’s athletics teams still fall under CMS athletics (note the presence of the ‘S’), because there is an implied contribution from Scripps that transcends the presence of Scripps athletes. The Scripps contribution is most notable in the fact that Scripps’ athletic funding goes towards CMS athletics, and not just the Athenas. Additionally, the same logic that demands color cohesion across the Stags and the Athenas should then hypothetically be applied to state that all CMS athletes should represent all three colleges. And of course, let us not forget that Scripps is only a historically-women’s institution, and I hope I speak for the student body when I say that we would all cheer just as loudly for a Scripps student representing the Stags as we would the Athenas. On the subject of aesthetics, the lack of visual Scripps representation could easily be written off as too chaotic or unattractive, however, if PP can willingly combine blue and orange, then there is no tangible obstacle to adding some green to CMS athletics. Lastly, one could argue that because Scripps only has members on half of the CMS teams, it is simply a logistical decision to not feature their colors. But, the 5Cs do not have conventional college sports team structure by any means, and it is time to stop pretending that the teams’ colors cannot follow the same nontraditional composition.
While it might not seem like a big deal that Scripps colors are not featured on the CMS sports teams’ athletic apparel, it is simple acts of unconscious discrimination that assist in institutionalizing and perpetuating attitudes of prejudice. And yes, colors do not define sports teams, but it is well known that visual cues are critical in creating brands, experiences, and memories. The visual association between red and gold and CMS in turn creates neurological association between Harvey Mudd and CMC with CMS while leaving Scripps classic, characteristic green, and its athletes, out of the picture both visually and symbolically. Why is it that Scripps students can’t wear their own colors to their games where they go to cheer on their own athletes? Unconscious biases are aided by conscious decisions made by people in positions of power, which subtly dictate how we construct our ideas of the world around us. It is a well-known fact that Scripps is subjected to sexist and belittling treatment by the other colleges on the consortium. And while we cannot erase sexist attitudes overnight, we can all be more conscious of the subtle ways in which sexism operates on our campuses.