SCORE Staff Departure a Result of Incompatible Visions, Office Left Disoriented

April 15, 2024
7 mins read

By Ishita Jayadev ’26
Staff Writer

SCORE (Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment) is currently awash with uncertainty in the wake of both the office’s former Director and Assistant Director leaving within mere weeks of each other. Former Assistant Director Elba Mandujano resigned from her position on March 5 and former Director and Assistant Dean of Students, Dr. Marissiko Wheaton-Greer, followed 10 days later.

Mandujano had worked at Scripps since January 2022, and Wheaton-Greer since the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Both directors have had a rocky tenure at Scripps as their approach to running SCORE often conflicted with students’ visions. Their departure has created both a vacuum of leadership as well as an opportunity for new beginnings. 

Megan Yee ’26, a current SCORE Programming Intern, expressed feelings of shock and confusion after she found out Wheaton-Greer was resigning. Although the interns are temporarily reporting to Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. DeMethra LaSha “Sha” Bradley, Yee emphasized the fact that they now have no direct supervision and leadership in SCORE. “We’re gonna have nobody manning our office,” she said. “I was like, ‘how does this work?’” 

Yee elaborated on the interns’ current state. “I think a lot of it has been trying to adjust and figure out, who are we reporting to?” Yee said. “What exactly are we supposed to do? Where do we get our resources from? It’s just a lot of transition time at the moment and it’s just because of bad timing.” Yee made sure to state that she understood both Wheaton-Greer and Mandujano’s decisions to leave but that the timing of their departures was unfortunate. 

When reached out to, Wheaton-Greer responded via email that she felt no need to be featured in this article after her departure and specified, “During my 3.5 years at Scripps College, my expertise and contributions to the community were rarely engaged with or recognized.” Despite this, she encouraged students to “truly invest in building relationships and partnerships” with the new directors. 

The misunderstanding and lack of recognition Wheaton-Greer refers to was echoed by older students who worked at SCORE or were affiliated with SCORE clubs and organizations (CLORGs) around the time the leadership of SCORE was changing. Wheaton-Greer joined Scripps in 2020 at the start of the virtual school year with the challenge of keeping SCORE active with nobody able to meet in person. Mandujano joined two years later in January of 2022, taking over most of the supervision of interns and CLORGs as Wheaton-Greer handled more administrative work. 

As the two got more involved in SCORE upon the return to campus, complaints began to emerge from students as they felt their own demands for the space were not being heard or answered. 

Emma Tao ’22, a SCORE intern from 2020-22 and Asian American Student Union (AASU) Co-Head in 2022, spoke about her experiences with SCORE during this transition period as well as her perception of what SCORE was like before the virtual year and change in leadership. 

I think a huge part of it was that before the pandemic and before Marissiko and Elba joined it was very heavily student focused,” Tao said. “Like students basically ran a lot of the stuff and it was more like the directors were just sort of there as administrative guidance.” 

This changed after students returned to campus when certain intern positions were merged and the amount of hours that interns could work were cut down. “I don’t know if there had been some funding things that happened during that time, but essentially over time, there’s a clear indicator of how it did appear that SCORE was trying to cut down on interns,” Tao said. 

Yee elaborated on the choice, “They cut down on interns because they [Mandujano and Wheaton-Greer] wanted it to be easier I guess to manage, but also for us to be close-knit and work together more.” This change also allowed interns to work more hours. 

Whatever the reasoning behind the shift, it has resulted in only six interns in three groups of two this year. One group, which Yee is part of, does general SCORE programming, another does programming for first-generation (first-gen) college students, and the last one plans programs for international students. 

Former SCORE intern Dahlia Wang ’24 seemed surprised at this drastic cutdown. Before the International and First-Gen Intern positions were incorporated by SCORE, there were 14 SCORE interns, including an “Artivism” position that helped run Our Sound zine (a student led zine that had been running since 2013), as well as “Pomona Hope” interns who worked with the nonprofit Pomona Hope to support high school students in preparing for college, until the positions were ended abruptly in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Tao elaborated that this could have also been due to the First-Gen Intern and International Student Intern positions becoming part of SCORE in the fall and spring, respectively, of 2022. 

As hours decreased, the availability of interns who could be on shift in SCORE at different times did as well. Tao identified how this made SCORE less accessible for students.

“Before, SCORE events would be hosted at all hours of the day, even after hours,” Tao said. “But then with Elba, there was a sort of push to have all your events hosted during your office hours. So that sort of limited attendance even further for events because obviously no one wants to go to a SCORE event at 11 [a.m.] on a Wednesday.” 

Tao also mentioned how students used to be able to sign up for swipe access into the SCORE building. “It was more open for students to basically interact with each other in a safe space,” Tao said. This changed as SCORE became only accessible to interns and heads of CLORGs. 

Additionally, Tao emphasized how student concern about changes implemented by the directors were related to SCORE’s origins in student leadership and organizing. An early iteration of the office was founded in 2002 because of discussions among Scripps committees in protest of Scripps’ previous underfunded Multicultural Resource Center. This was amplified by a 2001 teach-in held by students at The Motley called “Whose Voice, Whose Vision,” challenging the “Women of Voice and Vision” title of Scripps’ 75th anniversary celebration. 

Regarding prior students’ concerns, Tao noted how “It changed from more of a student collective organization of safe space created by the students, for the students, into a sort of business being run from eight to five.” 

In light of the oft-forgotten radical history of SCORE, upperclassmen’s concerns in the post-virtual school years were given a different dimension. These concerns culminated in a meeting with Wheaton-Greer and Mandujano in April 2022 followed by a letter of demands asking for “a publicization of SCORE’s history” to the student body so that students would be “aware of the endless possibilities that can result from vocalizing discontent with Scripps’ treatment of students from marginalized communities.” 

Other demands included compensation for all work put in by interns, budget transparency, a way to sign up for 24-hour swipe access to SCORE, and “reinstating the collaborative and accommodative work culture that SCORE had before the pandemic.”

A more general demand included “building solidarity with trans and non-binary members of the community,” with a suggestion to “bring back Family as a trans-centered CLORG.” Family had taken a hiatus during the COVID-19 online year.

While Family’s recent revival points towards some progress, Wang said she was doubtful how much change actually came about from the letter. She mentioned that many of the students who wrote the letter were seniors who reasoned that since they were graduating anyway, they had few stakes in the issue.

“I think the people who were unhappy just left,” Wang said. “And I think that the people who stayed weren’t unhappy in the first place.” 

Wang also pointed to the somewhat secretive cutting of intern positions as her own “Artivism” role went from two people to one without explicit notice. Wang described her own feelings on the issue as not explicitly unhappy. “I was mostly just annoyed because I was like, I think it’s weird that you’re getting rid of my role and not saying anything,” Wang said.

However, Wang also expressed sympathy for Mandujano and Wheaton-Greer’s positions as new directors. “I think there were a lot of the seniors wanting what was before the pandemic,” she said. “But I think that’s really hard just because Marissiko and Elba weren’t even aware of what it was like.” 

Wang also pointed out how the brunt of the blame was being put on Mandujano and Wheaton-Greer as the interns’ direct supervisors, which she felt should have been put on Scripps administration. “I do feel like a lot of the student dissatisfaction, especially with pay and with budgets and a lot of those things, were kind of out of their hands,” she said. 

Wang expressed her own ambivalent feelings, “I wasn’t here before the pandemic. I didn’t have any expectations for space. So whatever it is right now is just what it’s like. I don’t feel a sense of loss of what the space needs to be because I wasn’t there.”

Regarding the seniors, Wang said, “I guess they did feel some sense of loss of a space that used to be nice, but I don’t have a solution for that, and now there’s no one there.” 

While it may be difficult to go back to the way things were before 2020 or even implement changes, Yee said that she was optimistic for the future of SCORE. “I think Dr. Sha really is trying to hear us out and hear what we want and how we want to change,” she said.

SCORE interns are currently having conversations with Bradley as well as a consultant with experience at the 5Cs on DEI work who was recently hired to help host workshops and meetings to help create a concrete plan for the reimagining of SCORE. Yee said she felt optimistic about these conversations. 

“That’s what SCORE is — a space for you to delve deep into who you are, your identity, and be in community with others who share that identity and also gain perspective from other people,” Yee said. “And I just hope that through conversations, we stay connected and focused on that goal of just being a space for anybody to come in.”

Photo Courtesy of Ellen Hu ’24

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