On Protest in a Time of Crisis

Dear Pomona College Community,

The horrific October 7 terrorist attacks and ongoing warfare in the Middle East continue to bring pain and mourning to our own campus and The Claremont Colleges as a whole, as well as significant activism.

I’m writing to share more information regarding our approach at this time when members of our campus community have deeply divergent perspectives and experiences related to the Middle East and its conflicts.

On these contentious topics, we uphold our traditions of free speech, academic freedom and open inquiry. We also strongly condemn discrimination and all forms of hate.

To support free speech and a campus atmosphere in which all of our members can learn and work, we have clarified and added details to campus policies regarding student events and postings. In practical terms, this means that materials left behind at the fountain after a rally last week at Smith Campus Center were removed in line with these policies. In addition, multiple complaints regarding messages on Walker Wall were adjudicated through our established process, and the messages were found to be protected free speech.

Bullying and intimidation are against our policies and counter to our values, and campus safety staff will be present during protests on campus, to help ensure the safety of all. Individuals and student organizations must adhere to our student code and demonstration policy at all times, and violations will be addressed by our established judicial procedures.

We live in a divisive age, and as president of our college, I ask everyone in our community to stand against that prevailing wind: Treat one another with dignity. I will continue to work to keep the extended Sagehen community updated as I ask you to look beyond social media for a fuller picture and meaningful dialogue.

In the days and weeks ahead, we will provide coordinated opportunities for our community to use intellectual and relational tools to build and maintain community amid different perspectives. We seek to practice humility and listening to find our way to common ground.


With best wishes,

President Starr