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DearDavidOxtoby,

We,fewoftheBlackstudentshereatPomonaCollegeandtheClaremontColleges,wouldliketo
addressseveralofthepointsmadeinyourAcademicFreedomandFreeSpeechemailsentout
totheentirestudentbodyonApril7,2017inresponsetoastudentprotestagainstHeatherMac
DonaldstalkatClaremontMcKennaColleges(CMC)Athenaeum.Webelievethatgivenyour
positionasPresidentofthisinstitutionyourvoiceholdssignificantweightincampusdiscourse.
Thatpowercomeswithimmenseresponsibility,especiallywhenyoucoulddictatecampus
culture,climate,andtheallegedmissionofthisinstitution.AsPresident,youarechargedwith
upholdingprinciplesofPomonaCollege.Thoughthisinstitutionaswellasmanyothers
includingthisentirecountry,havebeenfoundedupontheoppressionanddegradationof
marginalizedbodies,ithasaliabilitytoprotectthestudentsthatitserves.Theparadoxisthat
Pomonaspastisrootedindominationofmarginalizedpeoplesandcommunitiesandthestudent
bodyhasasignificantpopulationofstudentsfromthesebackgrounds.Yourrecentstatement
revealswherePomonastrueintentionslie.

Freespeech,arightmanyfreedommovementshavefoughtfor,hasrecentlybecomeatool
appropriatedbyhegemonicinstitutions.Ithasnotjustempoweredstudentsfrommarginalized
backgroundstovoicetheirqualmsandcriticizeaspectsoftheinstitution,butithasgiventhose
whoseektoperpetuatesystemsofdominationaplatformtoprojecttheirbigotry.Thus,ifour
missionisfoundeduponthediscoveryoftruth,howdoesfreespeechupholdthatvalue?The
notionofdiscourse,whenitcomestodiscussionsaboutexperiencesandidentities,detersthe
Columbusingofestablishedrealitiesandtruths(codedasintellectualinquiry)thatthe
institutionpromotes.Pomonacannothaveitscakeandeatit,too.Eitheryousupportstudentsof
marginalizedidentities,particularlyBlackstudents,orleaveustoprotectandorganizeforour
communitieswithouttheimpositionsofyourpatronization,withoutyourbinaryrespectability
politics,andwithoutyourmonolithicperceptionsofprotestandorganizing.Inaddition,
nonBlackindividualsdonothavetherighttoprescribehowBlackpeoplerespondto
antiBlackness.

Yourstatementcontainsunnuancedviewssurroundingtheacademyandabeliefinsearchingfor
someveneratedtruth.Historically,whitesupremacyhasveneratedtheideaofobjectivity,and
wieldedadichotomyofsubjectivityvs.objectivityasameansofsilencingoppressedpeoples.
TheideathatthereisasingletruththeTruthisaconstructoftheEuroWestthatisdeeply
rootedintheEnlightenment,whichwasamovementthatalsodescribedBlackandBrownpeople
asbothsubhumanandimpervioustopain.Thisconstructionisamythandwhitesupremacy,
imperialism,colonization,capitalism,andtheUnitedStatesofAmericaareallofitsprogeny.
Theideathatthetruthisanentityforwhichwemustsearch,inmattersthatendangerour
abilitiestoexistinopenspaces,isanattempttosilenceoppressedpeoples.We,Blackstudents,
existwithamyriadofdifferentidentities.Wearequeer,trans,differentlyabled,
poor/lowincome,undocumented,Muslim,firstgenerationand/orimmigrant,andpositionedin
differentspacesacrossAfricaandtheAfricandiaspora.Theideathatwemustsubjectourselves
routinelytothehatespeechoffascistswhowantforusnottoexistplaysonthesameEurocentric
constructsthatbelievedBlackpeopletobeimpervioustopainandapathetictothebrutaland
violentconditionsofwhitesupremacy.

TheideathatthesearchforthistruthinvolvesentertainingHeatherMacDonaldshatespeechis
illogical.Ifengaged,HeatherMacDonaldwouldnotbedebatingonmeredifferenceofopinion,
buttherightofBlackpeopletoexist.HeatherMacDonaldisafascist,awhitesupremacist,a
warhawk,atransphobe,aqueerphobe,aclassist,andignorantofinterlockingsystemsof
dominationthatproducethelethalconditionsunderwhichoppressedpeoplesareforcedtolive.
Whyareyou,andotherpersonsinpositionsofpowerattheseinstitutions,protectingafascist
andherhatespeechandnotstudentsthataredirectlyaffectedbyherpresence?

Advocatingforwhitesupremacyandgivingwhitesupremacistsplatformswherefromtheirtoxic
anddeadlyillogicmaybedisseminatediscondoningviolenceagainstBlackpeople.Heather
MacDonalddoesnothavetherighttoanaudienceattheAthenaeum,aprivatevenuewherefrom
shereceivedcompensation.Dictatingandcondemningnonrespectableformsofprotestwhile
parrotingthephrasethatprotesthasacelebratedplaceoncampusiscontradictoryatbestand
antiBlackatworst.

ThisisnotanargumentrootedinHeatherslossoffreespeechoracademicfreedom.Sheisa
wellknownpublicfigure,herviewsarewelldocumented.Rather,ourpraxisisfocusedonnot
allowingherantiBlackplatformtobelegitimizedinfrontofanaudience,whichshedoesnot
havetherightto.Engagingwithher,awhitesupremacistfascistsupporterofthepolicestate,isa
formofviolence.

Protestthatdoesntdisruptthestatusquoisbenignanddoesntfunctiontooverthrowsystemsof
oppression,whichistheultimategoal.

Toconcludeourstatement,weinviteyoutorespondtothisemailbyTuesday,April18,2017at
4:07pm(sincewehavemoreenergytoexpendonthefrivolityofthisinstitutionandnotBlack
lives).Also,wedemandarevisedemailsenttotheentirestudentbody,faculty,andstaffby
Thursday,April20,2017,apologizingforthepreviouspatronizingstatement,enforcingthat
PomonaCollegedoesnottoleratehatespeechandspeechthatprojectsviolenceontothebodies
ofitsmarginalizedstudentsandoppressedpeoples,especiallyBlackstudentswhostraddlethe
intersectionofmarginalizedidentities,andexplainingthestepstheinstitutionwilltakeandthe
resourcesitwillallocatetoprotecttheaforementionedstudents.

WealsodemandthatPomonaCollegeandtheClaremontUniversityConsortiumentitiestake
actionagainsttheClaremontIndependenteditorialstaff
(http://claremontindependent.com/meetthestaff/)foritscontinualperpetuationofhatespeech,
antiBlackness,andintimidationtowardstudentsofmarginalizedbackgrounds.Providedthatthe
ClaremontIndependentreleasestheidentityofstudentsinvolvedwiththisletterandsuch
studentsbegintoreceivethreatsandhatemail,wedemandthatthisinstitutionandits
constituentstakelegalactionagainstmembersoftheClaremontIndependentinvolvedwiththe
editingandpublicationprocessaswellasdisciplinaryaction,suchasexpulsiononthegrounds
ofendangeringthewellbeingofothers.

Authoredby:
DrayDensonPO20
AveryJonasPO20
ShanayaStephensonPO19

CoSignatories:
VictorBenePZ19
BemnetGebrechirstosSC19
JordanHowardJenningsHMC19
GabbySnowdenSC19
EliamaniIsmailSC20
KatarinaFigueroa
KarUreaPZ18
LeandraVargasPZ18
MalaikaOgukwePO19
JourneySimmonsPO20
MazvitaNyamuzuweSC20
NoemiDelgadoPZ19
SherlanLordPZ19
LeyaSolomonPO19
VanessaAkinnibosunSC19
ZemiaEdmondsonPO20
NeyissaDesirPO19
SegaBirhaneHMC20
RamondaGiddingsHMC17
MattSimonHMC18
JillianCardamonHMC20
JasmineDavidPO19
JustisAllenHMC17
DonelyGunnHMC18