On Friday March 1, editors from the CMC Forum, Claremont Independent, Claremont Port Side, and The Student Life  delivered an open letter to CMC President Pamela Gann opposing recent changes to the college’s student media policy. (Full Disclosure: I myself signed.)

President Gann responded just before 5pm on March 4 with the following email:

Dear Caroline, Marina, Tim and Maya:

Thank you for your letter of March 1, 2013 regarding the policy requiring student journalists to work through the CMC Office of Public Affairs (PA) to process requests for interviews and information. I understand and appreciate your desire to help foster and maintain an environment of trust and respect.

Please also know that I am in agreement with you in terms of the flow of information. The main reason we have asked you to work with PA is to ensure that you and your reporters do receive accurate and timely information.

I am directing PA to streamline the process and make sure that student reporters are quickly informed that their requests have been received and when PA will be able to respond to the specific requests in a reasonable manner. I am also directing PA to meet with the four of you and walk you through the process so that all are in agreement and understand the process.

Again, thank you for reaching out and making me aware of your important concerns. Student media play an important role in the life of the College, and I would like to see this resolved in a way that works for all involved.



Pamela Gann


The email, which came from the President’s email address, included an attached version of the same letter signed by President Gann.  View the signed copy of Gann’s response here.


  1. This is good, but it does not address the core problem of forcing student publications to go through a PR filter just to talk to CMC sources. Will they address quote review, recording of interviews, or the general sterilization of information that is inherent in public relations?

  2. It would be helpful if there were some sort of easy, verifiable online petition or form alumni could sign for this kind of stuff. i don’t have time to send e-mails but i can definitely attach my name and dollars to something. this is absolutely ridiculous.

  3. Just to clarify, if a student that writes for a Claremont publication wants to talk with a professor, admin, etc, they now have to put a formal request to do so through CMC’s public affairs office? Maybe its just me, but the CMC I chose to attend was one that prided itself on the willingness of its character educators to support an open door policy. The CMC I know and love was one where a student looking to clarify information, and educate their fellow students in the process, was not rebuffed and sent to the public affairs office like some reporter from the San Bernardino County Sun. What is going on?

    You’ve got a dictatorial DOS office run by Mrs. Stalin herself, Mary Spellman. Then there is this years Forum articles, and the comments sections, where the common theme is how the school is not fun anymore. Now there is an active effort by the administration to restrict contact between students and the adults that run our school? As an alum that takes an extreme amount of pride in the good our school is doing for the world by graduating capable thought leaders from an environment that rivals Disneyland in its happiness factor, I am deeply concerned. I need to know that this wonderful place is not being taken down a path that destroys much of what makes CMC such an amazing academic institution. Is this happening? How can alumni help?

    Hypothetical question: In 2009, When Dean Huang was actively courted by Amherst College the students of CMC vocalized their fervent belief that CMC would not be the same without him. The Trustees agreed and did what they needed to do to make sure he stayed. Would there be a similar response for Mary? Isn’t that a problem?

    • Contact the administration! Maybe if some alumni get together and send another open letter to Pam Gann saying “we’ll try to expedite the PA blockade” still isn’t an acceptable solution, it’ll do some good. And same for Spellman and the death of fun. It is the alumni who donate, after all, on the basis that they love this school and it want to make sure it stays wonderful… wield your influence! Lay down the law!!!

  4. Completely ignores the valid points made by the 4 editors. totally vacuous response.

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