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This is a news piece regarding a letter circulated to alumni, trustees, and students. 

On April 26, Carol Hartman ‘86, former head of the Alumni Association, sent a letter to the CMC administration and trustees expressing her dissatisfaction with the current campus climate. Hartman stated, “As a parent, an alum and CMCAA Past President I am deeply unhappy about the culture that has been fostered at CMC during the past couple of years. I have listened to President Chodosh’s observations about today’s young people and their needs/perspective/demands. I don’t buy it at all. Not for a minute.”

Hartman noted that the college setting may be the first time that students “have to exhibit empathy, proportionality, responsibility, and respect to their peers who might have very differing beliefs, opinions, or perspectives.” She continued that it is not the “prerogative of a student, who is on campus for four years, to change the historical culture and perspective of the college.” Instead, Hartman pointed to alumni and trustees as the “stewards of CMC’s mission.”

Due to her regular contact with alumni involved with CMC, Hartman has concluded that the majority of alumni are not supportive of current events and the cultural shift at the College. She believes that this shift is the “natural outcome” of four major actions.

First, she pointed to the “race for college rankings” and questioned whether pushing for success on these rankings is consistent with the goals of the College. Hartman did not specify which particular ranking lists or ranking categories she was referencing. Secondly, she criticized President Chodosh for leading with his own mission, “Social Justice”, a mission that she believes is “not aligned” with CMC’s mission. Thirdly, she noted that the race for rankings leads to a “middle-class squeeze” that creates a student body composed of two ends of the spectrum– “those with unlimited resources or very few.” Finally, Hartman pointed to attempts to expand “beyond our core strengths of government and economics,” actions that have made CMC look “more and more like Amherst, Williams, and other liberal arts colleges. She suggested that if “literature professor[s] do not enjoy working with the admitted students, let them teach elsewhere.”

Hartman then addressed a Facebook exchange among Claremont students over a post about an incident at Scripps College this March. A female Latina student at Scripps had called the campus police after finding the slogan “#Trump2016” written on the whiteboard outside her room. Her daughter Kate Hartman ‘19 posted a Facebook status following the incident that addressed her issues with how the incident at Scripps was handled. She linked her post to a video of President Obama entitled “Obama slams liberal PC culture on college campuses: you shouldn’t be coddled.” The comments section quickly turned into an argument among multiple students from the 5Cs debating how the situation was handled. Hartman quotes that her daughter was “told that she could not have an opinion ‘because she is white.’” She also notes that the person who commented this, Sarah Gissinger ‘17, had been selected by the Dean of Students as a Diversity and Inclusion Fellow.

“I am curious about what training these new Fellows are receiving for ‘inclusion’ because from my perspective they are excelling at ‘hypocrisy,’” said Hartman.

On Friday, Gissinger clarified, “I was speaking as an individual when I decided to engage with Ms. Hartman’s daughter on Facebook, not a PSR Fellow representative. Additionally, Ms. Hartman took my words completely out of context, and you can tell that is the case by simply reading the original post she refers to.” The original post is linked here.

Hartman concluded by emphasizing that CMC “was once a remarkable place” and, in the past, had been a meritocracy. She now believes that that is no longer true. She projected that the transfer rates from CMC will be far higher than usual this year, since “the culture of inclusion has created a hostile environment for those who have a different opinion and who are not Persons of Color.”

Hartman disseminated her letter to the alumni community and noted that she had received “lots of support.”

Click here to read the full text of Hartman’s letter.

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