Claremont McKenna College has not initiated the student conduct process in response to reports of a secret Facebook group that contained what Dean of Students Sharon Basso called “multiple deplorable posts,” according to Nyree Gray, Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Civil Rights Officer.
Reports of the secret Facebook group named “U PC BREAUX?” were first published on Sept. 20. Pomona College activated its Incident Response Team to determine if the memes met the test for bias and needed to be investigated under the policies of discrimination and harassment, according to Pomona College Dean Ric Townes, who chaired the team. Dean Townes invited Gray to participate in the IRT, which convened three times to review the policy handbook.
The IRT found the memes to be “bias-related and protected free speech,” according to an email to all students from Pomona Dean Miriam Feldblum. “It was consensus almost in seconds that the memes were bias,” said Dean Townes at a Q&A session hosted by the Pomona Student Union. However, he emphasized that the IRT was not, and did not, see itself as an investigative body, and did not have enough information to refer the incident under the discrimination, harassment, and student conduct policies.
Basso explained in an email to the student body that while sometimes even offensive free speech is protected, the harassment policy will be enforced if a CMC student is found to violate it.
“Even if the content of these posts does not constitute actionable harassment, I want to strongly reinforce the College’s commitment to our shared values of respect and inclusivity. These sorts of posts are absolutely inconsistent with those values,” she said.
“CMC students are members of the group,” said an anonymous source.
Many drew parallels between “U PC BREAUX?” and a meme group created by new Harvard admits over the summer. Upon investigating the memes, Harvard rescinded 10 students’ acceptance for their involvement in a similar meme Facebook group.
The last known time the student conduct process was conducted, CMC and Pomona disagreed on whether or not to discipline students. In response to blockades of Heather Mac Donald at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum last April, CMC suspended and put on seven students on probation. However, Pomona did not punish any students for their involvement.