Love Thy Neighbors

After four years of attending Claremont McKenna College, there’s one thing I’m certain of: The bitterness and stereotyping associated with the rivalries held between the Claremont Colleges is stupid. My advice as a departing senior is to make friends at other colleges, take advantage of the resources at all the colleges, and appreciate that you aren’t at a tiny liberal arts college stranded by itself in the middle of nowhere.

Yes, certain members of the colleges do stupid things from time to time. Two years ago, Debra Wood, the Scripps College Dean of Students, sent an e-mail to the Scripps College student body complaining about a “racist party theme” at CMC held by the class of 2010. This party, hosted by Class President Isayas Theodros, encouraged students to wear white clothing because there would be a blacklight. Earlier that year, (mostly) Pitzer students engaged in a ridiculous protest of Karl Rove.  During that same year, Harvey Mudd’s Dean of Students made the bizarre decision to report to Campus Safety writing on a whiteboard that said “Hillary is a foxy lesbian.” Just recently, Pomona’s The Student Life published the wrong commencement speaker for CMC’s graduation this year.  For its part, CMC’s administration recently decided to ban non-CMC students, except for a guest list, from Thursday Night Club.

As unfortunate as these incidents are, they are clearly the exception and not the rule.  The reality, however, is that most of the people who attend the Claremont Colleges are good people. Sure there are jerks everywhere, but stereotyping across campuses is way too common at all of the 5Cs. Furthermore, almost all the stereotypes reflect the different colleges of 5-10 years ago much better than they reflect those institutions today. All of the 5Cs have similar values and fairly similar students and we cooperate in tons of academic, extracurricular, and social activities. There are important reasons a good percentage of Claremont Colleges students applied to multiple colleges, transferred between colleges, or take a lot of classes with mixed student populations.

The Claremont Colleges are excellent institutions, but we would all be even better if we integrated more and were less hostile towards one another. In my experience, most people at the end of the day seem to understand this and treat the rivalries as a fun tradition that amuses us. There are some people, however, who take these pointless rivalries way too far. They vandalize property, harass peers, or get in petty disputes with people from other colleges for really dumb reasons. Don’t be these people and don’t let your friends be these people.