5C students protest on campus in wake of Kavanaugh’s confirmation

CW: sexual assault

Students from across the Claremont Colleges gathered in front of Malott Dining Hall on Tuesday to protest Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s recent confirmation to the United States Supreme Court.

 Protestors march past Collins Dining Hall at Claremont McKenna’s campus // Malea Martin for The Forum

Protestors march past Collins Dining Hall at Claremont McKenna’s campus // Malea Martin for The Forum

Organized by two students on Facebook, the protest garnered considerable attention with 345 individuals marking themselves as “interested” on the Facebook event page. Starting with 50 to 100 participants, the protest grew in size as the march moved through campus.

The protest started in front of the Scripps dining hall and then made its way throughout the Colleges. Protestors’ voices could be heard from near and far as they shouted various messages in unison including, “Cancel Kavanaugh”; “Our bodies, our choice”; “This is what democracy looks like”; “Hate and fear are not welcome here”; and “We believe Anita Hill, We believe Dr. Ford.” The last message comes in the wake of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, and served as a major impetus for the protest.

One of the student organizers, Gabby Jacoby SCR ‘21, told The Forum that the protest and march were intended to be moments of solidarity on campus for sexual assault survivors. “I hope that we can encourage people to use their voices and believe survivors, and to vote this November,” Jacoby said, amidst leading the protest chants. “We are watching the Senators who voted to confirm Kavanaugh, we are paying attention, and we are the ones who are going to vote them out of the Senate.”

Kavanaugh’s confirmation into the Supreme Court on Saturday comes after several months of controversy within the United States Senate and across the nation. After Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward with allegations that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school, many Americans, through social media platforms and physical protests, expressed that they did not believe Kavanaugh was fit to be a Supreme Court Justice. After Kavanaugh and Ford each testified in front of the Senate regarding Ford’s allegations, the Senate ultimately voted in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation by one of the smallest margins in Senate confirmation history.

 A protest organizer leads chants outside the Hub // Malea Martin for The Forum

A protest organizer leads chants outside the Hub // Malea Martin for The Forum

Pomona student Lianna Semonsen ‘21 said she was motivated to protest particularly in light of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and due to “the injustice that this represents, not only for [sexual assault] survivors but also women and people everywhere.”

Another anonymous student expressed that the Senate decision to confirm Kavanaugh, in their opinion, was not representative of what the majority of American people want. “I think that because of where Claremont is located, not a lot of people will see the physical protest,” they said to The Forum. “But I hope that the press that is here picks it up, and that it is conveyed on a national level along with other protests.”

In the hours after the protest, individuals expressed gratitude and solidarity for the event organizers and protestors. Another Facebook post encouraged protestors to donate their posters to Denison Library on Scripps’ campus to remember the event as a part of 5C history, and as a reminder “for future students, activists, and researchers that come to these colleges.”

According to an event organizer, the protest was originally scheduled for Monday, October 8, but was moved to Tuesday out of respect for Indigenous People’s Day.