top of page

Search Results

Results found for ""

  • Pitzer President Thacker Vetoes Academic Boycott, School Closes Haifa Anyway

    On Thursday, April 11, the Pitzer College Council (made up of Students and Faculty) approved Resolution 60-R-5, which seeks to terminate the college’s study abroad program with the University of Haifa, and prevents the college from opening any new programs with other Israeli universities. This decision follows action from the Pitzer Student Senate, which voted 34:1 in favor of the boycott resolution on February 11. Although Thursday’s resolution was approved by a 48-19 vote, Pitzer President Strom C. Thacker indicated he would veto it during the preceding discussion. Thacker elaborated on his position in a statement addressed to the Pitzer community shortly after the vote. "I have approached these issues with an open mind, actively listened, participated in thoughtful discussions, and maintained respect throughout," he writes in the statement, "As president, I have based my decision on what I believe to be in the best interests of the College as a whole. I understand that many may not agree with this decision. I am eager to continue our dialogue in a constructive and respectful manner within our community." President Thacker's decision to veto is significant as Pitzer students and faculty have consistently demanded that the study abroad program be boycotted, citing the University of Haifa's alleged involvement in practices contrary to Pitzer's ethical standards. This advocacy first emerged in 2019, when a similar resolution to suspend the program passed 67:28 but was vetoed by then-President Melvin Oliver. The controversy continues even after the program with the University of Haifa is no longer a pre-approved option. This change occurred after the Faculty Executive Committee decided on April 1 to remove 11 programs, including Haifa, from the college's pre-approved list, following Pitzer’s Study Abroad and International Programs (SAIP) Committee recommendations that questioned the alignment of the Haifa partnership with Pitzer's values. On April 2, Dean of Faculty Allen Omoto clarified the reasoning behind discontinuing pre-approved status for the 11 study abroad programs. In a statement, he emphasized that this decision was based on concrete criteria rather than symbolic gestures. Omoto explained, “The programs are no longer pre-approved for Pitzer students because they fail to meet our criteria, specifically due to reasons such as lack of enrollments over the past five years, exchange imbalances, or overlapping curriculums.” He further clarified, “These programs are not closed, nor do these actions represent an academic boycott. They can still be reopened if conditions change.” Activists alternated between holding the April 2 decision as a victory and accusing Thacker and the administration of lying about the college’s reasoning and undermining student organizing.

  • Dire State of Press Freedom in Hong Kong

    With new media constraints and an unchecked legislature, Hong Kong’s once vibrant press landscape will soon resemble its anti-free press counterpart in China. When Beijing took control of Hong Kong in 1997, it promised citizens that civil liberties like freedom of the press would be preserved for the next 50 years. Much of this promise was kept until Xi came into power in 2013 when the CCP upped its control over the media and the price for those who disobeyed. In 2020, China imposed its national security law, which subjects pro-democracy voices to torture and undue legal processes. Dozens of journalists have been detained and indicted under the law since. On March 19, the Hong Kong Legislative Council unanimously passed legislation, further cracking down on opposition to the Beijing and Hong Kong governments. The legislation, known as Article 23, imposes life imprisonment for vague offenses such as treason and external interference. This policy endangers journalists and further strains the freedom of the press. Only a few weeks after Article 23 went into effect, a Reporters Without Borders representative investigating the state of press freedom in Hong Kong was detained at the airport and denied entry to the city. Security forces apparently want to suppress knowledge of Hong Kong’s restrictive media landscape. The Hong Kong legislature debated Article 23 for only 11 days before passing the resolution. This is no surprise since the majority of the legislative body was elected in a 2020 district election that China required to be between “patriots only.” Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader John Lee can now “bow” to Xi Jinping’s demands and citizens cannot interfere. The vague language of recent laws, the Hong Kong government’s pro-Beijing position, and Xi’s rising power leave journalists vulnerable to manipulation and arbitrary discretion. The Hong Kong government froze the assets of independent media outlets Apple Daily and Stand News in 2021, forcing them to close, and placed Stand’s senior editors on trial for sedition. Another “Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China” has been a new credential system in which journalists must pass a WeChat exam that demonstrates their obedience to Xi and the goals of the People’s Republic of China. Article 23 and the 2020 national security law informally bind Hong Kong journalists to conform to the same propaganda. With Hong Kong’s media under state control and independent outlets disappearing, it will become more difficult for the international community to learn of these injustices and see the unfolding of Hong Kong’s fate. Today’s Hong Kong is a far cry from the city’s history of free citizens and outspoken journalists. Following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy protests in China, Hong Kong correspondents played a crucial role in transferring information and concepts, primarily in Chinese, to a broader audience. Hong Kong was also a rare site for people to commemorate Tiananmen while China tried to stifle its remembrance. Maya Wang, the acting China director for Human Rights Watch, argues, “The Chinese government wants the world to forget about Hong Kong, to forget what the city once was, to forget Beijing’s broken promises. But Hong Kong’s people will never forget.”

  • Alumna Candace Valenzuela Reflects on Role as Biden HUD Appointee

    Last month, CMC alumna Candace Valenzuela ‘06 returned to campus to speak at the Athenaeum and present Housing and Urban Development (HUD) career opportunities to CMC students. As a Regional Administrator, Valenzuela is responsible for implementing HUD initiatives in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and her home state of Texas. To deliver HUD services to her region effectively, Valenzuela must coordinate with officials from five states. Apart from New Mexico, her region is composed of red states whose representatives do not align with the Biden Administration or its policies. Valenzuela reflected on the role of partisanship in HUD-state coordination in her region. “As a political appointee, your job, even though to a certain extent is partisan, is to talk to everybody to make sure that localities get the services they need,” she said. Despite her best efforts, she encounters roadblocks with some members of Congress who she believes face “social pressure not to give victories to the Biden Administration.” According to Valenzuela, Republican members of Congress’ refusal to engage in conversation with HUD officials impedes HUD’s ability to deliver much-needed services to their constituents. State and local officials, unlike their counterparts in Congress, seem to understand that interparty cooperation benefits their constituents. Valenzuela shared positive experiences with state and local officials across her region, calling them her “favorite people” and praising mayors and city council members for their focus on constituent services. “When you are carrying a multimillion-dollar check, you are smarter, funnier, and more attractive,” she joked. Because she delivers material resources to their constituents, state and local leaders are happy to work with her despite partisan divides. Reflecting on her region, Valenzuela commented on one clear divide between blue and red states: source of income discrimination. In New Mexico, the only blue state under her jurisdiction, the state bars landlords from refusing to accept HUD vouchers as payment. In Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, landlords can deny applicants housing solely because they do not want to accept HUD vouchers. Valenzuela lamented this policy in her red states, acknowledging that more work needs to be done to dispel the negative stereotypes surrounding HUD funding. She argued that HUD vouchers should not be weighed differently from other sources of income by renters because government funding is relatively stable. Despite this partisan divide on source of income discrimination, Valenzuela warned against considering red states a monolith when it comes to housing. Two states in her region have particularly distinct housing landscapes. “Arkansas is the only state in the country in which you can get arrested for not paying your rent,” she explained. Furthermore, the state continues to fail to pass habitability laws – “last year, they tried to pass a law requiring apartments to have smoke detectors, and it failed,” she shared. Meanwhile, Louisiana’s extensive experience with natural disasters makes it more willing to work with HUD on disaster-resilient housing. These states’ housing landscapes demonstrate the diversity among what might seem to be politically similar red states. Valenzuela also discussed HUD’s extensive involvement in the Biden Administration’s climate change strategy. She emphasized HUD’s role in implementing the landmark Inflation Reduction Act. The IRA created the Green Resilient Retrofit Program, which provides $800 million in grants and $4 billion in loans for HUD-funded properties to reduce their carbon footprints and make them more climate resilient. This program is especially important to Valenzuela’s region as a 2021 Winter Storm demonstrated significant vulnerabilities in Texas’ infrastructure, including its housing landscape. Valenzuela recently visited Port Arthur, Texas, where she delivered a $52 million check to fund three apartment complexes to invest in storm resistant roofs, better insulated windows, and electric vehicle chargers. Valenzuela also underscored that the federal government must integrate environmental considerations into its housing policy in order to spend taxpayers’ money responsibly. “We need to know if we’re putting housing in areas where it’s likely to flood, or where natural disasters are likely to happen,” she explained. HUD’s environmental programs, while perhaps lesser known by the public, are critically important because it is estimated that up to 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, making housing emissions a significant climate concern. Towards the end of our conversation, Valenzuela shared advice for CMC students. Valenzuela recalled her time at CMC with gratitude and fondness. “CMC is the place to find like minded folks,” she said, explaining that the friends she made at the Claremont Colleges were the ones rooting for her and sending her care packages during her 2020 congressional campaign. She urged CMCers to invest in Claremont relationships, knowing that Claremont students may rely on each other for support later in life. Valenzuela also urged CMC government students to pursue local service. She recalled how much CMC students focus on the federal government. She urged students, “look at what your city council is doing, what your country, borough, state, and local folks are doing, because you will see that there are easier and more tenable wins than tackling the federal government.” Finally, she urged CMC students to take part in programs that benefit our community here in Southern California. Critics of the census have long highlighted that it undercounts unhoused populations and therefore leads policymakers to allocate insufficient resources to address homelessness. At HUD, the Point-in-Time Count seeks to count people who lack housing but are not in shelters. Communities come together to walk through neighborhoods late at night and count the people they encounter. Valenzuela applauded Point-in-Time participants, saying “it can be a little emotionally trying when you are talking to someone who wants to share their experience with you, but the count makes such a huge difference in our knowledge and our ability to distribute resources.” The Point-in-Time Count occurs each January, and the County of San Bernardino seeks volunteers to assist the count each year.

  • Biden Tries to Stop the Steel (Acquisition)

    Nippon Steel, Japan’s largest steelmaker, has been trying for months to finalize its acquisition of U.S. Steel. On April 12, U.S. Steel stockholders voted overwhelmingly in favor of the all-cash transaction, offering $55.00 per share — a nearly 40% premium over U.S. Steel’s December closing price. Despite near unanimous support from stockholders and executives, the $14.1 billion deal faces formidable opposition. Founded in 1901, U.S. Steel is one of America’s most storied companies. With a market capitalization estimated at $1.4 billion in the early twentieth century, U.S. Steel was the world’s first billion-dollar corporation. However, the company has recently struggled, and in 2021, it had to shelve a $1.2 billion upgrade to a Pennsylvania plant due to financial constraints from environmental fines. Nippon Steel aims to provide the necessary investments to rejuvenate U.S. Steel's aging plants. For a merger of this size, antitrust laws typically present the primary obstacle to a successful acquisition. In this case, the Justice Department is in the process of reviewing the merger for market-concentration concerns. Yet, for Nippon Steel, antitrust concerns are secondary to the political sensitivities surrounding the deal, particularly as the 2024 U.S. presidential election approaches. President Biden has repeatedly expressed his opposition to a foreign acquisition, arguing that “it is vital for U.S. Steel to remain an American company that is domestically owned and operated.” Other populist-minded politicians from across the aisle, like the Ohio Senator J.D. Vance, have also objected, citing national security risks due to steel's critical role in wartime production. This has led to a national security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is often criticized for its opaque operations. Nippon Steel counters that the takeover poses no national security threat, especially since U.S. Steel does not produce military-grade steel and Japan is a key U.S. ally. The deal's implications extend beyond national security; they also have significant electoral consequences. Both Democratic and Republican politicians have strong reasons to publicly reject the U.S. Steel takeover. The constituency most affected by the acquisition are blue collar workers employed by U.S. Steel who reside in crucial swing states such as Pennsylvania. These workers are represented by the influential United Steelworkers union, which has opposed the takeover, fearing job losses and plant closures. Although Nippon Steel has committed to honoring past contracts, union leaders are skeptical. Biden has made union support one of the foundations of his re-election campaign, and it appears that his strategy is paying immediate dividends. Within a week of Biden’s public opposition to the acquisition, the United Steelworkers union endorsed Biden for re-election. If the deal successfully passes regulatory hurdles, however, Republicans will likely use the foreign takeover to claim that Biden has failed to protect American jobs. Donald Trump, when asked about the acquisition, said that he would “block it instantaneously.” These strong political motivations threaten the integrity of the regulatory process. Legally, President Biden can only stop the acquisition should CFIUS refer the matter to him and there is strong evidence that the transaction “threatens to impair national security.” Thomas P. Freddo, the former head of the CFIUS, argues that a presidential prohibition of the acquisition would “signal that national security is whatever the president says it is, making CFIUS a secretive, arbitrary, and capricious tool for the party in power.” While blocking the deal has immediate political benefits, it may have long-term negative impacts on America’s position as the top destination for foreign investment. With no direct national security threat, ruling against the Nippon acquisition would turn the already enigmatic CFIUS investigation process into an instrument for political advancement.

  • Introducing the 2024-25 RA's

    Meet the next slate of CMC Resident Assistants! NORTH QUAD Name: Chloe Vijandre Dorm: Appleby Hall (North Quad) Hometown: Manila, Philippines Major: Economics + International Relations Hello everyone! My name is Chloe Vijandre and words cannot describe how excited I am to be the RA for Appleby! A little bit about me: I am an international student from the Philippines and was also raised in Vietnam. I am a senior dual majoring in Economics and International Relations. My favorite thing about CMC is the tight-knit community and all the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know throughout the years. From being a FYG, an I-Connect mentor, or simply loitering on Bos patio, I’ve been so lucky to connect with others and I cannot wait to continue fostering such a great community as one of the North RAs. I am always down to chat, jam, play basketball, etc. So come hang out! Name: Izzy Yau-Weeks Dorm: Boswell Hall (North Quad) Hometown: Oakland, CA Major: Environmental Analysis Hi everyone!! My name is Izzy Yau-Weeks and I’m so excited to be the Boswell RA. I’m a senior from Oakland, CA studying Environmental Analysis on the Race, Class, Gender track. I love CMC’s tight-knit and supportive community and I can’t wait to cultivate a great Bos dorm culture as well. On campus, I’m a Success Coach, member of my 5C a cappella group the After School Specials, and dedicated IM basketball player for THE Jordan Poole’s Baddies. Other than that, I love crafting, jamming out, being outside, and making friends so feel free to stop by my room anytime!!! Name: Vito Molina Dorm: Green Hall (North Quad) Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA Major: Economics + International Relations Hello everyone! My name is Vito Molina and I am so excited to be the RA to Green. I lived in Green during my first two years of college and I am so happy to be back! I am an Economics and International Relations dual major from Santa Rosa, California. I love to mountain bike, hike, watch/play soccer, and boulder. On campus, I am involved in SOURCE Nonprofit Consulting (but honestly I still do not know what consulting is). My favorite aspect of CMC is the culture of our close-knit community. There is nothing more inspiring and motivating than being surrounded by such bright, lively, and supportive individuals. I can not wait to meet and connect with all of the Green residents. Looking forward to a great and memorable year together! Name: Lucy Thompson Dorm: Wohlford Hall (North Quad) Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand Major: Literature + Media Studies Hello! My name is Lucy, I’m from Bangkok, I’m a Literature and Media Studies major, and I’m going to be the RA for Wolf! I am SO SO SO excited to be part of the RA Cohort, as there is nothing here at CMC I love more than building and participating with our community here. My favourite hobby is HANGING OUT, so please drop my open door hours, Wolf resident or not, and we can chat, read, eat snacks or do whatever together! When I’m not in Wolhford, you can find me creating content for CMC Admissions, singing with the After School Specials, or letting it linger in Collins or the Hub with a cup of tea or a coffee. I can’t wait to foster some awesome dorm community in Wohlford, so shout out Wolf residents, can’t wait to meet you all! <3 MID QUAD Name: Kobey Jorgensen Dorm: Beckett Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Hermiston, OR Major: Biochemistry Howdy! I'm Kobey Jorgensen and I have the privilege of being one of the Beckett RA's! I'm from a few different small towns in Oregon, and I'm majoring in Biochemistry with a sequence in Leadership Studies. I play football for CMS on the D-line and love being active! I pretty much have all of the hobbies: art, reading, exercise, music, etc... I'm not particularly good at any of them though, so come get better with me! I personally have a "work hard, play hard" mentality, and plan on bringing that energy with me to Beckett! Also, I'm actually a transfer student from Silly Goose University, so I'm always down to clown around! I've loved my time at CMC and I hope that you do too! Name: Nikki Tran Dorm: Beckett Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: San Diego, CA Major: Economics Hello everyone! My name is Nikki, I am from San Diego, and I am one of this year’s Beckett RAs! I am an Economics major and on campus, I am involved in APASA, CWIB, RLCIE, and work at the Soll Center and Office of Financial Aid. In my free time, you’ll find me running, at a cafe (anything with oat milk tastes good to me), or talking about a new movie with my friends. Super excited to meet everyone and keep the Beckett vibe alive through on and off campus activities! Name: Luis Mendoza Dorm: Benson Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Warsaw, NC Major: Philosophy, Politics, & Economics (PPE) + Chicane-Latinx Studies HELLO EVERYONE! My name is Luis Angel Mendoza (he/him), and I'm from Warsaw, North Carolina. I am a QuestBridge Scholar on the pre-law track, studying in the PPE (I can't do Economics for the life of me) program at CMC. I also study Chicane-Latinx Studies, which is a 5C major. You can find me studying (yapping) at the CARE Center, the Motley at Scripps, or the Chicane-Latinx Studies lounge at Pomona. On campus, I have been involved with CARE as a Fellow, Research Assistant for Gould and Keck, Tour Guide, Affinity Group Leader, and MUN (let me know if you have any questions). I also love playing volleyball (who's down to form an intramural volleyball team?), going to the village for some açaí at Ubatuba (better than Pepo Melo), and looking mysterious around campus while listening to music. I can't wait to meet all of the Benson Baddies <3 Name: Eva Pruitt Dorm: Benson Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Phoenix, AZ Major: Philosophy, Politics, & Economics (PPE) + Philosophy Hi everyone! My name is Eva (she/her), and I’m super excited to be one of Benson’s RAs. I am from Phoenix, Arizona, and I am a dual major in philosophy and PPE with a sequence in legal studies. On campus, I’m one of our Mock Trial team directors, involved with the admissions office, and have loved working with our Philosophy department in research. One of my favorite parts about being a CMC student is going to the Ath! And my other favorite part of CMC is our friendliness, so please say hi if you see me around campus and stop by Benson anytime! I love hiking, reading, making art, listening to music, and being outside. I am also a huge fan of tea, so I'm looking forward to some tea nights in my open door hours :) I am super excited to meet all the Benson residents next year and build an awesome dorm community!! Name: Meg Birenbaum Dorm: Berger Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Charlotte, NC Major: Science Management Hey y'all! My name is Meg, and I am a Science Management major from Charlotte, NC. I am passionate about building community at CMC, and have strived to achieve this as the Vice President of campus organizations in ASCMC and a First Year Guide. I am also involved in Claremont Women in Business, and conduct research at Keck Science. I am a huge animal lover and grew up riding horses and teaching riding lessons. In my free time, I enjoy volunteering at Priceless Pets, going for walks, going to Roberts, or playing pickleball. I look forward to cultivating a fun and welcoming environment in Berger next year and getting to know my residents! Name: Eddie Wei Dorm: Berger Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Ames, IA Major: Economics + International Relations What’s up! I’m Eddie and I am excited to be one of the RAs of Berger Hall. I was born and raised in Ames, Iowa, and study economics and international relations here at CMC. When I’m not working in Poppa, you’ll probably catch me on the pickleball courts, speedrunning every NYTimes game (connections is my favorite!), or leading a campus tour. I also enjoy playing (winning) intramural grass volleyball, watching any law TV show, and cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones. Don’t be afraid to say hi if you see me skateboarding around campus — I’m super excited to get to know anyone I don’t already know and help make everyone’s time here at CMC extra special! Name: Colin Scanlon Dorm: Crown Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Sag Harbor, NY Major: Government + Film Studies Yo! My name is Colin and I am from Sag Harbor, Newww Yoooork. I am a Government and Film Studies dual major, as well as a hurdler for the Track and Field Team. When I’m not at Malott eating breakfast, I love to loiter, scream at the tv cause the Knicks are playing, get funky, discuss leadership battles in the House of Representatives, make obscure references, and to live, laugh, love. Come stop by my room (or else…) for a music recommendation, to overshare, or discuss changes you’d love to see in your community. Now let’s get out there and make a difference! Name: Kaavya Narayan Dorm: Crown Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA Major: Economics Hey everyone! My name is Kaavya Narayan, and I am so hyped to be one of the RA’s for Crown Hall this year. I am from Sunnyvale, California and studying Economics on the Pre-Med Track. If I’m not hanging out in Crown, you can find me losing my voice cheering on the Warriors, giving tours, doing research at KLI, watching the Bachelor, teaching dance at the local senior center, standing in the caprese sandwich line at Collins, or playing on the 5C Club Volleyball team. Can’t wait to hang out with you all soon and build an awesome Crown Hall family this school year!! P.S.--Anytime you see my co-RA Colin, feel free to tell him the Warriors are better than the Knicks :) Name: Mateo Colbert Dorm: Marks Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Santa Monica, CA Major: International Relations What's up! My name is Mateo and I'm from Santa Monica, CA. I'm super stoked to be the RA of Marks! I'm majoring in International Relations (and I studied abroad in Copenhagen). Some people peak in high school, others in college, I'm pretty sure I peaked in pre-school -- I miss nap time and juice boxes. On another note… I like watching TV shows, reading fantasy novels, and frolicking outside. Feel free to hit me up at any time and with any questions. I can’t wait to get to know y’all and plan some awesome events. For those returning to CMC: welcome back, and to y’all arriving for the first time, I’m excited to meet you! Name: Andrea Posada Dorm: Marks Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Dallas, TX Major: Government + Economics Hi! My name is Andrea Posada (she/they) and I’m from Dallas, Texas! At CMC, I’m dual-majoring in Government and Economics (heavy on the Gov) and currently I’m a CARE Fellow, a Student Manager at the Gould Center, and a student assistant at the Faculty Support Office in Kravis. I am beyond excited to be one of the RAs for Marks, and I look forward to creating a safe and fun community for everyone! I love crafting – which includes making collages, painting, making bracelets and embroidery. My favorite snack ever is açaí, specifically from Ubatuba in the village. On campus you can always find me at the CARE Center, the Gould Center, or in my room playing Animal Crossing. Feel free to drop by and chat about whatever, whenever :) I can’t wait to meet y’all!! Name: Ilma Turcios Dorm: Phillips Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Miami, FL Major: Economics + Government Hi! My name is Ilma and I am SO excited to be Phillips’ RA. I’m Honduran but grew up in Miami, FL, and am an Economics and Government dual major. On campus, I’m a CARE Fellow and have also worked with the Keck and Salvatori Centers as a Research Assistant and at the Mgrublian Center as a Student Assistant. I’m a huge fan of cats, coffee, art, squishmallows, and music. In my free time, I love writing, reading, listening to music, and hanging out with friends–––which I hope to do with my residents. Around campus, you can find me at the CARE center or using up all my Flex at the Motley. I can't wait to meet and get to know all you beautiful people!!! Name: Daphne Achilles Dorm: Valach Hall (Mid Quad) Hometown: Boise, ID Major: Government + Chemistry Hey y’all! I’m Daphne, I’m a Government and Chemistry major on the Pre-Med track, and I currently call Boise (Boy-see iykyk), Idaho home. I’m so excited to be the Valach RA next year! I can’t wait to host movie and baking nights (Valach has the one kitchen on campus). I am an amateur baker, but would love to hone my skills this upcoming year (If anyone has a tried-and-true gluten-free sourdough recipe, I’m all ears). On campus, I am a peer health ambassador, co-president of CCEMS (I’m an EMT), and I do research in Keck about parasitic infections in local species. Outside of school and extracurriculars, I love spending my free time outside whether it’s hiking, skiing, or rock-climbing! Come stop by and say hi! SOUTH QUAD Name: Perce Alvarez Dorm: Auen Hall (South Quad) Hometown: Riverside, CA Major: Media Studies Hey Everybody! My name is Perce (they/he) and I'm excited to be one of the Auen RA's! I'm a Media Studies major with a passion for film and animation. On campus, I've worked with the Hive, QRC, and Gould Center on a variety of design projects for queer expression and affinity-focused work. If you've ever seen someone running around the 5C's like a headless chicken with a bell-boy job that was probably me trying to get to class on time. I've been told I'm a bit too passionate about Just Dance but if you're ever looking for a fun challenge feel free to pull up with Rasputin and a Wii controller. All that aside, I am really excited to form new connections with my residents and the CMC community. Name: Eduardo Mellado Jacinto Dorm: Auen Hall (South Quad) Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Major: Economics + Data Science Hi everyone! My name is Eduardo and I’m from Los Angeles, CA. I’m a senior dual majoring in Economics and Data Science (fun combo but at times too many numbers). On campus I’m involved in SOURCE Nonprofit Consulting (best org on campus!) and you’ll catch me attending 5C Latinx in Tech events. When I’m not busy I like to watch sports (tbh any sport), play video games, try new places at the village, or go out for a coffee. I’m excited to be one of the RA’s for Auen and am looking forward to getting to know all of you. Feel free to reach out if you need anything and say hi if you see me around! Name: France Ferreira Dorm: Fawcett Hall (South Quad) Hometown: Bronx, NY Major: History Hi everyone! My name is France Ferreira (she/her/ella) and I am from the Bronx, NY majoring in History. I spend most of my time on campus at the Chicano Latinx Student Association building, or in my room! I love anime, baseball and coffee, so if anyone ever comes over, I will offer a cup of coffee while watching a baseball game or an anime. I just spent my junior year studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea, so if anyone would love to chat about studying abroad, please feel free to contact me or find me in my room! I can't wait to get to meet you all and hopefully, we can have a great year! Name: Stuart McCallum Dorm: Fawcett Hall (South Quad) Hometown: Lexington, MA Major: Economics-Accounting with an MA in Finance Hello! My name is Stuart McCallum. I grew up in Massachusetts, but I’ve really enjoyed the weather in Southern California. I’m studying Econ-Accounting and Finance here at CMC. On campus, I’m part of the CMS Stags Basketball team and the Romero Success Coaches. Outside of my on campus-commitments, I am a board game enthusiast who loves playing Settlers of Catan and a food lover who enjoys both cooking and eating. I love watching all levels of Basketball, especially #d3hoops and the NBA (I am still very much pro-Celtics and anti-Lakers). I’m really excited to live in South Quad for the first time this year in the luxurious Fawcett Hall penthouse. I look forward to meeting and getting to know each of the Fawcett residents! Name: Brenna Bell Dorm: Stark Hall (South Quad) Hometown: Murrieta, CA Major: Environment, Economics, & Politics (EEP) Hi! I’m Brenna Bell. I’m a volleyball player, research assistant, Coastal Caretaker club president, CMS recreational worker, and now RA! If you want help getting involved on campus, I’m your gal. I’m majoring in Environment, Economics, and Politics, with a minor in Data Science. I love meeting people and helping out! You’ll probably be seeing a lot of boba, crafts, holiday events, and gaming tournaments in stark soon. I love to get outside and play sports of all kinds. If you’re ever feeling brave, challenge me to a ping pong match in Stark! I have two lovely cats at home named Gandalf and Strider. But I love all animals! Especially those underwater. Name: Kenshin Ueoka Dorm: Stark Hall (South Quad) Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand + Kyoto, Japan Major: Environment, Economics, & Politics (EEP) + Data Science Sequence Hi, I’m Kenshin Ueoka, an Environment, Economics, and Politics Major with a Data Science Sequence. I was born in Japan and grew up in Thailand — CMC is my third home. I’m a Graphite Group Consultant and Romero Success Coach on campus, so feel free to talk to me about anything academic, pre-professional, or personal! Around campus, you might hear me making noise on the Stark lounge piano or on Taiko drums with the 5C Shogo Taiko Club. Aside from that, I love racket sports, golf, boba, photography, and all things anime! I’ve lived in Stark since my sophomore year and loved every minute of it. Let’s go for a game of table tennis, pool, or badminton! APARTMENTS Name: Adamaris Sanchez Dorm: Alexan Kendry Apartments Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Major: Economics-Accounting Hello! Hola! My name is Adamaris Sanchez, an Econ-Accounting major originally from Los Angeles, CA. I am thrilled to be one of the Alexan Kendry RAs this year and look forward to fostering a supportive and inclusive community on and off campus. On campus I am President of the Ballet Folklorico Club de Claremont, a 5C cultural dance performance group! Besides dancing and performing, I enjoy exploring new places with my daughter Everly, studying at my favorite coffee shop Tierra Mia (highly recommend, especially their muffins), and volunteering at early education centers or organizations that serve low-income or first-generation students. I can’t wait to meet everyone and foster meaningful connections with my residents and fellow RAs! Name: Nelly Haley Dorm: Alexan Kendry Apartments Hometown: Chicago Major: Government + Psychology Hey y’all, I'm so honored to be one of your RAs at CMC! I love community building and interacting with new people. I'm a huge fan of movies/tv shows, books, and music. My idea of a good time is lots of laughs and just making new memories. I love to chat so be prepared for me to talk your ear off. I'm so excited to plan fun dorm events for you guys! Please know I'm here for you all and I hope I can help make campus feel a little more like home. Name: Matt Meredith Dorm: Student Apartments Hometown: Orinda, CA Major: Economics-Accounting Hey everyone! My name is Matt, I'm from Orinda, CA, and I will be one of the RAs at the Student Apartments this year! I'm an economics-accounting major, also pursuing a sequence in data science. In my free time, I love spending time outdoors, reading books, and playing or watching a variety of sports. I am also part of the CMS men's basketball team. My favorite part of CMC has been all of the amazing people I have been able to meet and spend time with. I'm excited to be able to help spread that positive community at the Student Apartments and throughout campus. I'm always down to chat and connect with new people, so please don't hesitate to reach out! I'm excited for a great year! Name: Gio Pierre Dorm: Student Apartments Hometown: Woburn, MA Major: Philosophy, Politics, & Economics (PPE) Hi! My name is Gio Pierre, and I am a philosophy, politics, and economics major from Woburn, MA. I am beyond excited to be an RA at the student apartments this year. My favorite part of my time at CMC by far has been the community. I cannot wait to build a tight-knit community at the apartments and continue to contribute to the wider CMC community. You can catch me playing my guitar or watching the Celtics in my room. I'm looking forward to what the year has in store! Name: Claire Vlases Dorm: Student Apartments Hometown: Bozeman, MT Major: Computer Science + Ethics Hi! I'm so excited to be your RA this year. My door is always open. I love going to the botanical gardens, being outside in the sunshine, and eating cookies. Catch me at art club, ski club, and coding club! I do love to hit the clubs. I hope to plan a lot of fun events, so let me know if you have any suggestions. I’m so lucky to live in the best community with the best people. :) Let’s make senior year unforgettable! Name: Xristina Zogopoulou Dorm: Student Apartments Hometown: Preveza, Greece Major: International Relations + Psychology Hey everyone! My name is Xristina and I come from a tiny town in Greece called Preveza. I am a dual International Relations and Psychology major and I will be one of the RAs at the student apartments. I am excited to meet everyone I haven't interacted with yet or reconnect with the ones I have! I love dancing, traveling, and hanging out with people!  Looking forward to an amazing year, my door is always open for you!

  • Activism and the Claremont Colleges

    In a recent article for The Forum, Henry Long argues that student activism is incompatible with the liberal arts. Specifically, he suggests that protests such as those sweeping the Claremont Colleges this Spring “distract from the university’s role as a truth-seeking institution and undermine liberal education.” I hold Long in the highest regard and sympathize with his characterization of “the liberal arts” as a mode of education that once existed at elite institutions of higher education, but his comments are ill-suited to the context of the Claremont Colleges. Despite their classification as liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, the Claremont Colleges do not conform to the standards Long sets for institutions of liberal education. Therefore, while his discussion of the incompatibility of student activism and the liberal arts is fascinating, it has no bearing on how the Claremont Colleges or its students should conduct themselves, lest we wholly restructure the colleges to turn them into true embodiments of liberal education. Claremont McKenna College’s mission is to “prepare its students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership in business, government, and the professions.” Though it purports to be a liberal arts college, its stated mission explicitly considers – and urges – the practical application of what students learn during their undergraduate education. By specifically referencing leadership in government, the college endorses the political application of the CMC education. In no way, shape, or form does the college’s mission align with Long’s description of “disinterested study” or the pursuit of education as an end in itself rather than a means to achieve some other, possibly political, end. CMC’s history aligns with its practical mission. CMC was founded in the wake of World War II to train veterans for leadership in business and government. CMC taught history, philosophy, literature, arts, and sciences, aiming to “produce graduates able to apply lessons from not only business and government courses” but a wide range of sources. Even at the college’s inception, its curriculum was designed to be applied in graduates’ future endeavors. Education was never CMC’s ultimate end. Furthermore, Long should accept this characterization of CMC. In an October article for The Forum, he noted himself that CMC’s pre-professional emphasis and motto challenge its status as a practitioner of “the special project of the liberal arts.” Like CMC, the Claremont Colleges at large fail to live up to Long’s standards for liberal education. Even Pomona College, probably the most widely regarded as a liberal arts college out of the five undergraduate schools, emphasizes the importance of its graduates contributing as “the next generation of leaders, scholars, artists and engaged members of society” in its mission. A true embodiment of liberal arts education, as Long defines it, does not demand engagement with society – it demands a retreat from it. Scripps College’s mission specifically aims to give graduates the tools to “contribute to society through public and private lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity.” Furthermore, as a women’s college, Scripps values and pursues gender equality in broader society through its role as an institution of higher education. A practitioner of liberal education per Long’s definition would shy away from such a learning for the sake of doing approach. Harvey Mudd College’s mission is to produce “engineers, scientists and mathematicians who… have a clear understanding of the impact their work has on society,” not only indicating a clear pre-professional goal but also urging HMC graduates to apply what they learn as undergraduates to their later careers. Finally, Pitzer College has five core values, one of which is social responsibility, which the college describes as recognizing “individual responsibility in making the world better.” Pitzer also promulgates official community values, including putting their commitments into action. Clearly, none of the five colleges embody liberal education as Long describes it. They all concern themselves with how students will act upon what they learn in practical ways. And they are not alone. Scholars and journalists have long reported on the decline of the liberal arts in the United States, positing a wide range of explanations. Higher education is expensive. Possibly, the prospect of learning for the sake of learning with no consideration of future practical, professional, or political outcomes is a luxury a critical mass of American college students can no longer afford. Possibly, the political quandaries of our time are pressing and existential, making students feel obligated to apply their learned talents to ameliorating what they see as grave problems. No matter the explanation, liberal arts is declining, in Claremont and across the country. Where does this leave us? Long argues that student activism is “antithetical to liberal education,” but liberal education is honestly not what we do here. We would be fooling ourselves to think otherwise. Long’s analysis of the relationship between political agitation and the liberal education project may be sound. Nonetheless, arguing against student protest without also arguing against every other way in which we depart from the Platonic ideal of the liberal arts college would be inconsistent and futile. The Claremont Colleges are not going to roll back their pre-professional emphasis or their initiatives to train leaders. Why, then, should they single out student activism as the particular departure from liberal education they need to eliminate?

  • ASCMC Passes Resolution Calling for Revision of 7C Demonstration Policy

    On Monday evening, the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) passed a resolution calling for the revision of the Claremont Colleges demonstration policy. The header summarizes the major points of the resolution: On April 5, 2024, Pomona College’s administration called for the arrest of Claremont Colleges students as they exercised their right to free speech and assembly in support of divestment from ‘Israeli apartheid and weapons manufacturing.’ We condemn the escalation of violence on campus by Pomona College and the administration’s subsequent institutional retaliation due to their chilling impact on discourse, free speech, and the principles of Open Academy. We also reject the use of police due to their presence causing particular risk for Black, Indigenous, brown, Undocumented, and other students. In light of these findings, we call for the 7C Demonstration Policy and CMC FAQs to be revised to protect students’ right to protest and speech. Of the 14 senators who voted, there were 11 votes in favor of the resolution and 3 in opposition. In the coming week, the resolution will be sent out to the CMC student body to vote on whether to support the resolution. The results of the vote will be transmitted to the Dean of Students Office, who will decide whether to take further action.

  • Poet Laureate Reflects on Being a "First"

    Two-term Poet Laureate and Time Magazine Women of the Year Ada Limón spoke at the Atheneum on February 27th. Speaking on her impact as Poet Laureate, Limón said “because it is sort of a nonpartisan role, you can't advocate for policy.” Nonetheless, she describes herself as “as a political activist,” and shared, “I think of myself as someone who's an artistic activist in my poems.” Nonpartisanship does not prevent her from saying what she means in her poetry. She said, “my politics have always been really open and on the page, and, if you read all six of my books, you pretty much know how I felt.” When you Google “Ada Limón,” one of the first phrases you’ll find is “first Latina Poet Laureate.” When asked about the potential pressure she felt being a first, she said “it's sort of heartbreaking that a first even has to exist.” Limón acknowledged the prevalence of trauma dumping in the works of authors of color. The fact is that trauma sells, and publishers often require trauma dumping from rising writers from minority backgrounds. Limón commented on this phenomenon: “I think it's tricky because we live in a society that monetizes everything, and we also live in a society that would like to keep us all siloed and separate in boxes that we can understand.” But emphasis on identity can be limiting to authors of color. Limón discussed the challenge of meeting publishers’ expectations for what Latina representation should look like. People often expect (or even demand) Latina writers to produce memoirs about their border experiences. “Well, I never crossed the border,” she said. She added, “I'm always very, very cautious when I'm asked to perform my identity… because it's hard to stop once you’ve started.” She concluded her discussion on race and literature saying, “There’s a lot of responsibility with holding that ‘first Latina’ title because I want to make my ancestors proud… But in the same way, I want to show identity as endless possibilities and not as a container for something that people are safe around.” An assignment from NASA prompted Limón to reflect on if and how she could represent all of humanity through her work. On October 10th, NASA will release a space-probe, the Europa Clipper, from the Kennedy Space Center which is decorated with Limón’s poem: “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa.” During a small discussion at the Gould Center, Limón joked that the 4th grade reading level requirement for the poem was because NASA assumed aliens couldn’t read past a 4th grade level. With a project assignment like this one, Limón was tasked with creating a message from humanity as a whole. She struggled producing this poem. She explained, “I don’t like to work with the word we” because “I'm always interrogating the we. We The People, who does that mean? Does that mean women? Does it mean people that look like me?” She realized she “had to shift my relationship with the word we” because “when I was writing the poem, I realized it was [truly] a we—it's those of us on this planet.” She reflects, “I was focusing so much on the assignment and doing a good job because it was for NASA, that I forgot to write a poem I actually liked.” When a student asked about her writing process generally and how committed she is to a topic beforehand, Límon responded, “things that you already know for certain, generally, aren't the best subjects for poetry because you have to ask to reveal something to yourself.” Límon said poetry is similar to science because “even when you do get any kind of answer, it just leads to more questions.” She warned against trying to explain a poem using the author’s biography, saying sometimes a poem “wash[es] over you” and advises to “let [the poem] be an experience or a feeling or a total shift, as opposed to having to elucidate it.” She reflected on poetry as craft saying “I've always felt that poetry is the voice underneath the voice. Like it's for me, the truest voice that I have.”

  • Activism and the Liberal Arts

    On April 5, 2024, about twenty students occupied Pomona President Gabrielle Starr’s office in Alexander Hall. On April 6, 2017, exactly seven years before the final activists were released from the Claremont Jail, about 250 protestors obstructed the entrance of Claremont McKenna College’s Athenaeum to prevent author Heather MacDonald from speaking. Campus protests like these are deeply American. Since the free speech movement at Berkeley in the 1960s, students have leveraged free assembly to advocate for myriad causes, resorting to civil disobedience where protected expression has failed. But might protests distract from the university’s role as a truth-seeking institution and undermine liberal education? David Corey explains that liberal education involves the study of subjects like “history, science, physics, music, and art as ends in themselves” rather than as a means to some practical, professional, or political end. In other words, liberal education is liberal because it is freed from practical concerns. Elizabeth Corey argues that when universities prioritize activism, they regard education as “a vehicle for the intellectual and moral transformation of society” rather than as an end in itself. At such universities, she writes, “students arrive with views already formed, ready to get the diploma that will allow them to go out and act as agents of social change.” Two recent op-eds in The Student Life (TSL) condemn Pomona for infringing activists’ “​​right to free speech.” Beyond conflating civil disobedience and protected speech, the authors misunderstand the purpose of campus free expression. Free expression commitments are meant to promote the fearless pursuit of truth in the classroom—not to indulge megaphones and megalomania on the campus quad. For this reason, Claremont Colleges policies include content-neutral restrictions on protests that are peaceful but disruptive to the academic mission of the colleges. Moreover, walk-outs and sit-ins are not particularly educational. Regardless of the activists’ cause, demonstrations that involve skipping class or occupying educational facilities distract from liberal education. Both TSL writers object, instead claiming that activism is essential to liberal education. They insist that liberal education is vain if classroom learning is not applied into practical action through “praxis.” But the invocation of “praxis” betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the liberal arts project. “Praxis,” originally a Greek term used by Aristotle, was co-opted by Karl Marx and later by Paulo Freire. Those who invoke praxis in relation to education reveal themselves—whether knowingly or unknowingly—as disciples of Freire. In his seminal work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire writes that “only men are praxis, the praxis which, as the reflection and action which truly transform reality, is the source of knowledge and creation.” Since praxis continually shapes reality and is the source of knowledge, “education is thus constantly remade in the praxis.” Under this view, education is and only ought to be a medium for actively reshaping the world. Freire’s pedagogy aims at liberation—albeit a very different kind of liberation than the one offered by liberal education. Freire understands liberation as a continual struggle towards the removal of external limitations on human self-affirmation. According to Freire, nothing is constant except the eternal struggle for liberation. History has no final horizon, and there is no telos or final end for the human person. David Corey writes that Paulo Freire’s model of “liberation education is rapidly replacing the older educational tradition known as liberal education.” While liberal education focuses on knowledge insofar as it is intrinsically valuable, liberation education focuses on knowledge insofar as it is instrumentally valuable in the fight for liberation. But if, as Freire admits, the Sisyphean struggle for liberation is endless, the value of knowledge can never be realized. As such, while activism may indeed be a noble pursuit, it is a pursuit antithetical to liberal education. Liberal education and disinterested study demand a modicum of separation from the concerns of daily life. Activism renders education a mere means of prolonging the quotidian quest for political liberation. Back in 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, Claremont Colleges faculty voted to cancel classes amidst escalating student protests. Harry Neumann, a philosophy professor at Scripps, continued to hold class. When a faculty member asked whether Neumann would ever close the university, Neumann replied, “when all the answers to all the important questions have been found, then it would be appropriate to close the university, and for all the people who have all the answers to all the important questions, the university is already closed.” Let us not prematurely close the university, for there is still much learning to do.

  • Author of "Wild" Selected as Commencement Keynote Speaker

    On April 9th, CMC announced Cheryl Strayed as the keynote speaker for this year’s commencement ceremony. Strayed is best known for her 2012 New York Times bestseller, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. The book’s cultural impact ramped up quickly, landing a coveted spot in Oprah’s 2012 book club, but reached its zenith in 2014 when the film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon yielded Academy nominations and box office success. Ten years later, as CMC’s class of 2024 prepares to celebrate and commemorate college graduation, Strayed is poised to impart her wisdom on resilience and redemption to hundreds of listeners contemplating the next steps of their lives. Cheryl Strayed is an American writer and podcast host. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and earned a master of fine arts degree from Syracuse University. Her debut novel, Torch, chronicled a family’s response to sudden grief and caught critics’ attention, becoming a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award and earning a spot on The Oregonian’s annual top ten book list. After the success of her 2012 memoir, Wild, Strayed’s career shifted toward nonfiction and autobiography. Later in 2012, she published Tiny Beautiful Things, a collection of essays she had originally written for online magazines under a pseudonym. The collection, a combination of self-help, personal essays, and pop philosophy, was widely successful and became the basis of a 2023 Hulu series. In 2015, Strayed published Brave Enough, a collection of short quotes and quips, reflecting her newfound role as an inspirational figure and her growing personal fame. From 2017 to 2018, Strayed co-hosted “Dear Sugars,” an advice podcast based on “radical empathy.” In 2020, she hosted “Sugar Calling,” a New York Times podcast in which Strayed asked older writers to share their wisdom with her and her audience. But Strayed is still best known for her book, Wild. What is Wild? Fans of Gilmore Girls might recognize the name from A Year in the Life and Lorelai’s decision to recreate Strayed’s trek. The memoir describes Strayed’s 1995 experience hiking 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT runs from Mexico to Canada, passing through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington and traversing 25 national forests and seven national parks. The hike is renowned for its difficulty, with 489,000 feet of elevation gain and conditions ranging from arid desert to snowy peaks. Strayed undertook the physical and emotional challenge of the PCT with no hiking experience. Strayed was reeling from the loss of her mother to lung cancer, a divorce precipitated by her own infidelity and drug use, and a feeling of disconnection with who she was and who her late mother had taught her to be. At age 26, she threw herself into the challenge of the PCT as a last ditch effort to work through what seemed like insurmountable barriers. “What if all those things I did were the things that got me here?” That’s how Reese Witherspoon, portraying Strayed, narrates the end of her journey as she emerges from the forest and reenters society. In many ways, that’s the message of Wild. We all make choices and face circumstances that make us feel lost, but feeling utterly lost prompts us to find ourselves. Not a particularly groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of human nature. Nonetheless, Strayed emphasizes the importance of being wild, which she describes as being one’s “most savage self.” Being wild was unsustainable, and her humbling path not away from wilderness but through it led Strayed to acceptance of the facts of her life. She accepted that parents die, that people suffer, that hearts break, that things are difficult. Far away from civilized society with nothing to do but keep walking, she realized that one always has to keep walking – whether in the forest, desert, city, or anywhere where hardship exists. What can Strayed offer to CMC graduates and their families? Graduating college is a critical juncture. It marks a shift in identity from student to something unknown. The process of discovering that unknown is sure to be a trying experience for many members of the class of 2024, many of whom may feel lost in a transitional state. Presumably, Strayed will remind us all to “keep walking.”

  • Points-Based Migr"eh"tion in Canada

    Canadian immigration policy and the Canadian public’s perceptions of migrants are widely touted as an honorable example of welcoming migrants and embracing multiculturalism, one that other immigrant-receiving states ought to follow. At first glance, Canada’s points-based immigration system for highly skilled and educated workers seems objective, meritocratic, and fair. Upon further examination, however, Canada’s scrupulous evaluation of immigrants is no model for equality. Creating the appearance of legitimacy through its quantitative methodology, the points-based system uses educational and professional attainment as new excuses for discrimination, creating a vulnerable, second-class tier of immigrants who enjoy far fewer rights and protections. Canada rates prospective migrants through the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Applicants receive CRS scores out of a maximum 1200 points. Candidates can receive up to 500 points for core human capital factors, including age, educational level, language proficiency, and Canadian work experience. Candidates can receive up to 100 points for skill transferability factors, including educational or professional ties to Canada or similar environments. Then, candidates can receive up to 600 additional points for other advantages like being nominated by a Canadian province or having a pre-arranged employment opportunity in Canada. The Canadian government does not publish an official figure of a minimum CRS score applicants require to stand a reasonable chance of acceptance. When Canada’s points-based immigration system was implemented in 1967, it was applauded as a departure from the country’s previous overtly racist policies. The 1966 White Paper of Immigration that led to the points-based system stated plainly that the selection of immigrants “must involve no discrimination by reason of race, color, or religion.” Factors like education and skill were “universally applicable” ways to screen migrants, according to the White Paper. In this way, the points-based system differed from earlier policies, which used literacy tests in English and French to prevent Southern European migrants from entering the country. This system would select migrants based on supposed merit rather than on the basis of ethnic preferences. Given that educational access and professional experience are often unequally distributed across gender, race, and class, how can Canada purport to select migrants on demographically neutral grounds? Perhaps the implementation of the points-based system is better understood as a shift from de jure to de facto discrimination rather than as a revolutionary transition to equality. Proponents of Canada’s policy would likely defend the system against this claim by highlighting that the points-based system increased migrant diversity with respect to region of origin. However, I am not disputing the fact that the points-based system expanded the range of so-called desirable migrants to include migrants outside of Western Europe. Every country has an educated and professional elite that can benefit from the Canadian points-based system. My argument is rather that the points-based system does discriminate against those who lack educational and professional resources across the globe and that this discrimination is getting more severe. Whereas the original points-based system had relatively meager educational requirements, reforms enacted through the 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act put even greater emphasis on formal education and professional skills than before, making the threat of de facto discrimination even more potent. The gender disparities that result from the points-based system are just one example of the policy’s discriminatory impact. Under the points-based system, primary applicants are those who submit themselves – and their qualifications – to scoring, whereas secondary applicants are typically the primary applicants’ spouses or long-term partners who would accompany the primary applicants into Canada. Feminist scholars highlight that “the distribution of primary applicant skilled migration visas … is skewed in favor of men,” with one study reporting that almost 75 percent of primary applicants to the points-based system were male. This reflects the unequal access of women across the globe to formal education and skilled employment. In addition to this gender disparity, it is likely that the policy also discriminates against people with other demographic characteristics, like low socioeconomic status, that impact their access to educational and professional experience. The points-based system’s problems do not stop here. In addition to determining who succeeds as a primary applicant to the federal high-skilled worker program, the points-based system enables and legitimates comparatively poor treatment of migrants who do not enter Canada as highly educated and highly skilled members of the economy. It creates a second-class tier of migrants who are trapped in unfair relations of dependence due to Canadian migration policy. As education expert Stuart Tannock highlights, education-based discrimination denies uneducated migrants access to civil rights and social protections. The points system legitimates Canada’s differential treatment toward “deserving” and “undeserving” migrants. Most low-skilled migrants enter Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). While the TFWP includes both high- and low-skilled migrants who share temporary status, the program’s benefits are stratified by education and skill. High-skilled workers attain work visas easily or in some cases require no work visas at all; they are permitted to bring dependents and spouses into Canada with them; they broadly enjoy more rights than low-skilled workers despite their shared temporary status. On the other hand, low-skilled workers are unable to bring spouses or dependents into Canada with them. They are bound to their Canadian employers and denied access to the general labor market. They are subject to deportation if they lose their jobs, creating an unequal, unbalanced relationship of dependence between low-skilled migrants and their employers. They are unlikely to speak out against unfair labor practices given their utter reliance on their employers for their legal authorization to remain in Canada, which leaves them vulnerable to abuse. A similar relationship of dependence exists between primary and secondary applicants to the high-skilled worker program. When Canada permits a primary and secondary applicant pair to enter the country through the points-based migration system, Canadian authorities expect the couple to remain together for a significant period of time. From the government’s perspective, this policy prevents the use of “sham” marriages to circumvent migration restrictions. However, this policy creates a position of dependence between secondary applicants – who are commonly women – and their primary applicants – who are commonly men. Women whose legal authorization to remain in Canada depends on their continued relationship with their spouses have limited bargaining power in their relationships and experience coercion to remain with their spouses. While the policy makes some exceptions for secondary applicants suffering from domestic abuse, it is likely that many women who enter Canada as secondary applicants are stuck in relationships that are abusive or unequal in nature. The Canadian points-based migration system has many benefits, I admit. Canada is facing a labor shortage due to the death of many skilled workers, and its points-based system to admit highly qualified workers is a significant boon to its economy, allowing Canada to benefit from other countries’ investments in these migrants' education and professional development. 85 percent of Canadians believe migration to be positive to their economy. In stark contrast, only 39 percent of Americans believe migration benefits the American economy. This gap in public opinion is almost certainly related to the different roles of merit in the two countries’ migration schemes. While the Canadian system may be good at channeling economic benefits to Canadian citizens, it is not just enough to be worthy of its international acclaim. The model is clearly unequal – it reflects and exacerbates existing inequalities in the distribution of educational and professional resources. Not only does it accept primary applicants who have already benefited from educational and professional resources; it then grants those migrants the myriad educational and professional benefits Canada has to offer, potentially widening the gap between the global elite and the rest of the world. Furthermore, it creates dangerous relations of dependence in employer-employee relationships and romantic relationships. Canadian migration policy subjects the country’s second-class migrants to significant threats of abuse by those who wield power over them. The system’s meritocratic methodology makes the unequal treatment of different migrants seem legitimate and allows many members of the public to overlook the state’s morally reprehensible treatment of unskilled workers and secondary applicants. The Canadian public is overwhelmingly positive about migration. It is not clear why Canada’s treatment of some migrants as second-class is a necessary condition for the public’s continued support of migration policy. To become deserving of all its international praise, Canada should leverage public support for migration to justify its advocacy for and protection of all migrants, not just those with degrees.

  • "Stop Cop City"

    15 million people protested after the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020. Less than three weeks later, protests erupted in Atlanta after police killed Rayshard Brooks. These protests led to the proposal of Cop City, a $90 million, 85-acre police training facility to be built in Atlanta’s Weelaunee Forest. Two-thirds of Cop City’s funding comes from corporations like Delta, Waffle House, and Home Depot, which view Cop City as vital to protecting their property interests. These donations are eerily reminiscent of corporate donations of millions of dollars to militarize New York police during the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Cop City better resembles a military training facility than a police training facility. It includes explosive testing areas, shooting ranges, a Black Hawk helicopter landing pad, and a mock city to practice urban warfare. Georgia police are already dangerously over-militarized, having received tens of millions of dollars worth of military equipment, including 2,700 military rifles and hundreds of armored vehicles. In Georgia, police departments that received military equipment killed four times as many people as departments that did not – likely because militarized police see themselves as combatants, not public servants. The correlation between military equipment and killings holds even after accounting for potential confounding variables like crime rates and poverty. Cop City will cause even more police brutality by teaching police advanced crowd control methods, like using tear gas, and training police to view citizens as enemies. Moreover, many areas outside of Georgia will be impacted as 43% of police trainees will come from out of state. Cop City also contributes to environmental racism. The city is building the complex in Weelaunee Forest, which is near the majority-Black southeastern part of Atlanta. Cop City will destroy much of the forest, which absorbs as much as 19 million pounds of air pollutants annually. The complex will also pollute the South River as toxic metals from munitions seep into it. Because affluent white communities can lobby the government to not place environmental hazards in their communities, the brunt of Cop City’s environmental impacts will affect Black communities. Stop Cop City organizers have good reason to protest, but Atlanta’s response has been violent and authoritarian. In January, climate protests occupied Weelaunee Forest to stall the construction of Cop City. Georgia State Patrol troopers responded by raiding the protesters, including Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, an activist known by the name Tortuguita. Police shot Tortuguita 57 times, claiming that Tortuguita had fired at them first, but autopsies later revealed that Tortuguita did not have gunpowder residue on their hands and had been sitting with their hands in the air. Later, three protesters put up flyers alerting residents that Officer Jonathan Salcedo was involved in killing Tortuguita. Police arrested all three, and Charley Tennenbaum, their leader, was charged with intimidation of a police officer, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Police have arrested over one hundred additional protesters, including 42 people charged with domestic terrorism and 61 people charged with racketeering. The indictments are unfounded. For example, the racketeering indictments portray the grassroots organization Defend the Atlanta Forest as a criminal enterprise. This designation means that anyone involved in it can be indicted, including for acts as simple as getting reimbursed for protest supplies. Prosecutors know the indictments are ridiculous, but their goal is not to win the cases. Instead, they mean to illegally hamstring the movement by arresting its most dedicated activists and intimidating anyone who might join them. Stop Cop City protesters need to get 15% of Atlanta’s registered voters, or fifty-eight thousand people, to sign their petition to put Stop Cop City on the ballot. Considering the mayor of Atlanta got the votes of only 11% of registered voters, 15% is no easy threshold. Stop Cop City has more than enough signatures, with over 116,000 so far. The city has responded by desperately trying to deny voters a say. They have instituted a signature-matching process to disenfranchise petition signers for tiny deviations in their signature, and they have attempted to have the referendum ruled invalid in court. This year, Atlanta is spending a third of its general fund, or $235.7 million, on police. Shockingly, that figure includes none of the $90 million being spent to militarize police via Cop City. Atlanta echoes the outrageous police budgets of other cities around the country. Cop City is only the subset of a larger system dedicated to preserving mass incarceration and racial hierarchy. However, a victory here would spell a major victory for the criminal justice reform movement and democracy. The effects would reverberate by motivating people to protest mass incarceration and police brutality in their communities. Already, Stop Cop City is helping to motivate activists because the movement highlights everything wrong with the criminal justice system. Activists allege that police militarization and large police spending harms civil liberties and democracy. The violent and authoritarian crackdown on Stop Cop City protesters proves us right.

bottom of page