CLAREMONT INDEPENDENT VOLUME XXII, NUMBER 2 DECEMBER 2012
CLAREMONT INDEPENDENT table of contents.
Sexual violence policy: What CMC isn’t telling you
Our weekend in Dallas
Taylor Swift comes to the Claremont Colleges
Harwood Halloween: Parody or news?
California Proposition overview
Obama’s presidential mandate
Publisher Emeritus Michael Koenig
America needs an anti-war revival
Illustrator Simon Giloi
The mystique behind freshman honors sections
Staff Writers Aidan Fahnestock, Kyle Johnson, Derek Ko, Martin Sartorius, Becky Shin, Kyle Tanguay
Jon Huntsman: 2016?
Another perspective on Jon Huntsman
Are students the new face of party security?
Editor in Chief Marina Giloi Managing Editor William Mitchell Associate Editors Amelia Evrigenis Colin Spence Layout Editors Lynsey Chediak Tess Sewell Publisher Chris Gaarder Editors Emeriti Hannah Burak John-Clark Levin
Marina Giloi, CMC ‘14 Amelia Evrigenis, CMC ‘15
Amelia Evrigenis, CMC ‘15 & Chris Gaarder, CMC ‘15 Becky Shin, SCR ‘15
Amelia Evrigenis, CMC ‘15 Kyle Johnson, CMC ‘16 Colin Spence, CMC ‘15 Derek Ko, CMC ‘14
Marina Giloi, CMC ‘14
Chris Gaarder, CMC ‘15 Kyle Tanguay, CMC ‘15
Martin Sartorius, CMC ‘15
© Friends of the Claremont Independent. All rights reserved.
EDITORIAL by Marina Giloi
Editor in Chief
The CI has received criticism in the past for its focus on 5C administrative accountability and transparency, and for previous editors’ approaches to upholding those goals. With that acknowledged, I will say that, as a matter of personal opinion, not every administrative action deserves harsh evaluation. I still believe that the intentions of the student body, the professors, and the administration remain centered on the good of the community. However, issues that profoundly affect students’ lives are often catalyzed or altered by administrative actions. It is the duty of an independent publication such as the CI to fairly report on these issues even when nobody wants to talk about them, for the good of the student body. But why does nobody want to talk about them? As I said, I personally do not believe that it should be fully attributed to some ulterior motives on the administrations’ part. Yet various offices and departments continue to refuse our publication interviews, statements, and sometimes basic information regarding the colleges’ policies and procedures. Just in the process of publishing this issue, the CMC Dean of Students Office and the Admissions Office separately directed us to the
Office of Public Affairs. This sends a message that students do not deserve to hear about the issues most sensitive to them from those shaping and implementing the policies. By deferring us to the Office of Public Affairs, the administration not only denies students information but also lets a puppet office craft responses that do not reflect the accessibility and honesty that students deserve. It is an unfortunate cycle. By attempting to avoid critique and public attention, the administration deflects most of our attempts to inform students about important and controversial policies within the 5Cs. Yet this deflection forces us to shift our focus away from the policies themselves and onto the adminstration’s lack of response and accountability. The Claremont Independent does not exist solely for the platform of criticism. Yet when we are continually denied access to the information and voices behind changes and developments that we would be remiss in ignoring, an independent publication like ours, and sometimes our accompanying criticism, can be the only avenue to ensure that students are fully aware of the issues at hand. CI
Have something to say? Email a letter to the editor: email@example.com
SEXUAL VIOLENCE POLICY: WHAT CMC ISN’T TELLING YOU
by Amelia Evrigenis Associate Editor If a college or university is reluctant to discuss something, there is certainly a reason. During its faculty meeting on Friday, October 26, Claremont McKenna College introduced its new guide to CMC’s Civil Rights Policies and Civil Rights Grievance Procedures. The college has revised its procedures in response to an ultimatum from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights: the “Dear Colleague” letter, sent to all educational institutions within the United States that receive any form of federal funding. I sent a few emails to individuals within CMC’s staff asking for more information about the college’s revised policies, and was referred to the Dean of Students’ office. Dean Spellman, the Dean of Students at Claremont McKenna, informed me that if I wanted to interview her about the policy, my request would have to be cleared by the Office of Public Affairs. She informed me that all media requests must be referred to that office for approval. I have previously interviewed members of the Claremont McKenna staff, and was never informed of such a policy. I sent an email to the Office of Public Affairs requesting an interview with Dean Spellman about the new policy, and I offered to meet in person to discuss my intentions in writing an article on the topic. I received a response that requested that I send a list of the questions I wanted to ask. I obliged, and they told me they would get back to me. A couple days later, I asked to view a copy of the Dear Colleague Letter, and was again told that I would hear back. After ten days without notice from the Office of Public Affairs, I sent a follow-up email to inquire about the status of my request. It was not until our Editor-in-Chief Marina Giloi sent an email that I received a statement entitled “Regarding Title IX,” dated November 14, 2012. I was invited to keep checking in on the status of my interview request. I received no response regarding my request to view the Dear Colleague letter, which I later accessed from a professor. (The letter is also available on the Department of Education website.) Dated April 4, 2011, the Dear Colleague letter specifically addresses Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance.” The letter states that sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. The letter, which is now the law of the land, stipulates
numerous Title IX requirements to which educational institutions must adhere in regards to sexual harassment and violence. It requires that recipients adopt and publish grievance procedures providing “prompt and equitable” resolution of sex discrimination complaints. Title IX requires that recipients perform individual investigations of sexual harassment and sexual violence complaints. The Title IX investigation is distinct from that of law enforcement, and must be performed even if a law enforcement investigation occurs as well. The Dear Colleague letter requires that recipients now adopt a preponderance of the evidence standard to evaluate complaints in Title IX sexual violence investigations. The preponderance standard is met if, evidence considered, it appears more likely than not (a greater than 50% probability) that the sexual violence occurred. The letter explicitly rejects the clear and convincing standard, a higher burden of proof previously used by CMC and many other postsecondary institutions. The Dear Colleague letter rejects the clear and convincing standard on the grounds that it is “inconsistent with the standard of proof established for violations of the civil rights laws, and are thus not equitable under Title IX.” The Office of Civil Rights threatens to withdraw federal funding, including federal student aid, from recipients who do not comply with the grievance procedures detailed in the Dear Colleague letter. Thus, CMC’s new Civil Rights Policies and Civil Rights Grievance Procedures state, “Upon completion of the [sexual violence] hearing, the Board will meet... to determine an appropriate finding based on a preponderance of the evidence, either: 1. It is more likely than not that the alleged conduct did not occur and the Respondent is not responsible for violating College policy; or 2. It is more likely than not that the alleged conduct did occur and the Respondent is responsible for violating College policy.” The policy applies to all students, but not yet to faculty. The American justice system is rooted in the presumption of innocence and the common law premise that a wrongful conviction is a more repugnant than a wrongful acquittal. The Title IX grievance procedures are inconsistent with this premise. With a preponderance of the evidence standard, the potential for a false accusation to result in a false conviction of sexual violence is exponentially greater.
continued on page 13
OUR WEEKEND IN DALLAS by Chris Gaarder & Amelia Evrigenis
Publisher & Associate Editor
Over the weekend before the election, we attended the Collegiate Network Editors’ Conference with other conservative and libertarian college journalists in Dallas, Texas. It’s a shining city in the middle of nowhere, yet it feels like it’s on the cusp of a long, bright future. We were looking forward to a change in scene with a weekend in Texas, but got a lot more out of our trip. We spent the weekend with a hundred other college students from all over the country. They arrived from prestigious institutions like UCLA, Harvard and Stanford, and from colleges as obscure as Wabash, a men’s college in Indiana with two rival publications in attendance. We arrived Friday evening, had dinner and listened to a talk from the editor of The Dallas Morning News, but on Saturday, the conference really got under way. Throughout the weekend, we attended presentations by journalists from some of the nation’s most well-respected news publications. We participated in workshops on investigative journalism, social media management, editing, and fundraising. We swapped issues with the other attendees during our “networking” session, exchanging ideas and advice with the editors of similar publications. We returned from the Editors’ Conference ecstatic to share all we had learned from the weekend with the rest of the
CI staff, and to put that knowledge to good use in our future issues and in other aspects of the CI’s outreach. We’re laying the groundwork now, with the rollout of our Facebook page (facebook.com/ClaremontIndependent), digital editions of the CI (issuu.com/ClaremontIndependent), and the reinvigoration of our Twitter (twitter.com/cmontind), and that’s only the beginning. The Editors’ Conference, however, offered more than a lesson in journalism. After a weekend spent with relatively like-minded college students from around the country, one of our most important lessons was in witnessing the enormous intellectual diversity of those representing “the right” or “right of center.” While we stand united in our common support of freedom and individualism, what those terms mean, how they are implemented with relation to government, and the philosophical bases of those beliefs have near-infinite varieties. Some center their beliefs in an evangelical conservative perspective, which is radically different in nature from a Catholic conservative perspective; while others are libertarians of various kinds, National Review conservatives, self-described classic liberals, or modern mainstream conservatives. The diversity among young conservatives and libertarians that we witnessed at the conference bodes well for the movement’s future, in which the CI will certainly play an important role. CI
Featured Organization: THE CLAREMONT COLLEGE REPUBLICANS We are a collection of conservatives, libertarians and center-right independents at the 7 Claremont Colleges dedicated to promoting the beliefs and policy initiatives of the national Republican Party. We advocate for sound fiscal discipline and economic freedom, a robust national defense, personal liberties and an admiration of the Constitution and the efforts of the Founders. We assist students in becoming involved with local Republican grassroots organizations and campaigns. Current associates of ours include the Mountain View Republican Club, Donna Lowe for Assembly, and Jack Orswell for Congress. If you want to get involved, or would like more information, contact Aidan Fahnestock ‘14 (CMC) at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAYLOR SWIFT COMES TO THE CLAREMONT COLLEGES
by Becky Shin Staff Writer The curtain finally opened and there stood the six-time Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift, wearing an over-theknee cream dress and holding a sparkling silver guitar. On October 15, 2,000 students from the Claremont Colleges rushed to Pomona’s Big Bridges Auditorium to see Taylor Swift perform a free concert hosted by VH1’s Storytellers TV series in honor of Harvey Mudd, the winners of an online voting competition hosted by Chegg and Papa John’s. Harvey Mudd sophomores Travis Beckman and Yeahmoon Hong had quickly gathered students in the consortium to vote for Mudd via Facebook in mid-August. Beckman, an ardent Taylor Swift fan, came across a Twitter post from Swift advertising the Taylor On Campus Contest. He immediately started Facebooking and rallying support from professors and peers alike. Swift opened with her second best-selling single, “You Belong with Me.” The audience clapped and sang along as Swift swayed behind the microphone then walked to the side of the stage and blew her fans a kiss. The singer was surprisingly articulate when she introduced herself: “I’m Taylor. It’s nice to meet you. And it’s actually incredible to meet under these circumstances… This is unlike any show that I will ever play again or have ever played before.” Storytellers is a TV concert show in which music artists share stories and interact with the audience in an intimate setting. Swift described her frustrations, anxieties, the inspirations to the songs, and her reasons for writing music. As a program designed to give us insight into the artist’s life, fans were allowed to ask Swift questions between songs. Harvey Mudd student Maya asked, “So I was wondering, in your song ‘Mean’ you talk about those who have ever doubted your capability and your potential, but have you ever doubted yourself?” Without hesitation, Taylor replied, “Um I doubt myself like 400,000 times per 10 minute interval.” Swift made herself personable, open, and entirely relatable to fans just like her songs do. She shared her ridiculous fears, like that of spiders, and others that hit close to home like how she gets “scared of people getting tired of [her] in general.” Even though this was a TV show, Swift was honest. Swift switched out her guitar for a banjo and began to introduce the song about which she had been asked: “I wrote this song ‘Mean’ about a critic who, a critic who really really really strongly disliked me… This critic hated me, like hated, just like assault! Just one after the other like missiles. And I felt
really helpless and I felt like there was nothing I can do about this so I did what I always do, I went out into my lonely little corner and wrote a song about it.” Swift’s emotions and bullying circumstances are relatable and resonated with the audience, which is why she said, “I want to thank you for making this song into something bigger than just about a critic who hated me. Because we won two Grammys for this song!” She stepped aside from the microphone and triumphantly threw her right fist into the air. Swift also shared three songs from her new album, Red, including the title song, “Red.” As she settled down on the couch and the nylon lanterns brightened, she shared her perception of the color red. “The song that I wrote was about this relationship that I had that was like the worst thing ever and the best thing ever at the same time… Red is such an interesting color because you have the great part of red, like the red emotions like daring and bold and passion and love and affections and then you have, on the other side of the spectrum, anger and frustration and ‘you didn’t call me back’ and ‘I need space.’” Taylor sang another fan favorite, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and encouraged fans to throw their hands in the air during the crescendo-ing “we-e-e,” exactly as she had envisioned the song being sung. Her performance was perfect as she paused the song to mimic the ex boyfriend’s low and slightly unintelligent voice when saying “I still love you” with articulate facial expressions and hand motions. Her band stood still, including her sassy backup dancers, when Swift stopped, flung her arms out and said, “What?!” Many in the crowd who were not die-hard Taylor Swift fans developed a new girl crush that night as the classy and spunky star took the stage. She was extremely personal with fans, even bending down to give Travis Beckman a hug and a “hair kiss” as she called it, acknowledging him as the “ring leader” who spearheaded the entire operation to win the Chegg competition. Swift writes songs because they are “kind of like a message in a bottle… You write a song and you can send it out into the world and the person that you wrote about might hear it.” But in her lyrics, frustrated teenagers find comfort. Her tunes are what’s blasting out of car windows, the best background study music, and the ultimate way to relate a romance. Swift united the five colleges, students, and professors, through both the Storyteller competition’s voting process and the concert itself. CI
HARWOOD HALLOWEEN: PARODY OR NEWS?
by Amelia Evrigenis Associate Editor Last fall, I wrote a piece for the Claremont Independent covering the annual Harwood Halloween party at Pomona College. The article focused on efforts by the Associated Students of Pomona College to make the 2011 event safer and tamer than the Harwoods of previous years. Such efforts included a change in party location to the South Campus parking garage, the use of a “safe room” in Frank Dining Hall for serious cases of intoxication, and the distribution of free food to help students sober up. A few weeks after the article was published, I received an email from Apollo Morgan, a CMC alumus from the class of 2004, who introduced himself as a former Editor-in-Chief of the Claremont Independent. He said he had picked up our last issue and read my article. He then asked me a question that took me by surprise: “Please don’t take this question offensively, but is your story regarding Harwood Halloween a legitimate story or a parody? Either way, it’s very well done, but I’m far enough removed from student life in Claremont that I can’t tell whether a story in which Pomona’s administration discusses setting up flophouses-for-drunks is brilliant parody or jaw-dropping news.” Although I had employed a quasi-sarcastic tone in the article’s introduction, I’d never believed that the piece would be interpreted as actual parody. I responded to Morgan to clarify that yes, the article was actual news. Within two days I received another email from Morgan. He questioned the Pomona administration’s response to the student behavior at Harwood, specifically, the excessive alcohol consumption. “You gave the impression that Pomona was treating this sort of behavior as more or less normal, and something that the administration should adapt itself to rather than attempt to change. My favorite bit [of your article] - the part when I burst into uncontrollable laughter - was when someone said it was a good idea to provide food, but that it wasn’t a good idea to provide food that required utensils. Pomonkeys being too drunk to eat their crepes is the sort of behavior that has always been around, but used to make people ashamed and introspective, or at least pretend to be so for appearances.” As Morgan articulated, severe intoxication used to be something looked down upon by 5C students. It seems now that within the Claremont bubble, there is no shame about excessive intoxication, and for many, it is the rule rather than the exception on party nights.
It seems, also, that some 5C college administrations, as Morgan pointed out, treat this behavior as something which they should accommodate. Though we appreciate that Pomona makes Harwood safe for those who drink too much, making such serious accommodations for drunk students has the unintended consequence of enabling their actions, and so they continue. Ellie Ash-Bala, the Assistant Director of the Smith Campus Center and Student Programs at Pomona College, explains that this year’s Harwood, in terms of safety and alcohol consumption, improved since last year, but just slightly: “In terms of student safety and conduct, this year was a bit better than last year... We had approximately the same number of students needing first aid as last year for minor scrapes and injuries and we had two fewer transports to the hospital for alcohol intoxication.” If a factual account of a 5C Halloween event appears so outrageous as to be understood as parody, it is necessary to reevaluate our party culture and drinking behaviors, and possibly reconsider how the college administrations are addressing them. Perhaps for future parties, the colleges should allow students to who drink to excess to learn their lesson the hard(er) way--which might, in fact, be the only way. CI
CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION OVERVIEW
by Kyle Johnson Staff Writer 2012 was a pivotal year for California Ballot Propositions. A variety of significant initiatives came to public vote this year. Most of them were overshadowed by the Presidential elections. However, the results will significantly impact both California residents and students. Proposition 30, proposed by Governor Jerry Brown, passed this November by a strong majority. Known as the proposition for a sales and income tax increase to fund education, Prop 30 will raise sales taxes from 7.25% to 7.5 percent and will significantly increase tax rates on a number of upper income tax brackets. Arguments in favor of Proposition 30 state that the initiative will prevent large cuts to education, help balance the state budget, and protect essential state services from falling to budget cuts. Opponents to the proposition argued that the lack of specificity in the bill did not guarantee that the funds would support education or essential services. Furthermore, criticism was leveled at legislators who would prefer to raise already high taxes rather than cut the waste already in the budget and streamline government systems rather than simply add to them. The fiscal impact is expected to be an additional 6 billion dollars in revenue for the next seven years. Proponents of the proposition outspent opponents by fourteen million dollars. Proposition 31 was an initiative meant to control the state’s budgetary crisis and was aimed at reducing government waste. It was defeated by a large margin. Key features in the ballot measure included establishing a two year budget cycle, requiring spending cuts or revenue increases to offset further spending increases, setting performance goals and reviews of all state programs, and allowing the governor to unilaterally cut the budget in times of fiscal emergency. Supporters hoped that the bill would clarify the state budget and help control the state’s fiscal slide. Opponents feared that the initiative would add even more bureaucracy to the budgetary process and that various provisions would hurt major state programs. Supporters outspent the opposition by nearly three million dollars Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” initiative, was soundly defeated at the polls this election. If approved, it would have banned corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates, halted the contributions of government contractors to the officials that gave them contracts, and stopped automatic deductions from employes’ paychecksafor political purposee. The proposition was hoped to reduce corrup-
tion and cronyism in state government. Those opposed feared the measure would limit the rights of individuals, unions, and corporations to have a voice in politics. Others posited that the initiative might further obscure campaign finance and aid other special interests at the expense of corporations and unions. Supporters were outspent by 13 million dollars. Proposition 34 was an interesting constitutional amendment mean to abolish the death penalty in favor of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Approval would have made California the 18th state to remove it from practice. The law would have worked retroactively, removing the 700+ California prisoners on death row. Convicted murderers would also have been required to seek a job in prison with the earnings going to restitution payments for victims. The proposition failed by an extremely close margin. Supporters spent nearly 7 million more than the opponents. Proposition 36 passed by a strong margin, changing California’s “Three Strikes” rule. Under the previous three strikes law, third time felony offenders received an automatic sentence of life in prison. In the future it will only apply if the offender commits a serious or violent felony. Supporters hope that this will reduce the number of individuals unjustifiably behind bars and thus save money for the state. Opponents believed that the three strikes program helped to limit crime by imposing strong measures on repeat offenders. Supporters spent 2.5 million dollars more than their opponents. Proposition 38, the initiative to create a “State Income Tax Increase to Support Public Education,” failed to pass by a margin of over 40s. The increased state revenue was hoped to reach nearly 10 billion dollars a year with the majority of funds earmarked towards public school districts and early child care. Proponents hoped the measure would revitalize a struggling state education system, which already comprises the largest individual portion of the state budget. Opponents criticized the huge scale of the tax. Significantly impacting every resident earning over seven thousand dollars a year, the proposal would have raised state income taxes by as much as 21% on individuals earning over seventeen thousand dollars per year. Fears were also raised that the huge budget boon to the education system lacked sufficient oversight and would have had a detrimental effect in an already critical fiscal situation. Supporters of the measure raised 48 million dollars to their opponents’ 42 thousand dollars. CI
OBAMA’S PRESIDENTIAL MANDATE by Colin Spence
On November 6th, Barack Obama won reelection to the Presidency. This fact had only just been established when commentators from both sides began attempting to assess what had happened in the election, and what the results meant going forward for the President and his agenda. In the midst of all the argument that would erupt around this topic, one fact became quite clear. The President may have secured the White House, but he failed to secure a clear mandate for himself. This lack of mandate stems from the fact that the election results were nearly static. There were some small changes, but the overall makeup of Washington has remained in stasis. The left continues to hold the Presidency and the Senate, while the right continues to hold the House. The American people, it seems, did not buy wholly into either party’s vision, electing instead to send them back to Washington roughly as is. This result springs from the majority of Americans thinking that the economy is in weak shape, but splitting on whether Romney or Obama was the appropriate person to fix it, according to NBC exit polling. What gave Obama his edge, while simultaneously explaining the congressional results, is the fact that voters preferred Mr. Obama on a personal level by a substantial margin. This highlights a central theme of the election, the lack of clarity of vision from both campaigns. This opacity was especially important when compared to the campaign that Obama ran in 2008. In that campaign, Mr. Obama offered a unified vision and ideology for his party going forward, and the American people responded by not only giving him the White House, but also both houses of Congress. The fact that this coattail effect was not repeated in 2012 is telling. It reveals that Obama’s campaign for reelection centered more upon attacking his opponent than creating a unified strategy for his party. This strategy, while successful in aiding Obama in his attempt to retake the White House, did not translate well into congressional races. While the manner in which Mr. Obama retook the White House might seem like a moot point, the election results do say a significant amount about why Americans reelected him, and what they want him to do going forward. In essence, the American people gave the victory to Mr. Obama because he and his campaign portrayed Mr. Romney as the wrong candidate for America going forward. What he did not truly do, and what subsequently limits his mandate to accomplish things in his second term, was portray himself as the right candidate for the country. This strategy got him the White House, but did not win his agenda the affirmation, either tacit or explicit, of the
American people. In fact, the voting results point to a more nuanced decision by the American people. They first agreed with the president and rejected Mr. Romney’s bid. However, they then forced the president back towards the center and towards compromise by denying him the congressional majorities that would have let him pursue the more ambitious aspects of his agenda more easily. This division of power means that the President will not be able to just wax eloquent on the idea of compromise
This lack of mandate stems from the fact that the election results were nearly static. There were some small changes, bu the overall makeup of Washington has remained in stasis.
while forcing through bills on strictly partisan lines, as he did in his first term. The fact that the Republicans still control the House means that either the people rejected the president’s argument that the House was needlessly obstructing his agenda for cynically partisan reasons, or they want the House to act as an impediment to some of the president’s more ambitious policy proposals. Either way, the order of the day will be compromise. The Republicans came away chastened by the presidential loss, but not entirely defeated. So while they will be willing to compromise up to a point, it will be the president’s responsibility to work with his legislative counterparts to produce common-sense policies that both sides can stomach. This means that the president and the legislature will have to set aside their more radical ideas and address some of the more
continued on page 14
AMERICA NEEDS AN ANTI-WAR REVIVAL
by Derek Ko
On March 19th, 2011, the 8th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, approximately 100 demonstrators gathered outside the White House. Their protest was a flicker of a bygone movement that served as a reminder that not too long ago, nothing invigorated the left as much as anti-war politics. Just four years earlier in 2007, Sean Penn and Jane Fonda spoke against George W. Bush and the Iraq War at an anti-war rally at the National Mall that drew tens of thousands. “Bush lied, thousands died,” was a favorite slogan and outrage over human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay simmered in the public consciousness. The Patriot Act, in all its extremes, was condemned and special scrutiny was reserved for provisions that allowed for the indefinite detention of foreigners suspected of terrorism.
It is in the light of these facts that the irony of Obama 2012 bumper stickers seen next to anti-war bumper stickers can be most fully appreciated.
Pennsylvania Avenue might be empty now, but the War on Terror has continued with renewed vigor as has the war on civil liberties in the United States. The much-loathed Patriot Act has been extended, and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 has been signed into law despite a provision which allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens who commits an ill-defined “belligerent act” against the United States. Since January 2009, 287 drone strikes have been launched in Northern Pakistan against suspected Taliban, resulting in 2,957 casualties of which an estimated 780 have been civilians and 160 of those, children. The math has been complicated by the difficulty of counting the bodies left in the wake of messy attacks by unmanned drones, and by the U.S. military’s blanket classification of all adult males as militants
“absent exonerating evidence.” To make matters far worse, the President has personally overseen the extrajudicial killings of U.S. citizens (most infamously 16-year old Abdulrahman alAwlaki) living abroad. From Nixon to Bush, there has hardly been an invocation of executive power quite as egregious. It is in the light of these facts that the irony of Obama 2012 bumper stickers seen next to anti-war bumper stickers can be most fully appreciated. After all, President Obama had campaigned on his solemn promise to abide by the War Powers Act and had won over the hearts of many voters for this point of contrast with Bush. One intervention in Libya and hundreds of drone strikes later, however, the American public has hardly denounced him as harshly as it did his predecessor. In the aftermath of the much-publicized conclusion of the Iraq War in 2011, Obama has successfully crafted his image as a president who has made the greatest effort to end wars. Never mind the large-scale troop surge he had ordered in Afghanistan just a couple years earlier. Never mind the fact that he had pleaded with the Iraqi government to allow American troops to stay well over a year past the 2011 withdrawal deadline negotiated by the Bush Administration. In the eyes of far too many Americans, Obama was and still is the President who “brought the troops out of Iraq” and as a result, America’s new wars have been overlooked. As with domestic opinions, international opinions of the President’s foreign policy have been largely informed by grand gestures rather than concrete facts. The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Barack Obama has truly proven to be nothing more than an international kiss bidding George W. Bush farewell. Yet, confusingly, America’s image has greatly improved around the world as evidenced by a pre-election BBC poll that found that of 21 major countries in the world, all but one would vote for President Obama in a landslide if given the chance. The lone exception was, to no surprise, , Pakistan. If there has been little more than a murmur in the U.S. over Obama’s violations of human rights and international law, the reaction from abroad has been nearly mute. So does the left see undeclared, asymmetrical wars as any smaller of an issue? Do they think that the deaths of hundreds of innocent people at the hands of the U.S. military foster any less anti-American hatred? Are the civil liberties of United States citizens any less important to them than they were four years ago? Was the anti-war movement always essentially anti-
continued on page 14
THE MYSTIQUE BEHIND FRESHMAN HONORS SECTIONS by Marina Giloi
Editor in Chief
Honors courses are an enigma at CMC. Most incoming freshmen arrive to orientation puzzled to learn that some of their peers have been automatically placed into honors sections, and unsure of why they were not invited. Those freshmen who are placed in honors sections seem similarly unsure as to why they are there. Freshmen are largely left in the dark as to how and why they were selected for the courses, but rarely question the policy. Claremont McKenna College offers several honors sections for freshman courses such as Math 32H, Gov 20H, and Gov 70H. Math 32H is a multi-variable calculus class and the CMC math department’s only designated honors section. Math Department Chair Lenny Fukshansky explains that the primary difference between Math 32 and Math 32H lies in the latter’s “more rigorous treatment of the same material,” geared toward future proof-based upper division courses. Math 32H is offered in the fall semester to incoming freshmen by invitation only. Professor Fukshansky lists 2 semesters of calculus as well as scores on the Calculus AP exams, scores on the math portion of the SAT/ACT, and indicated interest in mathematics as selection criteria. For his Gov 20H section, Professor Pitney selects incoming freshmen by reviewing their college applications, using criteria such as SATs, AP scores, previous coursework in government, and extracurricular activities such as internships and campaign work. Unlike the automatic placement processes behind the Math 32H and Gov 20H sections, Professor Taw’s Gov 70 Freshman Honors section requires a separate application and resume. According to Professor Taw, high school grades and SAT/ACT scores must be high. She also prioritizes applicants in light of their active involvement in activities like debate, Model UN, or Youth and Government and/or their demonstrated initiative in the study or pursuit of IR. Applications must be well-written and make a strong case for selection for the honors section. These criteria, Taw says, help create a rational, systematic set of preferences. In general, professors seem to have a fairly positive regard for the honors section system. Fukshansky and Pitney claim to leave room in honors classes for qualified, interested students who were not initially selected, though those students must appeal for selection through their own initiative. And when asked about the benefits of an honors section, Professor Pitney says, “at least in this case, I think having an honors section is beneficial,” citing the ability to assume a level of politi-
cal knowledge in class discussions. Yet the honors section system as it currently stands is flawed on at least two levels. The first concern is the lack of transparency in the selection process. In the case of accessing incoming freshmen’s application materials, none of the professors provided me any detail on how much information they have access to. A CMC admissions officer was also unable to provide me information on how professors gain access to the applications, claiming that he did not know how the application review process worked. It is concerning that no one is willing to talk about how these selection processes are conducted, especially given the sensitive information, financial and otherwise, contained in a college application. Secondly, honors sections serve to immediately stratify the freshman class. While they may provide a more in-depth learning experience for some participants, they also run the risk of launching a select group of students into a self-reinforcing trajectory of success based largely on high school qualifications. In other words, by assigning certain incoming students to academically “superior” sections based on what they accomplished in high school, one does not allow incoming freshmen to start out on an equal playing field. The process may favor the more privileged students who were able to pursue opportunities like unpaid internships over equally interested, intelligent students who may lack such experiences. For example, an unpaid internship may be what differentiates one student over another for Professor Pitney’s Gov 20 honors section. Furthermore, in the microcosm of CMC where success is often largely dependent on solid professor relationships, connections, and resume building, placement into a freshman honors section may automatically set a student up for greater opportunity throughout his or her time at CMC over a nonhonors incoming freshman. Moving toward a separate application process for all honors sections, like that for Gov 70H, circumvents some of these issues. At the very least, it resolves the issue of professors potentially having access to the vast amount of student information on a college application. In addition, it ensures that the students in the honors section elect to be there and do not feel pressured into taking an honors section simply because they were placed in one. But it does not address the problem of essentially assigning preference to some students over others based on high school experience and its accompanying
continued on page 14
JON HUNTSMAN: 2016?
by Chris Gaarder Publisher Former Governor of Utah, Ambassador to China and Singapore, Deputy US Trade Representative, Reagan White House staffer and Eagle Scout Jon Huntsman Jr. spoke at Claremont McKenna College’s Athenaeum on November 1, 2012. Upon his arrival at the Ath, Huntsman was swarmed by CMC-types eager to shake the hand of and make a witty remark to the man who, a little over a year before, was ranked by a writer for Time magazine as the second most likely candidate to secure the Republican nomination in 2012, even though he was the least well-known candidate in the field. His campaign’s high-water mark was earning third place in the New Hampshire primary shortly before terminating his campaign. At 6:45 p.m., David Leathers ‘15, one of this year’s Ath Fellows, introduced the former U.S. Presidential contender with a standard biography. However, Leathers ended his introduction with an offer that Huntsman should consider a different presidency – that of CMC – to which the assembled students and faculty gave a warm and sustained round of applause. Don’t hold your breath, though. Huntsman then began his speech, challenging students by asking them “What’re you going to do to change the world?” He told them to not buy the negativity about America’s future. He said “the future’s mighty bright.” As young people, Huntsman said we should “get involved,” “help the public good,” promote “decency.” We should not be cynics, but rather “seeker[s] of solutions.” He repeatedly told us to not “lose faith in our nation’s direction,” Listening to his speech, one could sense that on stage there stood both the man Jon Huntsman talking to an audience of college students about the future and the former Governor Huntsman trying out lines for his stump speech in preparation for a possible presidential run in 2016. That is, unless as the time to announce his candidacy approaches he sees that his run would be overshadowed by other high-caliber candidates with bigger personalities and stronger national profiles like Governors Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Senators Marco Rubio, Kelly Ayotte, and Rob Portman, or Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whose rousing speech at this summer’s Republican National Convention suggests her political future is not over yet. He focused his talk on many issues with bipartisan support, setting the right tone for the GOP in years to come. He began his political remarks by decrying how John F. Kennedy, and even Ronald Reagan, would be shocked by the hyper-partisan nature of politics in Washington today. He went on to call
for “reality-based solutions to move the country forward.” He then described the 2012 Republican primary debates as “gameshows,” with 12 - or if he was really lucky - 13-second responses in which he and the other candidates were expected to tackle our nation’s most serious issues. Next, he described how in the midst of the “circus-like” campaign process, he sat down for a “Lincoln-Douglass” debate with Newt Gingrich where they “spent two hours talking about ideas,” discussing the nation’s problems at a greater length and depth than they had the chance to on the campaign trail. I streamed that “debate” on my computer, but only thousands of people saw it, not the millions that watched the standard televised debates. It was refreshing to see Huntsman and Gingrich debate in one of the most substantive political exchanges of the year. But that made it all the more depressing, since probably no one outside of New Hampshire and my dorm room watched it. For the year ahead, after the fiscal cliff has been addressed through a combination of tax and spending reform, Huntsman believes that the major goal on the national political scene will be getting the “fundamentals in order,” which means tackling immigration, education, infrastructure, energy, relations with China, and “clean[ing] up the mess” in the Middle East. If our leaders compromise, like normal Americans do every day, and achieve those tasks, Huntsman believes the nation might just start to heal after the painful hyper-partisanship of the last decade. As he did during the campaign, in his talk, Huntsman highlighted the “trust deficit” that exists between the people and their government. Congress has an 8-9 percent approval rating in the “world’s greatest democracy.” We must be doing something wrong, and on his campaign website, Huntsman identified seven solutions: tax reform, tackling the national debt using the Ryan Plan, ending too-big-to-fail, implementing comprehensive energy strategy, streamlining regulations, bringing most troops back from Afghanistan and modernizing the military, and proposing term limits and lobbying restrictions on Congress. In foreign relations a couple of his main prescriptions were a sort of “pivot” to India and China, and overall an “aggressive promotion of trade liberalization,” including new Free Trade Agreements with major US trading partners.
continued on page 15
ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON JON HUNTSMAN
by Kyle Tanguay Staff Writer My favorite part of a guest speaker’s visit to the Athenaeum is the question and answer period, when our humble classmates enter into dialogue with titans like Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice. As with all good things, question time passes far too quickly, leaving behind a line of frustrated folks with raised hands. Many of us have additional questions for the speaker, but few of us can get seats at the head table. I was one of the frustrated ones left behind at Jon Huntsman’s recent visit to the Athenaeum, along with a friend in the overflow section. In his message to Claremont students, Huntsman extolled the virtues of pragmatic thinking and denounced the use of obscure political doublespeak. This guy promised to speak candidly and truthfully. We could ask hard questions, and he would be down for it, he would answer honestly and apolitically. President Obama has sold himself as a bipartisan, pragmatic thinker (left-wingers like myself grudgingly remember earlier shifts to the middle on issues such as the NDAA, the Afghan troop surge, the downgrade of healthcare from single-payer to an insurance mandate, etc.), so I wanted to ask the Governor if he could tell us whether the actions of the Obama White House reflected the pragmatism that he described. My friend in the overflow had her hand up to ask Huntsman what his prediction was regarding the South China Sea conflict between Chinese, Japanese, and American seafarers. Needless to say, neither of us was picked to talk, and as a result we were both a bit irked. We were not so irritated by the Ath’s time restraints, however, but by the quality of the questions that were asked, the questions that drowned ours out. Paraphrasing another friend, “the questions asked by students at the Ath are horrible.” You’ll hear queries that morph slowly into soliloquies, you’ll hear some questions that, while prestigious sounding, seem rehearsed and irrelevant to the spe-
cific points of the talk, you’ll even hear students ask speakers about their favorite NFL star. I’m definitely biased, but I still think that the questions my friend and I had were better, and would hold up to review as such. Let’s change the Ath then! Maybe the Ath should screen questions and determine which ones have the most educational value? Maybe the priority shouldn’t be to student askers, but to professors? Before anyone can make a substantiated claim that the system is flawed, however, we need to understand what this system does. David Leathers, 2012-2013 Ath fellow, defends the un-screened, students-first freeform forum of the Ath, claiming “that the Ath is a place for conversation, not an interview. While we would get some pretty good questions if we screened them, the questions that add the most to the intellectual dialogue are ones that are born out of the speaker’s talk.” “While the average professor’s question may be more educated and [nuanced] than the average student’s, I think that an exchange between a student and the speaker is of more educational value than an exchange between a professor and a speaker. The Ath… is not a nightly academic conference. It is a unique place for students, in which they can interact with prominent thinkers and leaders in a very intimate setting.” Furthermore, to those (like myself) who were left with lingering questions following a Q/A, Leathers says that “9 out of every 10 speakers hang out after the talk, more than willing to chat with eager audience members - professors and students alike.” While many of us are frustrated about the quality of our Ath Q/As, it seems that in regulating this medium we risk greater harm.. That being said,, nothing prevents students from approaching speakers on foot, or from doing independent research. Point taken, Mr. Leathers. I’ll hang around next time. CI
CMC’s sexual violence policy, continued from page 3 The college did not publicly announce the new Title IX policies to the student body until December 10 in an email sent by President Pamela Gann. The message includes no mention of the preponderance of the evidence standard. It is shameful that Claremont McKenna has not made students immediately and explicitly aware of the preponderance standard. CMC students deserve immediate notification of this policy and an explanation of its implications. They deserve warning that a fraudulent accusation has greater potential to result in conviction, smearing their reputations and destroy-
ing their careers. The college’s reluctance to discuss the topic suggests that it is not proud of this new policy. However, the college defends it in the statement entitled “Regarding Title IX.” Claremont McKenna writes, “The policies and procedures regarding Title IX are civil and administrative in nature and based an approach that offers a fair process to all parties.” CI This article is the first in a forthcoming series on the subject.
ARE STUDENTS THE NEW FACE OF PARTY SECURITY?
by Martin Sartorius Staff Writer For the Childish Gambino “after-party,” the organizers less-than-curiously chose to hire students as the party security. These students had to go through a rigorous selection process to become part of the organizer’s crack security team. They had to submit resumes, pass a “student security team” physical test, and write an essay describing their various experiences in professional party security. This competitive application separated the proverbial men from the boys, and we can all agree that the final group was the best security team CMC could offer. To give an idea, though, to the less informed of the quality of this team, it included students who had, for example, stopped “their friend from having that 20th shot” or who “broke up a fight at Foam between two freshmen.” At the party, their tasks involved stopping partygoers (socialites?) from breaking CMC furniture and, most importantly, making sure that the amount of people let into the party did not violate various health and safety codes. As seen by the evidence, they did an exemplary job. One student who attended the party claimed that, “the security team was so professional in checking my ID that I didn’t even realize that it was made up of students.” Another one stated that, “I have never felt so close to everyone at a 5C party.” That day after the party also saw the Claremont Hall lounge in better shape than ever, due to the artistic changes the partygoers made to the tables. After the model job the student security team did at the Childish Gambino after-party, it is rumored that their next large-scale undertaking will be tackling security at Harwood Halloween 2013. This party, known for its problems with security, has seen Campus Security, and even Claremont Police officers, unsuccessfully keep the party going until its posted ending time. The student security team has told us that they will make sure the party goers will not have to worry about a premature end to their night, as they will handle everything with the same grace as they did in the Gambino after-party. It is safe to say that the administration at Pomona College is delighted to offer up its largest party security job of the year in their precious parking garage to these respected professionals. CI
Obama’s mandate, cont from page 9 pressing issues, such as the still stagnant economy, the expanding debt, and the looming fiscal cliff. Republicans in Congress, like Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham, have signaled their readiness to work with the President by expressing their willingness to break their “no-new-taxes” pledge and compromise with the Democrats. The president should acquiesce to working with the other side, something he was unwilling to do in his previous term, and remember that the election gave him an opportunity, not a mandate. The American people want their government to fix the fiscal mess that has been created, not add to it. CI
Anti-war movement, cont from page 10 Republican and anti-Bush? I would like to think that the answer to all the questions above is no. I would like to think that the only thing that has smothered grassroots dissent against executive abuses of power is a fog of misinformation and misperception about Obama’s policies. When this fog is swept aside, this much becomes clear: Obama’s lamentable record on civil liberties and war merits, at the very least, another enthusiastic march on the National Mall followed by a speech by a Hollywood darling. What it truly deserves, however, is a sharp reaction from the American public and the widespread vocal opposition of American citizens. The debate over whether Romney would have done worse should be irrelevant. In the longest running democracy to date, deaths of innocent civilians abroad at the hands of our military should never be taken lightly, and the rights to privacy and fair trial should not be silently swept from under its people’s feet. Rather, these basic liberties should be taken with Americans kicking, screaming, and demanding their restoration. It is high time that we asked ourselves whether our elected officials are starting to embody the very terror that we have fought so long to defeat. CI
Honors sections, cont from page 11 implications. Doing away with the artificial “honors” label does not mean that students will not have the opportunity to pursue challenging coursework most relevant to their experience and knowledge. Allowing students the freedom to select certain professors’ classes over others and maintaining confidence in their ability to choose a class difficulty that is suited to them is more fitting of an adult educational institution. CI
“In the Bubble”
A new section dedicated to featuring some of the most notable quotes from our fellow publications. Submit your own at: email@example.com!
Scripps Voice “It helps that my mom told me early on that women have a sucky time in this country. I remember her telling me multiple times that the “pro-life” movement is a bunch of men who want to control women’s bodies. Yeah, she’s the best.” “You might think that one of the unique perks of tanning topless is theprivilege [sic] of tanning topless when and where you want, or at least during women-only hours at the pool.”
“The initiative [Prop 30], which calls for a taxes raise [sic] to support California public schools and educational support facilities, will be contested in the upcoming November elections. In early September, tombstones were posted on dorm doors announcing the impending slow death of the California education system. The posters contained phrases such as ‘R.I.P Going to College,” and “R.I.P The American Dream.”
The Student Life “We need to talk about political correctness. But first, we need to stop calling it political correctness. That’s a pejorative term, born out of the culturally conservative backlash to efforts at dismantling serious power imbalances that can make anyone who isn’t white, male, cisgender, heterosexual and rich feel like they live in a hostile environment that considers them inferior.” “The average CMC student is not exposed to the same curriculum in racial and cultural issues as students at the other Claremont Colleges,” [name omitted] said. “I would never automatically accuse any of them of purposefully being malicious to other people, but I urge CMC students to make an effort to address these issues.”
Jon Huntsman: 2016? cont from page 12 His consistent focus on solutions is what sets Jon Huntsman apart. He is one of a handful of politicians who genuinely cares about fixing problems rather than pontificating and wasting precious time. Considering he bowed out of the race in January, his proposals are quite diverse and detailed. He is the opposite of a flame-thrower. He naturally uses a moderate tone to promote conservative ideals. Make no mistake, though, he is a true conservative. He was the only Republican Presidential candidate to fully endorse the Ryan Plan. His campaign’s
website (jon2012.com/issues) offers position statements nearly any conservative would gleefully endorse, phrased in language moderates could embrace. “The world is watching the United States,” the former ambassador to one sixth of the world reminded the audience, and from his experience, “there isn’t a whole lot of leadership in the world today,” so if the world is to have a bright future, it must be inspired by our example. CI
follow us on twitter:
Interested in writing for us? Attend our meetings next semester every Sunday at 9 pm in Kravis Center 109.
Published on Dec 11, 2012
Welcome to the December 2012 issue of the Claremont Independent! We're excited to welcome Becky Shin, Derek Ko, and Kyle Tanguay to our writ...