Students of Color at Claremont McKenna Feel "Terrified" After Death Threat

Source: AP
Source: AP

Claremont McKenna College, a small liberal arts university just east of Los Angeles, is one of several colleges that's found itself in the middle of America's ongoing discussion about race on college campuses in recent months. In November, former dean of students Mary Spellman resigned after her comment about helping students at the school who "don't fit our CMC mold" sparked protests

Now, those same students say that the school ignored a death threat and put their lives at risk. According to a press release from the student group CMCers of Color, the threat was made on Nov. 16 through a Google form that went to an alumnus, but was meant for current students. It read, "You stupid fucking students are so full of shit, constantly complaining about wanton useless bullshit and trite whenever a single fucking thing bothers you. Stop being such a fucking pussy or I will personally fucking shoot each and every one of you."

The alumnus then notified the administration, according to students, but the administration failed to notify its student body in a timely manner. 

"First and foremost, we're terrified knowing that someone is out there who wants to kill us, and it's someone who has the audacity to write something like this is really alarming," one student, who wished to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, told Mic. "Secondly, we feel disappointed that the administration knowingly let us be very public, have our names on our doors, letting us exist publicly knowing this was out there. This is negligence on their part."

When reached by phone, the school's associate vice president for public affairs and communication, Max Benavidez, told Mic that the school did notify the school community last Saturday. "We did receive information about an anonymous threat connected to recent events on campus, but we have no info that this was a credible threat," Benavidez said.

In a letter sent to students on Tuesday, the school admitted that it "failed to notify law enforcement promptly upon receipt of the threat irrespective of its underlying credibility," and it will conduct a full review of its threat assessment protocol. The letter also said that it is working to provide support to students and families who feel threatened.

CMCers of Color is a student organization that has roughly 30 members, 10 to 15 of which describe themselves as most visible and easy to identify. The student who spoke to Mic said that the group's activism has already made them targets on campus. "There's so much negative backlash toward the racial justice that we're pushing for [on campus]," the student said. "It's not like the administration wasn't aware of this. We've reported feeling unsafe."

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Jamilah King

Jamilah King is a senior staff writer at Mic. She was previously an editor at Colorlines.

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