Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Claremont Progressive: Document Check Timeline

From The Claremont Progressive: Link to original article

Document Check Timeline (pdf)

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The Claremont Progressive: Student-Trustee Taskforce: Proposals for Moving Forward

From The Claremont Progressive: Link to original article

By KATHY LU

The Student-Trustee Task Force (otherwise known as the Trustee-Student Task Force on Campus Community Communication) convened for the first time this semester on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum’s house. Created to address the issues of communication and transparency raised in the Dec. 14 meeting between trustees and select members of Concerned Pomona Students, the Task Force comprises eight students selected by ASPC, five trustees, and Dean Feldblum. These eight students include seniors Leslie Appleton, Nate Brown, John Bonacorsi, juniors Frank Sanchez and Emi Young, and sophomores Maya Booth, Alice Chan, and Kathy Lu. Jason Rosenthal, PO ’92, and Lynn Yonekura, PO ’70, serve as Co-Chairs of the committee. The other three trustees are Francine Scinto, P’ 09 and ’11, Michael Segal, PO ’79, and Meg Lodise, PO ’85. Continue reading

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The Claremont Progressive: Critique of the Extended Vigil: Building a Stronger Movement

From The Claremont Progressive: Link to original article

By SAMUEL PANG

As the first month of this semester draws to a close, to many, the campus has returned to a state of normalcy; the weather has been pleasant, the jabs at CMC have been plentiful, and ultimate Frisbee continues to imperil pedestrians on Marston Quad. The events of last semester, the tents, the firings, the struggles, have been all but forgotten beneath the braying of first years agonizing about the long trek to Frary, being a sponsor, and the lack of snack on South Campus. Many scoff at the idea of bringing these issues back into focus, insisting instead the past is past and what is done cannot be changed. While it may be easy to forget the past, history is power, and with the experiences of marginalized communities already silenced in the dominant historical narrative, we cannot let the struggle of the 17 fired workers be forgotten. In continuing this struggle, though, there also needs to be space for critical self-reflection in order to build on what has gone well and rethink what could have been more effective; my critique fits squarely into this space. As a supporter of both the extended vigil and Workers for Justice, I believe the extended vigil was a necessary action in solidarity with the workers fighting for their jobs, but the strategies and tactics used could have better supported their struggle. Continue reading

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The Claremont Progressive: (still) in the spirit of a welcoming and inclusive campus environment

From The Claremont Progressive: Link to original article

Dearest Board of Trustees:

hello Claremont Progressive readers! my name is frank sánchez, and i am in my third year at Pomona College majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies and minoring in Music. i am one of several students who came together last semester to plan, organize, and participate in the extended vigil outside of Alexander Hall, which was held in response to the letters requesting work documents that were distributed to 84 Pomona employees and the subsequent firing of 17 individuals. i have been asked to write a reflection on the vigil with close to a month-and-a-half’s worth of hindsight. because i feel exhausted after being forced to navigate virtually unnavigable formal channels of communication, i have decided to write in a somewhat informal manner. the following poem/letter/whatever is an attempt to express my views on the experience(s) of last semester and what i hope will continue out of them. i want to emphasize that the opinions expressed in this piece are exactly that, opinions (more specifically, mine), and should not be misconstrued as representative of the thoughts of any other vigil organizers or participants. Continue reading

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The Claremont Progressive: Notes from the Open Forum

From The Claremont Progressive: Link to original article

By GABE LEWIN and SAMUEL PANG

This Tuesday, five dining hall workers who lost their jobs in December after Pomona’s document checks spoke about why they were fired, the daily injustices they faced working at Pomona, and how they’ve continued to fight since they were fired.

The document checks happened in the middle of a union organizing drive. At the forum, the workers asked repeatedly why the administration decided to demand their immigration papers now after the workers have worked at Pomona for years and, in some cases, decades.

“They wanted to get rid of us, so they found a way to get rid of us,” Christian Torres said.

Torres emphasized how the fight at Pomona is part of the national fight for immigrant justice. He described how the workers have given a lot in the workplace and that they deserve to be part of this country. Continue reading

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The Claremont Progressive: Editorial on Document-Check Aftermath

From The Claremont Progressive: Link to original article

We’ve devoted the entire issue to reflecting on the events at the end of last year that shook our community to the core — namely, the trustee-ordered document audit of Pomona College employees that stripped 17 individuals, 16 of them dining hall workers, of their livelihoods on Dec. 1 — and the actions that various individuals and groups undertook in response.

Much of the uproar has died down since students have returned from winter vacation. Only the semi-permanent closure of Frank Dining Hall on weekends serves as a reminder of how the College has changed. Even this, however, has functioned mostly to deflect the attention back onto students’ lives and students’ problems. The surface-level inconvenience has distracted from addressing the deeply embedded, systematic injustices that brought it about in the first place.

There are questions that should be asked, but no one seems to asking them. We’ll ask them for you. How, for instance, did the terminated workers and their families weather the holiday season without the prospect of steady employment? And what about the workers who remain at the dining halls — how have they adapted to the sudden loss of skilled, experienced colleagues and friends? How has this affected the ongoing fight for unionization? On Tuesday, several workers, both current and former, spoke to those questions at an open panel. You can find minutes from that forum below. And as always, nothing should stop you from speaking with the workers in person. Continue reading

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LA Weekly: Pomona College Caught in ‘Wave of Anti-Immigrant Hysteria,’ Says Professor

From LA Weekly: Link to original article

By SIMONE WILSON

​The illegal-immigration debate is on fire at Pomona College in far-east L.A. County.

“You’d think that if any place was going to be a safe haven for immigrants, it would be at colleges and universities,” says Peter Dreier, a professor at Occidental College in L.A. proper. “But that doesn’t seem to be the case at Pomona College. They’ve joined in that wave of anti-immigrant hysteria.”

Dreier serves as a talking head in a new mini-documentary about the controversy produced by labor union Unite Here Local 11… which represents workers at Pomona. Here’s why the union is so angry, from its original news release in early December: Continue reading

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The Nation: Help Stop Pomona College’s Outrageous Anti-Immigrant Actions

From The Nation: Link to original article

By PETER DREIER

An article in the New York Times last week described how Pomona College recently fired many long-term campus workers, all them immigrants.  The incident has ignited a furious debate about the rights of immigrant workers and responsibilities and ideals of institutions like Pomona College.  As the Times notes, “the campus is deep into a consuming debate over what it means to be a college with liberal ideals.”

According to the article, students, faculty and alumni are “accusing the administration and the board of directors of betraying the college’s ideals.” Hundreds of alumni have pledged not to donate money to Pomona. Students have staged repeated protests, some of which are featured in this three-minute video, along with an interview with Congresswoman Judy Chu, who represents East LA and parts of the Inland Empire. “They were workers who put their sweat, blood and tears into the college, and they desire better,” Chu said. (Watch the video.)

It is no accident that many of the fired workers were organizing a union. The video puts a human face on the story. In the three-minute video, Carmen, an 11-year Pomona College dining hall office worker, tells how she was fired late last year after the college’s Board of Trustees demanded that she and her co-workers reproduce their papers to work in the US. One man involved in the decision to investigate and fire the workers is Paul Efron, Pomona College’s board chairman and advisory director at Goldman Sachs. Efron was a Goldman partner for years.

The National Labor Relations Board has leveled charges against the College for violating federal labor law. How can you help fix this outrageous injustice?  Shining a public spotlight on Pomona College’s actions and putting pressure on its board are the best ways to get justice for the immigrant workers who were fired.

There are at least two things you can do:

First, go to the “Justice at Pomona” website and send a message to Mr. Efron, the chair of Pomona College’s Board of Trustees.

Second, spread this message to other people you know via Facebook and Twitter.

Labor’s Edge Blog: Pomona College–Anti-Immigrant?

From Labor’s Edge Blog: Link to original article

By CHRISTIAN TORRES

I have worked as a cook in the dining hall at Pomona College for the past 7 years. These 7 years were the best of my career—I truly enjoyed cooking food for the students. I was proud to work there, not just because I was a Pomona staff member, but because I worked for the students and all the Claremont community.

In early 2010, my coworkers and I started organizing to form a union so that we could have a voice on the job. We knew there would be risks involved in organizing, but we thought, Pomona is a liberal arts college and they say they care about us, so why would they fight us? But Pomona opposed our requests for a fair process to form a union from the beginning and it has been almost 2 years with no resolution.

In early November of 2011, I and 83 other Pomona employees, faculty and students received letters from the college informing us of “deficiencies” in our documents authorizing us to work in the United States. The college gave us a mere three weeks to remedy our documents, or we would face termination. On December 2, 2011, Pomona College fired 17 of us when we couldn’t meet their deadline. This was not an ICE raid. A federal agency did not prompt this investigation. Pomona College conducted the investigation and fired us, even though we believe they could have followed another path.

From the time we received the first letters to the day we were all fired, the Pomona students and faculty rallied behind us to show their support. Our struggle for justice at Pomona was also featured in the New York Times this week. Check out coverage here.

Now, my coworkers and the Pomona community are speaking out in a video (see below). Please share this video with your friends on Facebook and Twitter! By spreading this video throughout the country, we’ll put Pomona College’s despicable behavior in the national spotlight, and persuade the College to rethink the disrespectful way it treats workers.

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The Student Life: Where Things Stand with Dining Hall Workers

From The Student Life: Link to original article

By QUINN LESTER

After the tumultuous events of last semester, an eerie calm has settled over the Pomona College campus. Aside from Frank Dining Hall’s closure on the weekends, there is not much evidence to attest to the firing of 17 college employees and the unprecedented protests, debates, and meetings that ensued. Even the grass in front of Alexander Hall has grown back. Yet for those 17 employees—and, I’m sure, many other students, staff, and faculty—the memories are still fresh. The “new normal” that has enveloped the campus may leave some to think that nothing came out of last semester’s event, but this is not the case. Continue reading

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