Category Archives: Our Documents

Voices of Concerned Pomona Students: If I Could Meet with The Board…

On Dec. 14, only select group of students from the extended vigil were allowed to meet with trustees. Students were able to circumvent (partially) those restrictions by presenting the following document, which contains a compilation of students’ names, organization/affiliations, and a short statement on what they would say to the Board.

What I Would Say to the Board

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New and Improved

Concerned Pomona Students have sent out a second open letter with updated concerns and proposals for action in response to the December 1st termination of seventeen College employees. This letter has gone out to faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees. Its exact contents are below:

December 5, 2011

 In the Spirit of an Inclusive and Welcoming Campus Environment

 Dear Pomona College Board of Trustees, Chairman Paul Efron, and President David Oxtoby:

Since Wednesday, November 30, we, a concerned group of Pomona College students, have been holding an extended vigil outside Alexander Hall to express our disappointment with the College’s recent actions and to show solidarity with individuals directly affected by those actions.  We wish to address the deficiencies in the current relationship between the Board and the Pomona College community, which have been crystallized in the College’s decision to terminate the contracts of 17 employees who were unable to resolve the deficiencies in their work documents by the administration’s December 1st deadline.

We would like to reaffirm our commitment to maintaining a presence outside of Alexander Hall until our concerns have been addressed in a substantive manner.  Prior to the extended vigil, students made repeated attempts to engage the Board of Trustees in conversation.  These attempts were met with just one official response—a single e-mail sent to the community at large.  Given the Board’s apparent unwillingness to open up lines of communication, we decided to hold an extended vigil in hopes that the Board and the administration would respond to us.  After almost a week of sleeping, studying, and working outside of Alexander, we find it troubling that the Board of Trustees—specifically the Executive Committee—has yet to acknowledge our presence or engage in dialogue with us.  This raises a question: what types of direct and effective channels of communication are open to students who wish to speak to the Board of Trustees?

In addition to the concerns outlined above, we would like to recognize the intensified climate of fear and distress wrought by the termination of 17 members of our community.  Considering that the Board recently reaffirmed its commitment to upholding an inclusive and welcoming campus environment, we ask that steps be taken to prevent such a situation from reoccurring and to rectify the harmful consequences caused by the Board’s actions.

We call for:

1. An audience with the Trustees during their time on campus this semester.

2. A commitment from the Board to never again initiate a document re-verification process, especially now that the College’s hiring practices have been confirmed to be in compliance with the law.

3. The establishment of a permanent position on the Board to be filled by a student representative.

4. The creation of a set of procedures by which the Board reports its actions and recent decisions to students.

5. The development of a process by which students can request the establishment of a comments period regarding prospective Board decisions.

Moving forward, we ask that the Board participate in a two-way exchange of information, thoughts, and ideas for the future.  Specifically, we ask that the Board directly respond to the proposals above.  While we look to have a formal meeting with the Trustees during their upcoming stay on campus, we want to open conversation beforehand as well.  We encourage Trustees, individually or collectively, to respond to us at concerned.pomona.students@gmail.com.  Should anyone wish to direct comments to specific student representatives, we can provide the relevant contact information.  In the spirit of constructive dialogue, we are open to negotiation.

We remain dedicated to mutual respect and open communication within the College community.

Sincerely,

Concerned Pomona Students

Download a PDF of the letter here: Concerned Pomona Students’ Letter to Board Dec. 5

Spreading the Word (English/Español)

Below is a press release we have sent out to various media outlets across the US, including both regional and national organizations.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Email: concerned.pomona.students@gmail.com

POMONA COLLEGE STUDENTS HOLD VIGIL IN PROTEST OF EMPLOYEE DOCUMENT VERIFICATION

We, a group of concerned Pomona College students, are holding vigil outside Alexander Hall, which houses Pomona College’s administrative offices, in response to certain actions the College has taken regarding employee documentation.

On Monday, Nov. 7, 84 members of the Pomona College community – including faculty, staff, and students – received letters stating that there were deficiencies in their work documents. These individuals were given a deadline of Dec. 1 to re-verify their paperwork. As students committed to community engagement and social justice, we are deeply concerned about this impending deadline and the possible termination of members of the Pomona College community. We believe that the circumstances surrounding these planned terminations have been unclear, unjust, and in direct violation of the values espoused by Pomona College.

On our campus, this chain of events has caused significant distress, which, in the context of the national political discourse on immigration, has generated an urgent mandate for us to initiate dialogue and critical inquiry regarding the College’s actions. In the past few weeks, we have endeavored to communicate our concerns with Pomona College administration through a number of College-approved channels. The administration has been unwilling to attend to students’ demands, which have included at minimum an extension of the Dec. 1 deadline in order to provide ample time for mutual, transparent dialogue regarding this issue.

In response to the actions of Pomona College administration and its refusal to consider seriously the concerns and demands of the student body, we are moving forward by physically holding vigil on campus and demanding that:

1. The Board of Trustees ceases and desists with its decision to re-verify work documents.
2. Absolutely no Pomona College employees are terminated because of the College’s failure to properly collect employee documents during the hiring process.
3. President Oxtoby and his administration are not held solely responsible for the College’s verification practices, given that deficiencies in many employee documents occurred during the preceding administrations.
4. The Board of Trustees does not hide behind a cloak of confidentiality and legality, when it is a hallmark of a democratic society that issues can be discussed and considered communally.
5. The Board of Trustees open channels of communication that are accessible to all members of the community and are not impeded by gatekeeping and bureaucracy.

We intend to maintain a non-disruptive presence around Alexander Hall until our demands have been met in substantive, transformative ways.

# # #

Download a PDF version of the press release here:
pressrelease

En Español:

ESTUDIANTES DE POMONA COLLEGE MANTIENEN VIGILIA EN PROTESTA DE VERIFICACIÓN DE DOCUMENTOS
Nosotros, un grupo de estudiantes consternados de Pomona College, estamos manteniendo una vigilia en las afueras de Alexander Hall, edificio administrativo de la universidad, en respuesta a ciertas acciones tomadas por la universidad en relación a la documentación de sus empleados. No estamos afiliados con Workers For Justice, UNITE HERE ni ninguna otra unión u otra organización laboral.

El pasado lunes 7 de noviembre, 84 miembros de la comunidad de Pomona College, incluyendo estudiantes, profesores y trabajadores, recibieron cartas que decían que existían deficiencias en sus documentos de trabajo. A estos individuos se les fue dada una fecha plazo del 1 de diciembre para volver a verificar sus documentos. Siendo estudiantes comprometidos a la acción comunitaria y justicia social, estamos profundamente consternados por esta fecha límite y el posible despido de miembros de la comunidad de Pomona College. Creemos que las circunstancias alrededor de estos despidos planeados han sido poco claras, injustas y en directa violación de los valores promovidos por la universidad.

En nuestro campus, esta cadena de eventos ha causado una angustia considerable. Esta angustia, en combinación con el actual discurso político relacionado a la inmigración en el país, ha causado que nos veamos obligados a iniciar un diálogo y un análisis crítico de las acciones tomadas por la universidad. En las últimas semanas, nos hemos empeñado en comunicar nuestras preocupaciones a la administración de Pomona College a través de los medios aprobados por la universidad. La administración se ha negado a atender a las demandas de los estudiantes, las cuales han incluido como mínimo la extensión inmediata de la fecha plazo del 1 de diciembre. Esta extensión proveería el tiempo suficiente para dialogar de una forma transparente el asunto.

En respuesta a las acciones tomadas por la administración de Pomona College y su rechazo a considerar seriamente las preocupaciones y demandas del cuerpo estudiantil, nosotros estamos manteniendo una vigilia en el campus y demandando que:

• La Junta Directiva desista de su decisión de volver a verificar documentos.
• Absolutamente ningún empleado de Pomona College sea despedido debido a errores o fallas cometidos por la universidad al reunir apropiadamente documentos de trabajo durante el proceso de contratación.
• El Presidente Oxtoby y su administración no sean considerados los únicos responsables de las prácticas de verificación de la universidad, dado que las deficiencias en muchos documentos de empleo ocurrieron durante administraciones anteriores.
• La Junta Directiva no se esconda detrás de un pretexto de confidencialidad y legalidad, pues uno de los rasgos esenciales de una sociedad democrática es el poder discutir y considerar comunalmente asuntos como éste.
• La Junta Directiva abra canales de comunicación que sean accesibles a todos los miembros de la comunidad y estén libres de impedimentos debido a la burocracia.

Es nuestra intención mantener una presencia pacífica alrededor de Alexander hasta que nuestras peticiones hayan sido acatadas de manera satisfactoria.

We Come in Peace

November 30, 2011

Statement of Presence

Dear President Oxtoby, Dean Conrad, Dean Feldblum, Office of Campus Life, and Campus Safety:

In response to recent events regarding calls for employee document verification, we, a group of concerned Pomona College students, have established a peaceful extended vigil in front of Alexander Hall. After considering a number of possible forms of action, we have made a deliberate decision not to conduct an obtrusive action such as occupying a campus building. It is our hope that the particular course of action we have chosen will not hinder people wishing to carry out their daily work or education. Our statement to the community, which was distributed through email today, contains additional background information on our actions.

We wish to request from you cooperation, open communication, and respect throughout the duration of our presence, and we intend to fully uphold these values ourselves.

Our group is committed to:
1. Communicating clearly and respectfully with all community members.
2. Not obstructing sidewalks or other pathways, including those that lead in and out of Alexander Hall.
3. Abiding by quiet hours and being mindful of our noise levels during all other times.
4. Maintaining a peaceful, nonviolent space.

From your various offices and groups, we respectfully request:
1. Unimpeded access to the lawn spaces surrounding Alexander.
2. That sprinklers on the aforementioned areas be turned off or that we are given information about sprinkler locations and types.
3. Consideration and clear communication from all community members.
4. Campus Safety’s abstention from the use of force and threats of force.
5. An effort to limit involvement by the Claremont Police Department.

We hope we can count on your support. Together, we can work to foster a space for student voices on campus and create channels of communication that all members of our community can access. Please feel free to come speak with us in person if you have any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Concerned Students of Pomona College

Download a PDF version of the statement here:
statementofpresence

Why We’re Here

November 30, 2011

Dear Pomona College Community and Other Interested Parties,

As Pomona College students, we are writing to shed light on why we are holding an extended vigil outside of Alexander Hall and elucidate some of the reasons we have decided to take this action. In hopes of being upfront, we want to make it extremely clear that we are not affiliated—nor do we wish to be confused—with Workers for Justice, UNITE HERE, any other union or labor organization, or any Occupy movement. We are Pomona College students who are deeply disappointed and concerned with the recent actions taken by the College, specifically the Board of Trustees, with regard to employee documentation.

After much deliberation, discourse, and thought, we have decided to hold a continued presence outside of Alexander Hall, with the aim of expressing support for and solidarity with the students, staff, and faculty who received letters pertaining to their work documents, as well as any members of the community who have experienced distress as a result of the current situation. We are here to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with recent actions, to promote dialogue about the socially and politically significant underpinnings of recent events, and to provide a space for people to share their thoughts and feelings. Our aspiration is that people view our decision to remain outside of Alexander as a public illustration of our willingness to sacrifice time, comfort, and health for our beliefs. Additionally, we hope that we are permitted to continue with our non-violent, respectful demonstration, which is designed to not infringe upon any individual’s work or study.

We have made a deliberate decision to not conduct a highly obstructive form of action, such as an occupation of a campus building, because we do not want to encroach upon the daily activities and responsibilities of community members. Our presence is intended to create conversation and communication. While we think that there is value and urgency in responding to the actions of the Board of Trustees, we do not want to sacrifice any discussion because of activities that could be construed as combative towards or hindering to Pomona College students, staff, or faculty.

The actions taken by the Board have had a profound impact on us as students. We believe that this process could have been handled in an entirely different manner, and we call for efforts to ameliorate and remedy current wrongdoing and also to ensure that matters regarding the lived experiences of Pomona College members are handled thoughtfully, carefully, and more collaboratively in the future. In this regard, we demand that:

1. The Board of Trustees ceases and desists with its decision to re-verify work documents.
2. Absolutely no Pomona College employees are terminated because of the College’s failure to properly collect employee documents during the hiring process.
3. President Oxtoby and his administration are not held solely responsible for the College’s verification practices, given that deficiencies in many employee documents occurred during the preceding administrations.
4. The Board of Trustees does not hide behind a cloak of confidentiality and legality, when it is a hallmark of a democratic society that issues can be discussed and considered communally.
5. The Board of Trustees open channels of communication that are accessible to all members of the community and are not impeded by gatekeeping and bureaucracy.

It is our belief that we have already pursued a number of institutionally accepted forms of communication, that our concerns have not received adequate and timely responses from the administration, and that our voices, as Pomona College students questioning administrative actions, have not been sufficiently recognized or considered. These are primary reasons we have chosen to elevate the level of conversation by holding an extended vigil outside of Alexander Hall.

We stress that we are working to maintain a peaceful presence outside of Alexander in order to foster dialogue, demonstrate our support for individuals impacted by the Trustees’ decisions, and create a visible and open space for people to grapple with the myriad issues and challenges facing our community.

Sincerely,

Concerned Pomona Students

Download a PDF version of the letter here:
Statement to Pomona College Community