Pomona College says students may be suspended, expelled
Pomona College is investigating the doxxing of a high school guidance counselor who questioned pro-Palestinian protesters last week on the California campus, college officials said.
Gabrielle Starr, president of the private college in Claremont, said in a statement that the counselor’s work email address was registered on pornography websites, and a student was physically restrained during the Dec. 8 protests.
“With an investigation now underway, we will not discuss further details of these incidents at this time,” a campus spokesperson told The College Fix in an email Tuesday. “What we can say is that doxxing and physical restraint are unacceptable on our campus, and any students found responsible are subject to discipline under our judicial process.”
Starr said students could be suspended or expelled if the investigation finds them responsible for such behavior.
On Dec. 8, about 30 masked protesters entered a private event for high school guidance counselors at the college Admissions Office, holding up red-painted hands and interrupting a panel talk, according to the college.
Student protesters told The Claremont Courier that they wore masks to protect their health and identities.
At one point, one of the visiting counselors asked the protesters why they were wearing masks; later, the counselor was doxxed online, the college stated.
“Afterward, the counselor reported being repeatedly subjected to abusive and harassing online behavior aimed at their professional reputation, including registering the individual’s work email on pornographic and other extremely disturbing websites,” according to the college.
Starr said she believes the doxxing was an attempt to intimidate anyone who does not conform to the protesters’ beliefs.
“This cyberbullying is reprehensible,” she said. “These serious incidents of doxxing are being investigated under our established judicial process.”
In another incident later the same day, protesters blocked access to the Frary Dining Hall in violation of school policy, according to the college. The Claremont Courier identified the protesters as members of Pomona Divest Apartheid, a student group that demands the college “divest from Israeli apartheid now.”
“While demonstrators were obstructing access to the dining hall, a student who tried to move past the demonstrators was blocked and grabbed in an incident documented on video. Physical contact of this nature is never acceptable and will be investigated under our judicial procedures as well,” the college stated.
As a result of the demonstration, Starr said hundreds of students had to find somewhere else to eat and hundreds of pounds of food went to waste.
Pomona Divest Apartheid responded to Starr’s statement on its Instagram account, saying the college president misrepresented its sit-in and student protesters “remained peaceful and principled in the face of aggression.”
“We condemn President Starr’s racist attempts to portray student protesters as violent. Her rhetoric endangers students,” the group stated.
In her statement, Starr said she and the Board of Trustees support students’ right to protest.
“However, when such protest disrupts the normal operations of the College, or worse still, puts others in danger, we will take action to ensure that Pomona is a safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors,” she said.
IMAGE: Pomona Divest Apartheid/Instagram