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Students demand mad scientist-themed party axed, claim it represents ‘violence against disabled people’

‘We demand that Mudd Goes Madd is no longer used’

A decision by Pomona College’s student government not to fund a party called “Mudd Goes Madd” because it’s name and theme allegedly insult and hurt those with mental health struggles was recently mocked nationally.

Pomona is part of Claremont Colleges, a consortium of five private undergraduate liberal arts colleges. The “Mudd Goes Madd” party was hosted by Harvey Mudd College, a science-based school in the consortium, and the theme was a play on a bunch of mad scientists from Mudd, or “Madd” scientists.

The New York Post, National Review and Reason all chimed in on Pomona students’ decision not to chip in for the party. Even students with mental health struggles in the consortium denounced the decision, lambasting campus leaders for daring to presume they were too fragile to handle it.

In the face of the criticism, Pomona College student leaders recently doubled down on their decision.

The Claremont Independent reports the student government wrote in an email to the campus community that even if students with mental health struggles this year did not have a problem with the name, they have in the past.

“Last year, students on Harvey Mudd’s campus started planning an event also titled ‘Mudd Goes Madd.’ A number of students from the mental health and disability communities protested the name and the framing of the party on the grounds that they trivialize mental health disabilities, and that the concept of ‘going mad’ has historically been used to discredit individuals with chronic or acute mental illness, especially those who are marginalized in other forms,” the email stated. “… We hear you. … We will continue to strive for a more inclusive campus and keep inclusivity as a top priority when funding events and clubs.”

The Independent reports the email also included a note from various campus disability groups that stated “while we don’t believe that the party planners intended to be ableist by naming the party Mudd Goes Madd, the word still carries a connotation of violence against disabled people.”

“Language is only one piece of the complex system of institutional ableism that students encounter daily at Mudd and in the 5Cs at large, but it is one of the most basic ways that we can support our peers,” the note adds. “It is important for us to be critical of our language, because the impact of ableist phrases extends beyond someone being offended. Words are used to oppress people.”

“We demand that Mudd Goes Madd is no longer used. No event should reference disability without engaging with it in meaningful and critical ways.”

Read the full article.

RELATED: Pomona College students-citing ‘stress, unhealthy competition’-demand school delete post touting No. 1 Forbes ranking

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

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