Response from ‘Silenced’ Student

Nov. 13, 2015

Story Contact(s): CMCers of Color,

CLAREMONT, Ca. — We sincerely apologize for the miscommunication regarding the demonstration. In the last 48 hours, there has been a lot of confusion surrounding the perceived silencing of a student of color at the protest run by the five affinity groups: CMCers of Color, BSA, SAGA, GenU, and APAM. During the demonstration, the student spoke out about one of her experiences. Various articles claim that she was silenced, but none have reached out to her directly.

We are writing this piece to recenter her voice.

CMCers of Color have met with the student to ask her how she was feeling and how we can support her. She asked that we publicize this statement:

“I was not silenced. What hurts me the most is that my words are twisted and [have been] projected on mass media in turn to hurt those who[m] I stand firmly behind.”

She further expresses, “I admit that half way [through] I drifted away from the point, maybe because of nervousness or just intense emotion. I quickly realized that’s not the appropriate thing to bring up at that exact moment, and I truly regret that.”

At the protest, an organizer approached the student because certain crowd members responded negatively to her statements. First and foremost, CMCers of Color did not want her to get hurt. The video did not show the conversation between the organizer and the student. The organizer approached the student to offer support and warn her of the offensive comments, and to redirect the focus of the demonstration. When one of the members of CMCers of Color asked the student if she would like to stop speaking because of the crowd’s negative reaction, a portion of the crowd shouted, “Let her speak!”.

We realize that our physical reactions showed frustration and for that we are sorry. Our response stemmed from not knowing how to navigate wanting to both protect our community as well as provide a platform for them to be heard. Given that we have been organizing for eight months with no concrete response from the administration before this event, we thought it was especially important to guarantee a space for marginalized students, so we can regularly engage in these difficult yet important dialogues.

That being said, we acknowledge that people of color can be harmful and complicit in the oppression of other people of color. However, CMCers of Color also believe that we could not at that moment properly address the issues she raised given the mixed responses of the crowd.

We ask that people allow the student to express her own narrative. If you inaccurately portray her stance, you inevitably silence her. Regardless of the misunderstanding, listen to her call to action — which is in full support of the demands of CMCers of Color, BSA, SAGA, GenU, and APAM.

She wants everyone, no matter your background, no matter your identity, to be a part of the movement to change the institution.

Here’s the statement she posted on Facebook before CMCers of Color contacted her: