Members of the Pitzer Community,

Recently, an article in local media quoted Facebook comments made by Pitzer students regarding their preference in race for their roommates in non-Pitzer housing. Specifically, the post indicated that only people of color should inquire about the housing option.

While Pitzer is a community of individuals passionately engaged in establishing intracultural safe spaces for marginalized groups, the Facebook post and several subsequent comments are inconsistent with our Mission and values. Pitzer College’s Mission is to create engaged, socially responsible citizens. We rely on Pitzer’s core values, including intercultural understanding as well as Pitzer’s community values of diversity, dialogue, inquiry and action to help us achieve this mission. We come together to live and work in a shared learning environment where every member is valued, respected, and entitled to dignity and honor. Our shared goal is to create a balanced approach to engaging complex intercultural issues, not to isolate individuals on the basis of any protected status.

This is but another example to us that social media is not an effective platform to engage in complex dialog on seemingly intractable critical issues that have varied histories and contested understandings. They create more heat than light and invite extreme viewpoints that intentionally obfuscate the nuanced context that surrounds these issues. Pitzer offers its new 2-course Intercultural Understanding requirement and dedicates new curricular and extra curricular programming to address difficult issues of racism, diversity, community discourse and national and international political conflict.

During these difficult discussions, self-care is critical. If you need additional support during the summer, Monsour Counseling has an on-call therapist available for students. Call (909) 621-8202 and press option 1 to be connected to the on-call therapist. Chaplains are available by calling the Chaplains Office during regular business hours at (909) 621-8685. Employees should contact Human Resources for information on the Employee Assistance Program.

As we move forward in the academic year ahead, I look forward to participating in these discussions in the best tradition of Pitzer College.

Melvin L. Oliver