Campus Free Speech

Conservative Student Says Faculty Made Him Quit Writing Program for Not Supporting 'Safe Space'

At Pomona College, social justice strikes again.



Is the purpose of Pomona College's Writing Center to help students improve their writing skills, or to push left-wing language and causes on them? A conservative student recently resigned his position as an instructor in the program after faculty advisers accused him of being an "obstacle" to the creation of a safe space. 

The student, Steven Glick, accused Writing Center leadership of harassing him because of his political views. Glick is editor-in-chief of the right-leaning student publication, The Claremont Independent, and has been critical of protesters at the Claremont family of colleges in California (Pomona is one such institution). 

His written opinions on these subjects clashed with the center's goal of creating a safe space, according to coordinators Katherine Snell and Pamela Bromley. Glick was eventually instructed to read a series of leftist social justice articles, including "Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy." That sounds like an interesting read, but not a terribly relevant one for Glick's job. 

Glick apparently believes the Writing Center should mostly function in accordance with its mission—which is to assist students who want to become better writers. His supervisors take a different view, he wrote

My peers have proposed their ideas for a new Writing Center mission statement, noting that we should aspire to "provide a space for students to work through their ideas with fellows trained in a writing pedagogy that considers how race, gender, sexuality, language, national-origin, and socioeconomic status influences and affects those ideas," "educate ourselves so that we better understand oppression, liberation, and dynamics of difference and power as they manifest themselves in the Writing Center," and "acknowledge and interrogate the ways in which the Writing Center, Pomona College, and academia itself perpetuate and have perpetuated injustice and oppression." I told Ms. Snell that, in my opinion, the goal of the Writing Center should remain unchanged: to provide "students with a community of experienced readers and writers, offering free, one-on-one consultations at any stage of the writing process—from generating a thesis and structuring an argument to fine-tuning a draft." 

Glick was subsequently placed on probation. He suspects one of the students he was tutoring had complained about him—deliberately set him up for failure because she dislikes his political views. According to Glick, she dressed as "White Supremacy" last Halloween. Her friends attended a party as "Steven Glick and his White Fragility." 

Glick has since resigned his position. "It has become clear that the Writing Center is harassing me because of my political beliefs," he wrote. 

I reached out to the administrators of the Writing Center to ask whether they had any response to this charge. I did not immediately receive a response. 

It's of course possible that there's more to the story: perhaps Glick was merely bad at his job. His writing seems polished and thoughtful to me, but I can't tell whether he was an effective teacher. 

However, it looks like his bosses presumed that he couldn't possibly be a good teacher unless he eagerly accepted their far-left political views. Is no corner of the American college campus safe from the influence of social-justice-obsessed activists?

Hat tip: The College Fix