By Megan Petersen ’15Copy Editor
It’s been a proud couple of weeks for me, Scripps.
There’s a lot that’s been said—and more I could say—about all of those who got on board with our Scripps sister whose article was criticized by the CMC Forum earlier this month and stuck up for our school. I’ve never been prouder to call myself a Scripps woman than now.
But I have a funny feeling that’ll fade, and I’m dreading it.
Let’s remember back to last year, last semester, last month. Rarely did I hear someone say that Scripps empowered them. Instead, I felt like I was always hearing negativity. I’m not talking about baseless complaining, either—I’m talking about the prevalence of girl-on-girl hate on campus. I’m talking about how our sexual violence reports number in the single digits every year. I’m talking about the prevalence of racism and othering on campus.
Last semester at the Motley’s feminism teach-in, the panel’s general consensus was that feminism is not as strong on campus as it ought to and could be. But these past few weeks, I’ve seen a beautiful and powerful feminism gracing Scripps’ campus. We were sticking up for ourselves in the face of those who wanted to discredit us. We were defending our classmates, our friends, our sisters, in their endeavors to advocate for women’s rights and for equal rights. We were refusing to be silenced by anyone: our harshest critics or our closest friends.
People criticized that Forum article because, among other things, the author argued that women’s colleges exist to exclude men. While many of us agree that women’s colleges exist not as centers of exclusion but rather as centers of empowerment, I don’t think that that actually comes through at Scripps as often as it could.
In criticizing that Forum article, we were, I think, all harking back to a famous founding principle of our school—that a “paramount obligation of a college is to instill in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.” We saw that as our goal, and we defended not only our right to attain it, but also the effectiveness of our process of getting there.
In her response to the Forum column, Lizzy Pfeiffer calls for us all to continue a Claremont-wide dialogue on these issues. I think that’s incredibly important, and definitely one of the best ways we could respond to this controversy. I would, however, like to see us continue not only a consortium-wide dialogue, but also a more localized effort to continue cultivating the loving, supportive, radical self-love that I felt oozing from Scripps the past few weeks.
So I challenge myself, my classmates, the faculty, the administration, and our alumnae to continue pushing to make Scripps the empowered collective of women we deserve to be. I’m not saying that continually working to improve Scripps through critique isn’t important—only that we shouldn’t tear each other down in the process. I also don’t think we all need to think or behave the same way (this isn’t a cult, after all).
But I just think we can love each other a hell of a lot more. We’ve proved that we can do it, so let’s keep it up.