Document Check Timeline (compiled by Samuel Pang and designed by Diana Dao and Kelly Park, Pomona ’12)
We’ve devoted the entire issue to reflecting on the events at the end of last year that shook our community to the core — namely, the trustee-ordered document audit of Pomona College employees that stripped 17 individuals, 16 of them dining hall workers, of their livelihoods on Dec. 1 — and the actions that various individuals and groups undertook in response.
Much of the uproar has died down since students have returned from winter vacation. Only the semi-permanent closure of Frank Dining Hall on weekends serves as a reminder of how the College has changed. Even this, however, has functioned mostly to deflect the attention back onto students’ lives and students’ problems. The surface-level inconvenience has distracted from addressing the deeply embedded, systematic injustices that brought it about in the first place. Continue reading
By Gabe Lewin, Pomona ’13 and Samuel Pang, Pomona ’12
This Tuesday, five dining hall workers who lost their jobs in December after Pomona’s document checks spoke about why they were fired, the daily injustices they faced working at Pomona, and how they’ve continued to fight since they were fired.
The document checks happened in the middle of a union organizing drive. At the forum, the workers asked repeatedly why the administration decided to demand their immigration papers now after the workers have worked at Pomona for years and, in some cases, decades.
“They wanted to get rid of us, so they found a way to get rid of us,” Christian Torres said. Continue reading
Dearest Board of Trustees:
hello Claremont Progressive readers! my name is frank sánchez, and i am in my third year at Pomona College majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies and minoring in Music. i am one of several students who came together last semester to plan, organize, and participate in the extended vigil outside of Alexander Hall, which was held in response to the letters requesting work documents that were distributed to 84 Pomona employees and the subsequent firing of 17 individuals. i have been asked to write a reflection on the vigil with close to a month-and-a-half’s worth of hindsight. because i feel exhausted after being forced to navigate virtually unnavigable formal channels of communication, i have decided to write in a somewhat informal manner. the following poem/letter/whatever is an attempt to express my views on the experience(s) of last semester and what i hope will continue out of them. i want to emphasize that the opinions expressed in this piece are exactly that, opinions (more specifically, mine), and should not be misconstrued as representative of the thoughts of any other vigil organizers or participants. Continue reading
By Samuel Pang, Pomona ’12
As the first month of this semester draws to a close, to many, the campus has returned to a state of normalcy; the weather has been pleasant, the jabs at CMC have been plentiful, and ultimate Frisbee continues to imperil pedestrians on Marston Quad. The events of last semester, the tents, the firings, the struggles, have been all but forgotten beneath the braying of first years agonizing about the long trek to Frary, being a sponsor, and the lack of snack on South Campus. Many scoff at the idea of bringing these issues back into focus, insisting instead the past is past and what is done cannot be changed. While it may be easy to forget the past, history is power, and with the experiences of marginalized communities already silenced in the dominant historical narrative, we cannot let the struggle of the 17 fired workers be forgotten. In continuing this struggle, though, there also needs to be space for critical self-reflection in order to build on what has gone well and rethink what could have been more effective; my critique fits squarely into this space. As a supporter of both the extended vigil and Workers for Justice, I believe the extended vigil was a necessary action in solidarity with the workers fighting for their jobs, but the strategies and tactics used could have better supported their struggle. Continue reading