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Scripps College Offers ‘Support and Resources’ to Students Traumatized by Campus Debate

The all-female Scripps College in Claremont, California, is offering traumatized students “support and resources” in response to a contentious debate that took place during a guest lecture event.

Scripps College hosted an open lecture on Tuesday on the topic of American-Islamic Relations and xenophobic rhetoric in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. After a group of guest audience members challenged the speaker, Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), a Scripps administrator published a statement offering “support and resources” to those who were traumatized by the exchange.

Several attendees that were unaffiliated with the college asked Ayloush if CAIR disavowed suicide bombings. The question sparked a 30-minute debate. “As a Muslim,” Ayloush began, “I cannot enter paradise if I didn’t believe in the sanctity of life.”

One attendee claimed that Jewish students were afraid to attend the event. ““I have Jewish friends who didn’t want to come here today because they were afraid for their safety,” the student explained.

According to the event’s description on the Scripps College website, the event was to focus on the premise that“[t]he xenophobic rhetoric of the 2016 presidential election has only intensified since Donald Trump took office, and campaign promises have manifested into tangible policies and executive orders that have stalled immigration applications, torn families apart, grounded travelers, and instilled fear in entire immigrant communities throughout the nation.”

In response to the event, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Scripps College, Charlotte Johnson, released a statement offering support for students who were impacted by the exchange.

At today’s Tuesday Noon Academy, Campus Safety responded to a call about a heated exchange between the speaker and a group of audience members, unaffiliated with The Claremont Colleges. Some members of our community in attendance reported that these audience members’ comments were anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant, which are in direct conflict with our shared values and principles of community. Scripps College condemns acts of bigotry or hatred, even when purportedly made in the name of intellectual freedom. Any member of our community targeted because of their race, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status may contact our Title IX office and make a complaint under Scripps College’s harassment and discrimination policy.

We realize that there were students in attendance at this event. Support and resources for impacted Scripps students are available from the Dean of Students Office, located in Balch Hall.

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