Claremont McKenna College’s Dean Resigns Amid Student Protests, Racial Tensions

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Mary Spellman, the dean of students at Claremont McKenna College, resigned Thursday. (Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Student protests roiled college campuses Thursday, when Claremont McKenna College’s dean of students resigned under pressure over racial tensions and protesters at more than 100 colleges and universities nationwide demanded the cancellation of student debt.

Dean Mary Spellman at Claremont McKenna stepped down after she sparked a campus protest and hunger strikes by two students this week over her email to a Latina student saying she would work to serve those who “don’t fit our CMC mold.”

Spellman later apologized but her remarks appeared to be a tipping point for students who have pressed the campus for months for greater diversity among faculty and staff and more funding for multicultural services.

Spellman’s resignation came days after student protests over racial discrimination pushed the University of Missouri’s president and chancellor to resign. Hundreds of students at Ithaca College in upstate New York have demanded the resignation of the college’s president, Tom Rochon over accusations that he has failed to address racial insensitivity. Racial tensions also prompted hundreds of students to demonstrate this week at Yale University.

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