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May 7, 2024

Pomona admin met with Claremont Police Chief days before Alexander Hall sit-in to plan intervention, emails show

President Starr called in dozens of riot police to arrest 19 students participating in a divestment sit in on April 5.

Undercurrents staff
Graphic by Samson Zhang

Pomona administrators appeared to meet with Claremont Police Department on April 3, two days before calling a five-department riot police response to arrest 19 students participating in a sit-in, according to emails Pomona Divest from Apartheid obtained via a Public Records Act request.

Read the full email at the bottom of the document.

On April 10, a member of PDfA reached out to the City of Claremont, requesting copies of any communications with Pomona Colege about protest activity on or in the month prior to April 5. California’s Public Records Act requires government entities to share written records when requested.

A city official replied on April 16, sharing a three-email exchange between Pomona Vice President Jeff Roth and Claremont Chief of Police Aaron Fate on April 2.

The exchange began with Roth introducing himself to Fate, with the subject line “Pomona introduction and arranging a brief meeting this week to discuss protest intervention plan for Pomona College.”

Roth shared that Pomona is “about to enter a new phase of campus enforcement of protest policy” that “likely could lead to calls to CPD,” and asked to meet with Fate alongside Director of Campus Safety Mike Hallinan and Dean of Students Avis Hinkson the following day, as “things are moving quickly on campus.”

Fate responded that he would be able to meet the three administrators in person at the Claremont Police Department building at 8:00 a.m. the next day. Roth then replied to agree to the time. “Mike, Avis and myself will come to the PD,” he wrote.

The emails appear to align with PDfA’s claim that, at an April 8 faculty meeting, President Gabi Starr said that she had consulted with the Claremont Police Department “in the week prior to the April 5 arrests.” In an Instagram post, PDfA said that it received this information from “over a dozen” students and faculty members who attended the meeting.

Starr’s decision to call in a heavy riot police response to the 19-student April 5 sit-in, which involved at least 25 police vehicles from Claremont, Pomona, Azusa, Covina and La Verne police departments, has been matched by administrators at Columbia, NYU, UCLA and dozens of other college campuses in the past month as they responded to escalating protests, including solidarity encampments and building occupations.

College administrators have had over 2,100 students and faculty arrested at anti-genocide campus actions in recent weeks, according to an Associated Press report.


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Undercurrents reports on labor, Palestine liberation, prison abolition and other community organizing at and around the Claremont Colleges.

Issue 1 / Spring 2023

Setting the Standard

How Pomona workers won a historic $25 minimum wage; a new union in Claremont; Tony Hoang on organizing

Read issue 1