Dean of Clarement McKenna College resigns amid charges of racial bias

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The dean of students at Claremont McKenna College resigned Thursday, following protests in which students demanded more inclusive programs for "marginalized students."

Mary Spellman, who has held the position for nearly six years, announced her decision in an email to the student body.

She wrote that her resignation "is the right thing to do for the school and the students I care about so deeply."

In the message, Spellman asked that her supporters "please know how sorry I am if my decision disappoints you. I believe it is the best way to gain closure of a controversy that has divided the student body and disrupted the mission of this fine institution."

"Most important, I hope this will help enable a truly thoughtful, civil and productive discussion about the very real issues of diversity and inclusion facing Claremont McKenna, higher education and other institutions across our society," she wrote.

Max Benavidez, associate vice president for public affairs at the college, said that Spellman's decision was entirely her own, and "given the situation, it was the right decision."

"We are focusing on the students and their needs," Benavidez said. Claremont President Hiram E. Chodosh announced in an email to students that the college plans to fill two new positions to oversee diversity and
inclusion issues on campus among students and faculty.

In addition, Benavidez said, the college will open a space for students who feel marginalized to meet and program.

The resignation came days after the University of Missouri's president and chancellor stepped down amid student protests over alleged racial discrimination.

Students at Ithaca College in upstate New York have demanded that the university's president step down over accusations that administrators were insensitive to racial issues on campus.

Students rallied Wednesday at Claremont, demanding inclusive programs for what they call marginalized students -- including students of color, LGBT students, disabled students and low-income students.

Prior to the rally, a Claremont junior announced in a campus student publication that in protest of the lack of support she believes Spellman has shown towards students of color and of other marginalized identities, she is
undergoing a hunger strike until the dean of students resigns.

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