The student senate at Pitzer College has flatly rejected a student’s proposal to establish a campus yachting club due to concerns that the name of the yacht club is “exclusive” — and “luxurious” and “classist,” and fails to support “queer and trans people of color.”
Pitzer is a small, private college in Southern California where the cost for one year of tuition, fees and room and board is $63,880.
“Student Senate voted against this club instatement last night, as the majority of Senators found the name ‘Yacht Club’ to have a particularly offensive association with Yacht Clubs and a recreation known for being exclusive,” bearded Pitzer student senator Taylor Novick-Finder wrote in a Sunday email, according to Campus Reform.
The Pitzer student who sought to start the yacht club is junior Jordan Fox, who has no sailing experience — but, obviously, would like to acquire some.
“We were turned down just because of our name,” Fox told The Claremont Independent, the campus newspaper. “We have been trying to talk about the description of the club, but everyone is so focused on the name. We never had intentions of making this club offensive in any way. I certainly never would have thought this name could be considered classist.”
Some students at the fancypants, $63,880-per-year school said they oppose the yachting club because they oppose elitism.
“It doesn’t matter what it is called, the club itself is a classist and inaccessible activity for people who are not wealthy,” one unidentified student wrote on Pitzer’s Class of 2019 Facebook page, according to the Independent. “Pitzer’s money would be going towards a luxurious classist, elitist yachting activity (alienating students on campus who are lower income) instead of going to support for example queer and trans people of color, disabled students, working class students, indigenous/Native American students, etc.”
Other students disagreed.
“I think you are missing the point that this club would open up access to sailing for people who have never been able to experience it, like myself,” senior Kyle Dalrymple wrote, according to Campus Reform. “Additionally, I will stress again the approval of a club has nothing to do with the budget allocated to it.”
In addition to official campus recognition, Fox had requested $5,000 as seed money to rent boats and hire instructors.
Fox emphasized that he isn’t trying to offend anyone.
“I by no means want anyone to feel uncomfortable. I would just like a space on campus where we as students can enjoy and learn more about sailing, boating, the ocean, and sea chanteys,” Fox told the campus newspaper. “After the meeting, we are planning to change the name of the club or possibly drop the matter altogether.”
Pitzer’s student council rarely rejects appeals for official recognition for student groups. In past years, a hammock club and a cake club had been rejected because, student senators recalled, those clubs were too much like existing campus clubs.
Pitzer, which was founded by a well-heeled orange grower, is one of the The Claremont Colleges — a consortium of five undergraduate schools located close to one another.
The swanky school’s endowment is $134.3 million. The collective endowment of the five colleges in the Claremont consortium is $3.53 billion.
Existing student organizations at Pitzer include a student investment club, a feminist coalition, a women’s lifting club, a smart sex society and an anime club. The posh private school also boasts a brewing club, a super PAC and a club dedicated to tattoos.