Pomona’s Banned Anthem?

A reader, Carl Olson (Pomona ’66) writes us about a flap over the ban of Pomona’s alma mater song:

What kind of college has an alma mater song, but then refuses to allow it at Commencement or Convocation? It’s Pomona College in Claremont, California. President David Oxtoby has made such an inexplicable ruling.
Apparently he could not make up his mind. It started last February when he took the nuclear option of totally banning the alma mater song “Hail! Pomona, Hail!” based totally on an erroneous anonymous campus flyer. It said that the song had been written for a January 1910 blackface minstrel show. Without any historic review, President Oxtoby refused to allow the song to be sung at any Alumni Events in April or Commencement or other school events.
The actual historic records of the college have indisputably shown that the song had not even been written in January 1910, but rather a year or so later. Nevertheless Oxtoby and a small group of students and faculty on campus still cling to the false reporting about the origin as if it were fact. Oxtoby says that because a few students out of the 1500 enrollment are persisting in these false assertions about a “racist” origin of the song, he will punish the remaining students, faculty, alumni, staff, and trustees with his bizarre ruling.
It looks like political-correctness has run amok at a college that has heretofore been admired for academic objectivity. Time for reappraisal?
Everyone can check out the story by visiting President Oxtoby’s statements on www.pomona.edu. Critical local comments are on www.claremontconservative.com, www.claremontindependent.com, and claremontca.blogspot.com.

Anthony Paletta

Anthony Paletta is a freelance writer.

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