How an “Emotional Labor” Dispute is Dividing a California Liberal Arts College
Financial aid and mental health are at the center of a student labor dispute on the campus of Scripps College (part of the Claremont Consortium of schools), a private, all-women’s college in California.
Per the Wall Street Journal, the school’s resident advisors (RAs), along with campus tour guides, threatened to walk off the job—and in the case of the guides, defame the school to prospective students and parents—in order to get better financial aid and access to mental health services off campus.
As the Journal notes, the majority of RAs are African-American and Latina and get free room and board for their services. The college’s president agreed to some of the protestors’ demands, but the strike continues.
Writing an opinion for the Journal, Sophie Mann, a junior at the college, believes the strike is ironically a by-product of the student protestors’ own liberal arts education. Writes Mann: “Freshmen are encouraged to see themselves as permanently oppressed victims of great structural forces—racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism, etc. Radical faculty encourage and enjoy watching their students work themselves into frenzies against their institution.”
According to the Claremont Courier, the strike has since received the support of the student government, editorial board of the school’s newspaper, and 250-plus alumni.