California College Denies Student Yacht Club Because Yacht Clubs Are 'Classist' And 'Offensive'

Students at a tony private California college were denied the opportunity to start a yacht club because yacht clubs are "classist" and "offensive," Campus Reform is reporting.

Senior Jordan Fox has never sailed before, but said he was interested in starting a yacht club at Pitzer College -- a private college in Claremont, California, where a year's tuition can exceed $63,000 -- so he could learn the hobby. He and a few other students petitioned the college for the right to begin a yacht club, asking for an initial $5,000 to rent equipment and hire instructors; Campus Reform notes that, once a club is approved, the Southern California college can give a club an amount up to $5,000, or no money at all, to get their club off the ground.

Unfortunately for Jordan, the student senate shot down his request for a yacht club. In remarks made available via the Claremont Independent, Senator Taylor Novick-Finder explained the student government's reason for shutting down the yacht club before it even got started.

"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."
Yacht Club
What goes on at a yacht club, apparently. Image credit: Shutterstock/Syda Productions

Despite its apparent (to the Pitzer College student senate, anyway) reputation for being an elitist hobby of the super wealthy, "yachting" doesn't necessarily mean puttering about on multi-million-dollar vessels while eating caviar and drinking Dom Perignon champagne. By definition, the term "yacht" simply refers to a category of recreational sailing vessel -- sure, you can buy a luxury megayacht for a few hundred million. Or you can get started in the sport with a small, 33-foot sailing yacht scarcely large enough for its captain, according to the Royal Yachting Association.

"Small boats come in a range of sizes and shapes to suit every budget (from dinghies and catamarans to keelboats). They can be sailed by people of every age and ability and are a really fun, social way to get afloat for the day."
Some yachts cost as little as $10,000 or thereabouts -- hardly chump change, but enthusiasts of other hobbies (such as car restoration or model airplanes) spend that much or more on their hobbies.

In fact, depending on the context, yachting can be a physically demanding sport, requiring precise actions and split-second decisions, carried out by the yacht's captain and/or crew.

"Racing offers an exhilarating team approach to sail racing with every crew member battling the elements to cross the finish line. The events diary for yacht racing is jam packed with opportunities and the social side is pretty good too!"
Yacht Club
Yacht racing. Image credit: Shutterstock/Sandra R. Barba

Regardless, Fox says, the Pitzer student senate chose to ignore all of that and instead allowed itself to be turned off by the word "yacht."

"We were turned down just because of our name. 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."
Speaking to Fox News, Claremont Independent publisher Steven Glick attributed the yacht club denial to political correctness.
"I think the P.C. police have been going further and further every day with what they're deeming offensive. It's becoming increasingly trivial, concerning what should be censored or banned. It's unfortunately not a surprise to see."
Do you think Pitzer College was right to turn down a yacht club? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/Nejron Photo]