Location: Claremont, California
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit
Claremont McKenna College has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.
Speech Code Category: Posting Policies
Any material to be posted publicly by students must be approved first by the Director of Student Activities in the Dean of Students Office.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Harassment is conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working or learning environment, or that interferes with work or academic performance based on a person’s protected status, including race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex (which includes harassment based on gender, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious creed, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, or other status protected by antidiscrimination and antiharassment statutes, such as Titles VII or IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and FEHA. Such harassment can be physical, verbal, or visual. Harassment can be committed by employers, coworkers, students, and third parties.
Harassing conduct can take many forms and includes, but is not limited to, slurs, jokes, statements, gestures, pictures, or cartoons regarding an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age (over 40), religious belief, national origin, marital status, physical or mental disability, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local law.
Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment as defined above may include a severe, persistent, or pervasive pattern of unwelcome conduct that includes one or more of the following:
- Physical conduct:
- Unwelcome touching, sexual/physical assault, impeding, restraining, or blocking movements
- Unwanted sexual advances within the employment context
- Verbal conduct:
- Making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, or humor
- Verbal abuse of a sexual nature; graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations
- Objectively offensive comments of a sexual nature, including persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes
- Visual conduct:
- Leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, or posters in a public space or forum
- Severe, persistent, or pervasive visual displays of suggestive, erotic, or degrading sexually oriented images that are not pedagogically appropriate
- Written conduct: letters, notes, or electronic communications containing comments, words, or images described above
- Physical conduct:
Guide to Student Life: Policy Regarding Appropriate Use of CMC’s Computing and Network Resources 14-15
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
The College reserves the right to inspect and monitor data and communications at any time, for any reason it determines in its sole discretion. This includes monitoring network usage, including contents, and examining files on any system that is or has been connected to the network. Accordingly, no individual should have any expectation of privacy for messages or other data recorded in the CMC’s CNF Resources.
The use of CMC’s CNF Resources to create, transmit, or store material that is fraudulent, harassing, obscene (e.g., pornographic), threatening, or other messages or material that are a violation of applicable law or College policy, such as under circumstances that might contribute to the creation of a hostile academic or work environment, is prohibited.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
Guaranteeing the rights of free speech and peaceable assembly is a basic requirement for any academic community. In addition, expressions of support or protest by members of the campus community which do not infringe upon the rights of others are encouraged.
November 1, 2013
Brad Richardson, editor-in-chief of the Claremont Independent, a Claremont McKenna College student newspaper, wrote last week to urge students to support a partial separation between The Forum, another student publication, and the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC). Richardson explained why removing The Forum from the direct authority of the ASCMC would be beneficial for the publication and for the Claremont community: The reform measure consists of two main points: “The [Forum] Editor-in-Chief will no longer be an employee of ASCMC” and “The [Forum] Editor-in-Chief will no longer be chosen by the election committee of ASCMC.” Under the current system, the Forum editor-in-chief is placed in an untenable […]» Read More
October 10, 2011
Good news for students at Claremont McKenna College: The college has revised an email usage policy that severely restricted the free speech rights of its students. That policy, which was so egregious that FIRE named it our February 2011 Speech Code of the Month, prohibited the transmission of any “offensive” material, including any “disparagement” based on “religious or political beliefs.” At the time, FIRE wrote, This policy is truly breathtaking in its reach. You can be punished for any email that might be construed as disparaging on the basis of religious or political beliefs? Or any email that is found […]» Read More
February 8, 2011
Over on Andrew Sullivan’s Atlantic blog The Daily Dish, Senior Editor Conor Friedersdorf challenges Claremont McKenna College’s (CMC’s) policy on “Acceptable E-Mail Usage” in his post “The Right To Disparage My Political Views.” Thanks to Friedersdorf for linking to FIRE’s February Speech Code of the Month on one of the Internet’s most popular blogs!» Read More
February 2, 2011
Claremont McKenna College, recently named FIRE’s February Speech Code of the Month, is hosting FIRE President Greg Lukainoff today to speak about free speech on campus. All those interested at the Claremont Colleges should join Greg at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum at 6:45 pm to discuss how restrictive policies such as Claremont McKenna’s speech code chill open discourse on campus.» Read More
February 2, 2011
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for February 2011: Claremont McKenna College in California. Claremont McKenna’s (CMC’s) policy on “Acceptable E-Mail Usage” provides that “[t]he College’s system must not be used to create or transmit material that is derogatory, defamatory, obscene or offensive. Such material includes, but is not limited to, slurs, epithets or anything that might be construed as harassment or disparagement based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or religious or political beliefs.” (Emphasis added.) This policy is truly breathtaking in its reach. You can be punished for any e-mail that might be […]» Read More
January 7, 2011
Free speech is not safe at California colleges—not by a long shot. That’s what investigative reporter Erica Perez found in FIRE’s 2011 speech code report, as she wrote yesterday for California Watch: A new report from a national free speech advocacy organization found most of the four-year universities it surveyed had speech codes that substantially limit students’ freedom of speech, including dozens of colleges in California. […] Of the 33 California universities the organization rated, 64 percent got a red light, including San Diego State University, UC Santa Cruz and Claremont McKenna College. About 36 percent got a yellow light, including UC Berkeley, Occidental College and San Jose State University. […]» Read More
March 12, 2009
I recently reported on two Claremont McKenna College (CMC) students who were “banned” from Pomona College after they asked questions of a Planned Parenthood representative during a publicly advertised event. They videotaped their questions and the answers, and they turned off the recorder after being asked to do so. But a week later, they were publicly disgraced (though not by name) by two Pomona deans for having been “disruptive” and “attempting to create an antagonistic space.” Pomona and CMC are closely related neighbors in the Claremont University Consortium, which offers benefits and privileges to students enrolled at any of the […]» Read More
Victory for Individual Rights at Pomona College: No-Trespassing Order Reversed for Two Students Who Asked “Disruptive” Questions
March 11, 2009
Pomona College has reversed its no-trespassing order against two Claremont McKenna College (CMC) students who asked several questions and videotaped a public discussion led by a Planned Parenthood representative during Abortion Awareness Week. Two Pomona deans called the questions “disruptive” and instituted the ban without any due process—i.e., without giving the students a hearing or any chance to refute allegations levied by hostile witnesses. After receiving advice from FIRE, the students vindicated themselves in an impromptu hearing, and CMC’s president publicly apologized for the denial of the students’ rights to due process and freedom of speech. (Pomona and CMC are […]» Read More
February 21, 2009
Adam’s speech at Binghamton University (BU) came at a time of high tensions on the public university campus, as the BU social work faculty continues its assault on graduate student Andre Massena. The Binghamton Review (also one of the joint hosts of Adam’s speech) sat down with Adam for an interview on Binghamton’s speech codes prior to his visit, in addition to publishing an article on BU’s attempts at academic retaliation against Massena, and FIRE’s efforts to win justice on his behalf. FIRE figures as well in an article examining proposed changes to BU’s code of conduct, and is given […]» Read More
December 3, 2008
The Claremont Consortium is at it again. FIRE has received word of two more “bias related incident” e-mails from Claremont administrators. You may remember that Claremont has a protocol of notifying all students at all five Claremont colleges when such incidents occur. Previous Consortium-wide e-mails followed minor incidents such as the writing of “Hillary is a foxy lesbian” on a whiteboard and the “white party” debacle, where party advertisements posted around the Scripps College campus were deemed offensive by Scripps College Dean of Students Debra Wood. She believed that the flyers were racist and sexist. The incident earned Wood a […]» Read More