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, StatementAny 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, StatementSexual harassment may be ... "environmental" harassment, where the individual is subjected to a hostile or intimidating environment, in which verbal or physical conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere with an individual's work or education, or to affect adversely an individual's living conditions.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, StatementThe 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, StatementAs an institution of higher learning, Claremont McKenna College has a profound
commitment to the free expression and testing of ideas -- whether or not those ideas are controversial or
unpopular --for such freedoms are essential to the search for truth, the central purpose of any institution of
higher learning. The College’s commitment to freedom of speech generally, and to the particular ideals
associated with academic freedom, requires that the advocacy of ideas in instruction, by both faculty and
students, be protected, and requires the College to protect the rights of its faculty and students to pursue
controversial, provocative, and unpopular topics and ideas in their teaching, learning, and research.
Moreover, rights of free speech and expression are not only at the core of the College’s mission, they are also
protected by state and federal law, which limit when offensive speech or expressive conduct may be
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementGuaranteeing 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.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementSpeech or other expressive activity can and will be grounds for discipline when it (1) materially or substantially disrupts class work or involves substantial disorder to College activities, (2) invades the legal rights of others, (3) amounts to "fighting words," (4) is likely to provoke imminent lawless action, (5) constitutes defamation or obscenity, or (6) rises to the level of unlawful harassment. Labeling such improper activity as "speech" does not make it permissible, either under the policies of the College or under the law.
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