Claremont University Consortium

Location: Claremont, California
Website: http://www.claremont.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

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  • Claremont University Consortium: Free Speech Silenced by Administrators

    March 18, 2008

    At the Claremont University Consortium in California, there were several blatant attacks on constitutionally protected free speech. At Scripps College, flyers for a “white party” were criticized by the administration and a “cultural epithet and offensive drawing on the write and wipe board of a student’s room” was erased. At Harvey Mudd College, a student’s message on a whiteboard “Hillary is a foxy lesbian” was erased and campus security was notified. These and several other cases highlighted by student writers on campus shed light on potential systemic violations of student speech rights at the Consortium.

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This school does not have any speech codes at this time.
  • ‘Unlearning Liberty’

    January 3, 2013

    by Allie Grasgreen Inside Higher Ed In spring of 2007, Valdosta State University student Hayden Barnes was expelled for posing a “clear and present danger” to campus. To protest an expensive and environmentally unfriendly parking garage, Barnes had created a collage illustrating potential dangers the garage might cause (smog, environmental destruction, etc.) and posted it on Facebook, calling the project the “[Valdosta State President Ronald] Zaccari Memorial Parking Garage. The “memorial” bit referred to Zaccari’s calling the garage part of his legacy, but the president, who had been assured Barnes was harmless, claimed to take it as an “indirect” threat […]

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  • Group faults colleges over speech issues

    April 10, 2008

    An organization dedicated to defending individual rights at colleges has sent a letter to the Claremont Colleges objecting to administrative responses to student speech deemed offensive. In its March 18 letter, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said it was concerned about the “chilling effect on free speech caused by several announcements … in response to student expression.” The letter outlined three messages sent by college administrators in response to recent incidents. In February, a dean at Scripps College called for a boycott of a student party at Claremont McKenna College after objecting to fliers for the event she […]

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  • Advocating for Free Speech at Pitzer College, Claremont University Consortium

    March 14, 2013

    At California’s Pitzer College, students have taken it upon themselves to advocate for their fellow students’ free speech rights and to attempt to get their institution’s speech codes revised. But their efforts are not limited to Pitzer’s campus; they extend to the entire Claremont University Consortium, a group of private institutions that includes Pitzer, Claremont McKenna College, Pomona College, Harvey Mudd College, and Scripps College. So reports The Student Life, a campus newspaper published by the Associated Students of Pomona College. As is the case with all non-sectarian private colleges and universities in California, students at Pitzer and across the […]

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  • Why the Claremont University Consortium Should Revise Its Policy on ‘Bias Related Incidents’

    July 28, 2010

    Last week, I wrote about an exchange between FIRE and Washington State University (WSU) that led WSU to promise to make changes to its “Bias Hotline” policy that would bring the policy into compliance with the First Amendment. I wrote that a revision along such lines would be a great benefit to students on WSU’s campus, and that more universities should do the same in light of the abuses of bias incident policies that we see each year. (Indeed, in our 2009 Spotlight report (PDF) on speech codes, we highlighted these policies and their proclivity for being used to restrict […]

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  • Pomona Student Asks, ‘Just How Much Freedom of Speech Do We Have?’

    April 28, 2010

    Pomona College student Jack Knauer ponders this question in an astute column published last week in Pomona’s newspaper, The Student Life. Two incidents from recent weeks spurred the column. First has been the college’s reaction to the painting of allegedly insensitive remarks on Pomona’s Walker Wall. Second, the Claremont University Consortium, which includes Pomona, was named FIRE’s April 2010 Speech Code of the Month. Originally built as a stopgap to prevent mud and debris from nearby mountains from draining onto the campus, Walker Wall was repurposed beginning in 1975 after students painted a message of support for then-incarcerated activist Angela Davis. The administration decided to let […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: The Claremont Colleges

    April 5, 2010

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for April 2010: The Claremont Colleges in California. The five Claremont Colleges—Pomona, Scripps, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, and Pitzer—share a policy entitled The Claremont Colleges Communication Protocol for Bias Related Incidents (linked here from Scripps’ website). The protocol contains all sorts of directions for what must happen in the event of a bias related incident on any of the five campuses, including communication among administrators at all five schools and, frequently, dissemination of notice of the incident to the entire student body. The protocol defines “bias related incidents” as “expressions of hostility […]

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  • Student Op-Ed Confronts “Bias-Incident Protocol” at Claremont Consortium

    November 16, 2009

    The Claremont Consortium in California requires that an e-mail be sent to students at all five colleges in the Consortium whenever there is a report of a “bias-related incident.” A bias related incident is defined by Pomona College (the definition varies slightly between the colleges) as follows: Bias-related incidents are expressions of hostility against another individual (or group) because of the other person’s (or group’s) race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation, or because the perpetrator perceives that the other person (or group) has one or more of these characteristics. Depending on the circumstances, a bias-related […]

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  • ‘Stupid Drunks,’ Beware of the Speech Police

    September 11, 2009

    Last year it was “Hillary is a foxy lesbian” written on a student’s whiteboard at Harvey Mudd College during the Democratic primary season. That was enough to trigger an e-mail to students and others across the Claremont Colleges—and notification of the campus police. This is because the official “bias-related incidents” policy of the five colleges requires that even the most minor of so-called bias incidents will automatically trigger a campus-wide e-mail, even when the expression is quite obviously protected as free speech. Ludicrous? You bet. This was just one of many such outsized reactions in 2007-08 and 2008-09, which included a culturally unaware reaction to […]

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  • Two More ‘Bias Incident’ Reports at the Claremont Colleges

    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 […]

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  • FIRE and Free Speech on Campus: Are the Claremont Colleges Violating the California Constitution?

    September 4, 2008

    CFN member Charles Johnson wrote an excellent article yesterday in The Claremont Independent, where he serves as assistant editor. Johnson is a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College, one of five undergraduate colleges (along with Pomona College, Scripps College, Harvey Mudd College and Pitzer College) that make up The Claremont Colleges. The article, entitled “FIRE and Free Speech on Campus: Are the Claremont Colleges Violating the California Constitution?” explores the state of free speech in the Claremont College system. Johnson begins by describing the case of Peter Musurlian, an independent filmmaker who posted a YouTube video critical of a lecture hosted […]

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  • Claremont Consortium Responds to FIRE’s Letter via School Newspaper

    April 29, 2008

    As we reported on The Torch last Friday, there have been several challenges to free expression at The Claremont University Consortium. FIRE wrote a letter to Robert A. Walton, CEO of The Claremont University Consortium, questioning the efforts by several Claremont administrators to censor speech and although we never heard back directly from the administration, they responded through one of Claremont’s student newspapers, The Student Life. In the article, Pomona President David Oxtoby acknowledges FIRE’s commitment to free speech, but also “feels these email notifications of bias related incidents do not suppress free speech at all and that these actions […]

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  • Double Standard at Claremont Colleges

    April 25, 2008

    Over the past few months, FIRE has been notified of several challenges to free expression at The Claremont University Consortium—a group of five undergraduate colleges and two graduate schools in California. In early February, Scripps College Dean of Students Debra Wood sent an e-mail to all Scripps students in response to flyers posted on campus for a “White Party,” where attendees were encouraged to wear white clothing. Photos on the advertisements included scantily clad African-American women. Wood’s e-mail claimed that the flyers harmed “not only women and African Americans, but all of us here at the colleges and undermines our […]

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