Location: Claremont, California
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit
Pomona 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.
The College’s policies on harassment apply equally to electronic displays and communications as they do to more traditional means
of display and communication. You must not display or transmit abusive images, sounds or messages to an identifiable
individual or group of individuals.
exual harassment may be either “quid pro quo” harassment, that is sexual advances or requests for sexual favors where submission is made an explicit or implicit term or condition of an individual’s employment or education or where submission or rejection is used as the basis for making employment or educational decisions affecting an individual; or “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.
Examples of sexual harassment may include such conduct as: … e. A pattern of conduct that would discomfort or humiliate, or both, a reasonable person at whom the conduct was directed that includes one or more of the following: (1) unnecessary touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s body; (2) remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body, whether or not intended to be complimentary; (3) remarks about sexual activity or speculations about previous sexual experience; or (4) other comments of a sexual nature, including sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes or anecdotes; f. Certain visual displays of sexually-oriented images outside the educational context; g. Letters, notes or electronic mail containing comments, words or images as described in (e) above.
For the sake of maintaining a sense of community and support for all members, organizations are expected to refrain from using racial, gender or ethnic slurs, stereotypic depiction, or similar references in all advertising material.
Non-electronic advertising may contain no explicit or implicit, written or pictorial references to alcohol beverages or alcohol service.
Violations of the Student Code include: … Use of the colleges’ computing facilities to send obscene, threatening or abusive messages.
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 incident may not be a crime, and may be protected speech. The conduct underlying some bias- related incidents may violate the College’s policies, including provisions of the Student Code and the Harassment and Discrimination Policy.
Free Speech requirements protect many forms of “hateful” and intolerant speech and expressive conduct, including that which occurs during such common College activities as debates, speeches, arguments, conversations, classroom discussions, lectures, distribution of flyers and displaying of posters. In certain contexts, courts have found speech and expressive conduct to be protected that many in our community would find repugnant, including such things as display of the confederate flag, nazi symbols, cross burning, and flag burning. Such speech and expressive conduct, however, may be inconsistent with the College’s community values and it may present an opportunity for open dialogue, debate and better understanding of the scope of protected speech and the role of tolerance in a community.
The undergraduate Claremont Colleges– Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College–together with Claremont Graduate University, Keck Graduate Institute and Claremont University Consortium (CUC) are all member institutions of the “Claremont Colleges.” Each of these member institutions respects the rights of free speech and peaceable assembly and supports their exercis
Unlawful harassment is conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working or academic 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 and expression, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, veteran status, family care leave status, or other status protected by antidiscrimination and anti-harassment statutes, such as Titles VII or IX of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Such harassment can be physical, verbal, or visual. Harassment can be committed by employers, coworkers, fellow students, and third parties. Generally, statements and/or conduct legitimately and reasonably related to the College’s mission of education do not constitute harassment. To count as harassment under this policy, such conduct must: a) be based on one or more of the categories mentioned above; b) be offensive to the individual complaining of harassment and offensive to a reasonable person, and c) be so persistent, repetitive, pervasive or severe that it has the effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance by creating an intimidating, abusive or hostile educational, employment or living environment at the College.
Student Handbook: Discrimination and Harassment Policies and Grievance Procedures- General Policy Statement 13-14
As an educational institution, Pomona College is committed to the principle of free expression and the exploration of ideas in an atmosphere of civility and mutual respect. Thus, in keeping with the principles of academic freedom, there can be no forbidden ideas. Pomona College also recognizes that the educational process can often be disturbing and unsettling, particularly when one’s current ideas or values are being challenged. This means that the learning, working, and living environments might not always be comfortable for all members of the college community. The College does not proscribe speech simply because it is offensive, even gravely so.
Verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, or harassment. An act which is speech alone shall not be considered to violate this paragraph unless it is a threat of violence; or (1) the speech, considered objectively, is abusive and insulting rather than a communication of ideas, (2) the speech is directed at an individual and actually used in an abusive manner in a situation that presents an actual danger that it will cause an immediate breach of the peace by inciting a violent reaction by the individual to whom the speech is addressed and, (3) the student intends the speech to be abusive and insulting rather than a communication of ideas.
February 25, 2013
Today, FIRE brings you the next installment in our blog series on the state of free speech at America’s top 10 liberal arts colleges, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Up today: Pomona College, one of the five undergraduate colleges that are part of the Claremont Colleges consortium in California. Overall, Pomona College’s speech codes are not as restrictive as some of the other schools in this blog series. Further, it’s important to note that some of the more restrictive policies are not specific to Pomona but rather are applicable to all of the Claremont Colleges, meaning that it […]» Read More
October 19, 2010
The Student Life (TSL), a student newspaper at Pomona College in California, ran an article on Friday about Pomona’s policy on “bias-related incidents” and about FIRE’s yellow-right rating of Pomona’s speech codes. College policy defines bias-related incidents as “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 identity or expression and sexual orientation, or because the perpetrator perceives that the other person (or group) has one or more of these characteristics.” Pomona College is one of the five Claremont Colleges, all of which share similar definitions […]» Read More
December 19, 2007
We like to say at FIRE that a great outcome of controversial speech is more speech. And that’s just what Pomona College is up to. In early November, the Pomona Student Union (PSU) organized an immigration debate between Jacob Hornberger, founder of the Future of Freedom Foundation, and Marvin Stewart, president of the Minuteman Project, Inc. PSU president Halsey Jakle told The Student Life News that the organizers intentionally chose speakers with unpopular views with the goal of stimulating discussion and raising campus awareness of the issues involved. That’s just what happened. Following the event, which proceeded smoothly until […]» Read More