B. Bias-related Incident
Bias-related incidents are expressions of hostility against another individual (or group) because of the other person’s (or group’s) race, ethnicity, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender identity and/or expression and/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. Circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the activity and/or behavior is considered “protected” by the First Amendment.
C. Free Speech
Both the California Constitution and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protect the right to free expression. Free speech laws can protect many forms of seemingly “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 fliers and displaying of posters. In certain contexts, courts have found to be protected certain speech and expressive conduct that many in our community would find repugnant. 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. Circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the activity and/or behavior is considered “protected” by the First Amendment.
D. Responding to Hate Crimes and Bias-related Incidents:
Bias-related incidents need to be addressed because they reinforce the status quo, harm individuals, undermine civility and understanding in the HMC community and/or impede the educational process. Public discussion and education can promote awareness of prejudice and examination of the values that underlie the HMC community.