Claremont McKenna College

Location: Claremont, California
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Thank Claremont McKenna College for its commitment to free speech.

Speech Code Rating

Claremont McKenna College has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.

Green Light Policies
  • Civil Rights Handbook: Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 21, 2018

    This Handbook is consistent with the College’s core values of academic freedom and free speech. The College has adopted the University of Chicago’s Statement on Academic Freedom, which is incorporated in full here….

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  • Civil Rights Handbook: Prohibited Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 21, 2018

    Harassment is a form of prohibited discrimination that involves 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 actual or perceived Protected Status. Such conduct constitutes harassment when: … Such conduct is sufficiently serious or persistent as to create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning, or sexually offensive working, academic, residential, or social environment under both a subjective and objective standard.


    Where non-physical conduct is the nature of the concern (i.e. speech or other expressive activity)

    • Statements or conduct legitimately and reasonably related to the College’s mission of education do not constitute harassment, and unlawful harassment must be distinguished from behavior that, even though unpleasant or disconcerting, is reasonable and appropriate in view of the relevant circumstances.
    • This extends to both academic freedom and freedom of expression (e.g., non-disruptive participation in a protest, speaking as a citizen in an open forum, etc.).


    Consistent with the general definition of Harassment set forth above, sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that rises to the level of severity or persistence set forth in this section.


    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: …

    • 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

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  • Claremont Colleges Policy on Demonstrations

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: February 21, 2018

    The undergraduate Claremont Colleges, Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College together with the Claremont Graduate University, Keck Graduate Institute and the 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 exercise.

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  • Policy Regarding Appropriate Use of CMC’s Computing and Network Resources

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: March 9, 2018

    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 violate applicable law or College policy is prohibited.

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  • Guide to Student Life: Student Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: March 9, 2018

    Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct: Actions which materially disturb or disrupt (or encourage others to materially disturb or disrupt) the physical safety of the community (or any community member) or the normal functions of the College (including teaching or research; administrative functions; disciplinary proceedings; other College-sponsored activities, on or off campus; or other authorized or permissible activities that take place on campus).

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  • Understanding the campus free-speech crisis

    April 12, 2017

    By Stanley Kurtz at National Review What’s gone wrong on our college campuses and how can we fix it? This past week, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald, a knowledgeable supporter of America’s criminal justice system and thoughtful critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, was repeatedly shouted down by protesters at UCLA, then silenced and forced to escape with a police escort the next day, during what should have been her talk at Claremont McKenna College… Read more here.  

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  • Zoolander 2 is too Offensive for Students, University Shows Deadpool Instead

    April 19, 2016

    By Robby Soave at Reason Claremont McKenna College’s student programming board cancelled a planned screening of Zoolander 2 because the film’s humor is inappropriate and comes “at the expense of individuals of marginalized identities.”… Read more here.

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  • The ‘Heckler’s Veto’ on America’s University and College Campuses

    November 30, 2015

    By Allan C. Brownfeld at Communities Digital News WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2015 – Free speech used to be highly valued, particularly on the nation’s college and university campuses. Academic freedom demanded a respect for a diversity of views. During the Vietnam War years, this writer taught at the University of Maryland. The campus was alive with debates about the war and a host of other subjects. There was no effort to silence diverse points of view. Earlier, at the College of William and Mary and its law school, the notion that certain ideas could not be expressed because someone might be […]

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  • From Megaphones to Muzzles

    November 25, 2015

    By Susan Mulligan at US News It was students in California who birthed a new era on college campuses, one in which collegians would demand to be included, to be treated like adults and to have a very public say on such hotbed issues as civil rights and the Vietnam War. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement of 1964 became a defining moment in a nationwide trend, with students insisting they would not be silenced on some of the most controversial issues of the day. A half-century later, campuses are again the site of unrest and tension, but it’s not about […]

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  • Sharp Divisions Emerge on Campuses as Some Criticize Activists’ Tactics as Intimidation

    November 23, 2015

    By Teresa Watanabe at Los Angeles Times Alton Luke II is an African American sophomore at Occidental College who backs the broad goal of racial equity for students. But he has chosen not to support the minority student movement aimed at ousting college President Jonathan Veitch and improving campus diversity — and bluntly announced his views on Facebook this week. For that, he has paid a price. Luke said some of his friends, both black and white, have started ignoring him. He’s been called ignorant. He said the hostility of some protesters toward those with different views is a major […]

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  • College Protests Lack Right Solutions

    November 19, 2015

    By Tallahassee Democrat at The mess at the University of Missouri recently is sending ripples of racial unrest through university campuses nationwide, with some significant long-term implications for American education and politics — as well as the news media. In a little more than 36 hours, thousands of students protesting what they consider the University of Missouri administration’s insensitivity to some ugly racist provocations forced university President Tim Wolfe to resign. The university chancellor also announced plans to quit soon, and Wolfe was replaced on an interim basis by Michael Middleton, a black man who was the deputy chancellor, as well […]

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  • Student Activism, Race & Free Speech

    November 18, 2015

    By Aaron Henkin, Maureen Harvie and Connor Graham at The University of Missouri, Yale University, University of South Carolina, Occidental College, University of Kansas, Claremont McKenna College. The list goes on. College students across the country are leading protests and demonstrations to call attention to the issue of racial tolerance, diversity, and in some cases, the resignation of professors and high-ranking administrators. In this hour of Midday we’ll view this topic through national and local lenses, and hear the points of view of academic reporters, students, a college administrator and a free speech advocate. Our guests: Scott Jaschik,editor and one […]

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  • Our opinion: Free speech 101: Don’t stifle it

    November 15, 2015

    By Staff at Tallahassee Democrat The mess at Mizzou is sending ripples of racial unrest through university campuses nationwide, with some significant long-term implications for American education and politics — as well as the news media. In a little more than 36 hours early last week, thousands of students protesting what they consider the University of Missouri administration’s insensitivity to some ugly racist provocations forced university President Tim Wolfe to resign. The university chancellor also announced plans to quit soon, and Wolfe was replaced on an interim basis by Michael Middleton, a black man who was the deputy chancellor, as […]

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  • College Students Want to Make Everything Free Except Their Minds

    November 13, 2015

    By Robby Soave at At least it’s not just about offensive Halloween costumes, anymore: Students across the country engaged in protests Thursday and Friday as part of the Million Student March for debt forgiveness, free college, and a $15 minimum wage. I have serious reservations about these goals—a higher minimum wage would cripple the opportunities of young people, debt forgiveness would punish taxpayers for the crimes of the privileged, and free college just isn’t very usefulfor poor people. What’s more, students can’t articulate a way to pay for them, as evidenced by this painful exchange between an organizer and […]

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  • Claremont McKenna becomes first college in California to earn FIRE’s highest rating for free speech

    March 21, 2018

    CLAREMONT, Calif., March 21, 2018 — Claremont McKenna College has become the first institution in California to earn the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s highest, “green light” rating for free speech. Claremont McKenna joins 38 other institutions across the country with the distinction. “Claremont McKenna is the first college in California to fully achieve what many colleges only pay lip service to: a commitment to student and faculty speech,” said Samantha Harris, FIRE’s vice president of policy research. “We hope CMC’s efforts to stand up for the free exchange of ideas on campus inspire other institutions in the state […]

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  • After students blockade Heather Mac Donald talk, Claremont McKenna reaffirms commitment to free expression, due process

    July 18, 2017

    Claremont McKenna College, a member of the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California, has completed student conduct proceedings related to seven students involved in a “blockade” to prevent others from hearing a talk by Heather Mac Donald, a conservative author who had been invited to speak on campus, according to a statement issued by the college. In the wake of the protests, David Oxtoby, the president of Pomona College, another school within the Claremont Colleges, condemned the actions of those who participated in the blockade, stating that the school could not support “the act of preventing others from engaging with an […]

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  • In wake of troubling campus incidents, students stand up for free speech

    April 19, 2017

    Last week, a staff editorial in Wellesley College’s student newspaper, The Wellesley News, garnered significant public attention for arguing that “[s]hutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech.” The editorial also had a creepy whiff of ideological re-education about it, arguing that while many people cannot help arriving on campus with “problematic” views instilled in them by our “discriminatory and biased society,” at some point, these benighted students simply deserve what’s coming to them: “if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or […]

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  • ‘So to Speak’ podcast: The ‘heckler’s veto’ strikes Heather Mac Donald

    April 18, 2017

    On April 6, Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather Mac Donald was standing in Claremont McKenna College’s Athenaeum preparing to give a lecture to an empty room. An empty room was not what Mac Donald expected when she accepted an invitation from the college’s Rose Institute for State and Local Government to deliver a lecture on her new book, “The War On Cops.” But outside the auditorium, close to 300 people had surrounded the Athenaeum, preventing prospective audience members from entering. They were protesting Mac Donald’s defense of law enforcement policing tactics and her criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement. Ultimately, […]

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  • Claremont McKenna allows demonstrators to block access to campus speech

    April 10, 2017

    Outside Thursday’s planned speech by Manhattan Institute fellow and author Heather Mac Donald at Claremont McKenna College, more than 200 protesters linked arms, blocked entrance to the event, and yelled “Shut it down!” This tactic proved effective, as Claremont officials determined that the risk of violence if they attempted to clear a path for the audience to attend the event was too high. According to The Washington Post: Blocking buildings on the California campus is an arrest-able offense, but seeing the sizable crowd, campus officials decided not to force the issue and instead live-streamed Mac Donald’s event. “We jointly concluded […]

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  • FIRE Q&A: Steven Glick of ‘The Claremont Independent’

    May 24, 2016

    Steven Glick is editor-in-chief of the The Claremont Independent, a student-run newspaper whose motto is “Upholding Truth and Excellence at The Claremont Colleges.” In addition to being a student-athlete, the 21-year-old rising senior majoring in economics at Pomona College was, until last semester, a writing fellow at the school’s Writing Center, which “provides faculty and students resources to teach, learn, and improve their writing.” But Glick says his news stories at The Claremont Independent brought him under increasing scrutiny at the Writing Center, which he claims had a “political agenda.” Glick wrote an open letter of resignation from the Writing […]

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  • Could ‘The Vagina Monologues’ Be Harassment at Claremont McKenna?

    July 30, 2015

    The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler’s iconic feminist production, has been called “the most important piece of political theater of the last decade.” It is regularly performed by student groups on college campuses across the country and has inspired large-scale movements to stop violence against women throughout the world. And yet, it is not difficult to imagine that overly broad university harassment policies could force administrators and students alike to reconsider holding productions of the play on their campuses. As FIRE has noted multiple times, the Supreme Court has established a clear standard for actionable student-on-student harassment on college campuses. In […]

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  • Claremont McKenna Students Advocate for Independence of Student Newspapers

    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 […]

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  • Speech Code Victory: Claremont McKenna College Revises ‘Speech Code of the Month’

    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 […]

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  • FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month on ‘Daily Dish’

    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!

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  • Greg to Speak at February’s Speech Code of the Month School Today

    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.

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Claremont McKenna College

    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 […]

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  • ‘California Watch’: No Free Speech at California Colleges

    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. […]

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  • A Fresh Look at Claremont McKenna’s Speech Code

    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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • Rights in the News: FIRE Brings the Heat to Binghamton

    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 […]

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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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