Harvey Mudd College

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

Tell Harvey Mudd College to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Harvey Mudd 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.

Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Hate Crimes and Bias-related Incident Protocol

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: December 19, 2017

    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.

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  • Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 19, 2017

    Prohibited harassment is defined as any conduct directed toward an individual based on a protected characteristic (or based on a perception that an individual has the protected characteristics or associates with others who have, or are perceived to have, the protected characteristic) which is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter or interfere with an individual’s work or academic performance, or which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work, educational, or living environment. … Conduct alleged to constitute harassment will be evaluated according to the objective standard of a reasonable person. Thus, conduct that is objectionable to some, but that is not severe or pervasive enough to create an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive environment, is beyond the purview of this policy.

    Harassment can take many forms and will vary with the particular circumstances. Examples of harassment prohibited by this Policy may include, without limitation: (1) verbal conduct, such as epithets, derogatory jokes or comments, or slurs directed at an individual or group of individuals because of a protected characteristic; (2) visual displays, such as derogatory posters, photography, cartoons, or drawings not protected by policies on academic freedom and freedom of expression which ridicule or demean an individual on the basis of a protected classification; and/or (3) physical conduct, including unnecessary and unwanted touching and intentionally blocking normal movement. Generally, statements and/or conduct legitimately and reasonably related to the College’s mission of education do not constitute harassment.


    Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it unreasonably denies, adversely limits, or interferes with a person’s participation in or benefiting from the education, employment, or other programs and services of the College and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find to be intimidating.


    In determining whether sexual harassment occurred, the conduct alleged to constitute harassment is evaluated from both the perspective of the targeted individual and the perspective of a reasonable, similarly situated person, in consideration of the context of the behavior.  A single, isolated incident may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe, particularly if the conduct is physical.

    Examples of behavior that might be considered sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: (1) pressure for a date or a romantic or intimate relationship; (2) unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, or massaging; (3) pressure for or forced sexual activity; (4) unnecessary and unwelcome references to various parts of the body; (5) belittling remarks about a person’s gender or sexual orientation; (6) inappropriate sexual innuendoes or humor; (7) obscene gestures of a sexual or gender-based nature; (8) offensive sexual graffiti, pictures, or posters; (9) sexually explicit profanity; and (10) use of email, the internet, or other forms of digital media to facilitate any of the above-referenced behaviors.

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  • Student Handbook: Public Posting Policy

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: December 19, 2017

    Publicity may not contain any reference to alcohol, drugs or violence.

    While it is not the intention of the HMC student body to post offensive posters, it may happen from time to time due to the difference in personal taste, opinion, or background. If a poster is thought to be offensive, it may be removed using the guidelines stated below. Moreover, any poster that does not meet the requirements listed under “Content” may also be removed under these guidelines. Election posters are not exempt from this policy.

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  • Student Handbook: Bullying and Cyber-bullying Policy

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: December 19, 2017

    Bullying and cyber-bullying are repeated and/or severe aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally. Bullying and cyber-bullying are not permitted at Harvey Mudd College. Students are encouraged to speak to a member of the student affairs staff or report to the DB chair if they believe they are experiencing of bullying or cyber-bullying.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Rights and Responsibilities – Academics Preamble

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: December 19, 2017

    It is the intent of the College to develop in its students the capacity for critical judgment and to encourage the independent and sustained search for truth. As an indispensable condition for this search, it is the policy of the College to secure and to respect freedom to teach and freedom to learn in the classroom, the laboratory and the extracurricular opportunities provided to the students.

    Students and student organizations shall be free to discuss all questions, to express opinions publicly or privately, and to support causes by orderly means insofar as such actions do not obstruct or disrupt the regular and essential operations of the College.

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  • Student Handbook: Demonstrations at the Claremont Colleges

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: December 19, 2017

    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 exercise.

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At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • 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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  • 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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