Education

Here’s The Only California College To Fully Embrace Free Speech

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter

A free speech nonprofit welcomed Wednesday the first California college onto its list of institutions that fully embrace free speech.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) gave Claremont McKenna College a “green light” rating, according to a press release obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“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,” FIRE Vice President of Policy Research Samantha Harris said. “We hope CMC’s efforts to stand up for the free exchange of ideas on campus inspires other institutions in the state to follow suit.”

Claremont McKenna amended its Internet usage and disorderly conduct policies to obtain the “green light” rating.

“Even more important than policy is our ethos for learning — the critical intellectual and responsive social skills (from active listening to effective dialogue) that put academic freedom to work,” Claremont McKenna President Hiram E. Chodosh said.

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FIRE rates 40 other California colleges, 35 of which received the “yellow light” rating, indicating the existence of at least one speech policy whose wording could be manipulated to wrongly punish students, and five of which obtained a “red light” rating, asserting the existence of at least one speech that “clearly and substantially” hinders student speech.

The California State University system encompasses all five of the state’s “red light” institutions, which include Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills, Fresno, Long Beach, and Monterey Bay. Policies that gave these institutions “red lights” include Channel Islands’ harassment policy, which prohibits “derogatory comments,” as well as Fresno’s information technology policy, which bans distributing emails containing “offensive material.”

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