Freedom of Expression at CMC

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Claremont McKenna College was founded in 1946 as a liberal arts college with a focus on leadership and public affairs. Since its founding, the College mission has emphasized the core values and principles of freedom of expression, diversity of opinion, civil discourse, and mutual respect.

As President George Benson wrote upon the College's 10th Anniversary in 1957, the CMC community shares “a commitment to a free society. We may go about achieving it in different ways, but we all want it, and we all recognize that it means listening respectfully to each other.” 

Sixty years later, the College maintains a strong commitment to the freedom of expression, the values of civility and respect for a diverse, inclusive community, and an appreciation of debate and dialogue. From our recent endorsement of the University of Chicago principles, to our letter and convocation remarks last fall, to the foundational documents for the CARE Center and our training in dialogue, the faculty, Board of Trustees, academic leadership, and our entire learning community have amplified the interdependence and vital importance of these values.

This is also true of The Claremont Colleges. An appreciation of dissent, freedom of movement, and academic freedom are all deeply embedded in our shared Claremont College commitments.

In order to engage each member of our community, The Claremont Colleges, and the general public in a continual study and practice of these values and to facilitate a clear understanding of our policies and practices, we have developed this micro-site on the freedom of expression.

In these pages, we will learn more about:

  • The foundations of these principles, which emanate both from the U.S. Constitution and from our fundamental commitment to academic freedom;
  • College policies on freedom of expression, including demonstration policyacademic freedomharassment and other legal limitations, and additional clarifications that apply to CMC, The Claremont Colleges, and guests from the general public; and
  • The many ways we practice and animate these values, through the Athenaeum, the CARE Center, our centers and institutes, our classrooms and research labs, and other features of student life and programs, such as debate or Model UN, and the engaged residential life of our politically and socially diverse campus community.

The commitments to freedom of expression and the diversity of thought, debate, and dialogue in civil discourse, and mutual respect in a diverse and inclusive community, are each practiced, never perfected.

We continue to learn every day how best to live by these core values here at Claremont McKenna College.

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