Statement on Civility
September 5, 2001
Members of the CMC Community
President Pamela B. Gann
Freedom of Expression, Harassment, and Civility Within Our Community
The purpose of this memorandum is to communicate broadly with all members of the CMC community concerning the College's written policies that pertain to freedom of expression and harassment. These policies establish rules affecting certain types of conduct and speech. Members within our community are required to comply with the rules set forth in these policies, some of which the College must impose by law. These policies establish the minimal requirements that we must all meet. To achieve the existence of a civil community that promotes learning and personal development, however, it is often necessary to exceed the minimal expectations expressed in these written policies with respect to the ways we treat one another and express our viewpoints within the CMC community.
As we begin a new academic year, I hope that all members of our community will take the time thoughtfully to consider the issues addressed in this memorandum and how they apply to your own participation in this community.
Freedom of Expression and Harassment
The College has two written policies that affect expression and conduct. First, CMC has a written policy on demonstrations, providing that the College prohibits disruptive or non-peaceful demonstrations on any of the grounds of The Claremont Colleges and their affiliated institutions.
Second, CMC has a written harassment policy that applies to all staff, students, and faculty. Harassment of any kind that is covered by this policy is unacceptable at CMC. Under the policy, harassment is defined as:
unwelcome or unsolicited verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or other conduct prohibited under applicable Federal and/or State laws and/or regulations relating to harassment which is the creation of a hostile or intimidating environment, in which verbal or physical conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere significantly with an individual's work or education, or affect adversely an individual's living conditions.
Violations of these policies can lead to formal disciplinary action.
A copy of the harassment policy is attached for your reference. In addition, the demonstration policy may be found in the CMC Guide to Student Life at page 108.
While each of these policies provides important protections to individuals and to the CMC community as a whole, they are also limited in certain respects. They do not cover a great deal of expression that is more appropriately left to good judgment, self-restraint, and civility; all which collectively could be characterized as common sense behavior. This is because the regulation of expression, whether of particular viewpoints, or even of the circumstances or manner in which they are expressed, is a difficult undertaking. When individuals attempt to regulate speech they often convey their own intolerance. However artfully drawn, such rules can chill a good deal of provocative expression that is surely desirable in a dynamic, independent college.
It should be possible for us to find suitable ways to express individual points of view, on any number of subjects, in ways that adequately describe our own views without a spirit of meanness toward one another, and without a desire to do harm or make anyone feel disappointed about being a member of the CMC community. The failure to maintain such an environment will inevitably hurt us all by making this campus a much-diminished environment in which to pursue our individual educational aims.
CMC does not tolerate destruction of property, threats to specific individuals, or other actions that threaten anyone's sense of personal safety. It is difficult to imagine that any member of the community would disagree that such acts are utterly unacceptable.
Graduate and Professional School Admission
In order to gain admission to graduate and professional schools many applicants not only must meet academic standards, but they must respond to questions about their academic and social conduct. "The Dean of Students or an Appropriate College Official" is often asked to comment on individual applicants' conduct, and applicants themselves are often required to report if they have ever been subject to disciplinary (conduct) or academic censure.
Students should be aware that individual acts that are covered by the College's written harassment and demonstration policies are relevant to a student's fitness for continuing study in graduate and professional schools. Such issues are also relevant to evaluations for job recommendations. Similarly, academic misconduct that violates the Basic Rule of Conduct will be taken into account. The severity of the conduct and the surrounding circumstances will be considered carefully.
Management of These Areas
There are several individuals, from whom you may seek more information, or to whom you may report an incident:
W. Torrey Sun, Vice President and Dean of Students, Heggblade
Center, ext. 18114
Jefferson Huang, Associate Dean of Students and Dean for Campus Life, Heggblade Center, ext. 18114
William Ascher, Vice President and Dean of the Faculty, Bauer Center, ext. 18117
Julia McCallin, Assistant Vice President and Director of Human Resources, Bauer Center, ext. 18490
Susanne Mahoney Filback, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Career Services, Heggblade Center, ext. 77038
Frederick M. Weis, Vice President and Treasurer and Affirmative Action Officer, Bauer Center, ext. 18116
I ask any member of the CMC community - students, faculty, or staff - who has knowledge of behavior that may violate any of the College's policies in these areas to see one of these individuals. In addition, if you believe that standards of civility have slipped seriously, I would urge you to contact one of these individuals. Indeed, students should feel at ease in approaching any member of the administration or faculty to discuss such issues with every assurance of goodwill from the College. Even when behavior may not be severe enough to qualify as a violation of the College's harassment policy, I want all of us to be able to discuss any seriously uncivil conduct so we may work together to maintain a healthy and successful environment in which to pursue, with excellence, our various roles in our community.
See the Claremont McKenna College Harassment Policy.