The Right To Disparage My Political Views

More

by Conor Friedersdorf

I'm surprised to see that Claremont McKenna College has run afoul of FIRE, the non-profit that advocates for free speech on American campuses.

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." 

This policy is truly breathtaking in its reach. You can be punished for any e-mail that might be construed as disparaging on the basis of religious or political beliefs? Or any e-mail that is found derogatory or offensive by some unspecified standard? Given that e-mail is a widely used mode of communication among college students and faculty, this policy prohibits a large amount of core political and religious expressionthe kind of expression that lies at the heart of the First Amendment and that is crucial to the open debate that should characterize a prestigious college like CMC.

When I attended Pomona College, which is right next door, I edited newspapers that appeared on both campuses, and received e-mail disparaging my political views on a weekly basis! Thank goodness none of my interlocutors were punished back then.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

'Why Do Men Assume They're So Great?'

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of this month's Atlantic cover story, sit down with Hanna Rosin to discuss the power of confidence and how self doubt holds women back. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down