College Charges 7 Students for Shutting Down Conservative Speaker

It’s about time. But is it enough?

California’s Claremont McKenna College has issued discipline to ten students for blocking access to a speech by conservative Heather Mac Donald.

It announced its findings and charges in a Tuesday release:

On the evening of April 6, a group of approximately 170 individuals from the Claremont Colleges and others outside our community organized, led, and executed a blockade of the Athenaeum and the Kravis Center. They breached the perimeter safety and security fence and campus safety line, and established human barriers to entrances and exits. These actions deprived many of the opportunity to gather, hear the speaker, and engage with questions and comments.

The blockade breached institutional values of freedom of expression and assembly. Furthermore, this action violated policies of both the College and The Claremont Colleges that prohibit material disruption of college programs and created unsafe conditions in disregard of state law.

Through a review of available video and photographic evidence, the College initially identified twelve CMC students as potential participants in the blockade. After further review, the College charged ten students with violations of College policy. Three of those students were then found not responsible for any violation. After a full conduct investigation and review process for the remaining seven students, an independent community panel found each student responsible for policy violations.

Three of the seven students are suspended for one year, two are suspended for one semester, and two are on “conduct probation.”

The school claims it “followed a full, fair, and impartial student conduct process before the determination of findings, sanctions, and the resolution of appeals.”

“Efforts to politicize and interfere with this process had no influence on timing or decisions,” the statement added. “Students had an opportunity to be heard, pose questions, ask for further investigation, and raise objections throughout the process.”

CMC announced it provided evidence to other Claremont Colleges of policy violations by its students as well as “issued provisional suspensions of on-campus privileges to four non-CMC students who appear to have played significant roles in the blockade.”

The statement concludes with lessons learned:

In the aftermath of the blockade on April 6, the College learned important lessons that must further strengthen our resolve. Our Athenaeum must continue to invite the broadest array of speakers on the most pressing issues of the day. Our faculty must help us understand how to mitigate the forces that divide our society. Our students must master the skills of respectful dialogue across all barriers. Our community must protect the right to learn from others, especially those with whom we strongly disagree. And Claremont McKenna College must take every step necessary to uphold these vital commitments.

Mac Donald detailed the happenings on April 6. Click here to read and decide of CMC did enough to deter this from happening again.

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