Claremont McKenna Falls From First to Sixth Place in Free Speech Ranking

By Charlie Hatcher


On Wednesday, Claremont McKenna College fell to sixth place in the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression 2022-2023 college free speech rankings. CMC ranked first in last year’s rankings.


According to data collected by FIRE and College Pulse, only 38 percent of the 150 CMC students surveyed felt it was never acceptable to shout down a speaker in order to prevent them from speaking. 46 percent said they had “rarely or never self-censored on campus,” and 36 percent said they were not worried about reputational damage from something they had said or done. The survey also reported that for every conservative CMC student, there were roughly 5.2 liberal CMC students.


FIRE also reported rankings for more specific forms of expression on campus. CMC placed 74th in comfort expressing ideas, 89th in acceptance of disruptive conduct related to campus speakers, and 28th in openness to difficult conversations. CMC ranked sixth in student perception of administrative support for free expression.


For acceptance of campus speakers, CMC ranked fourth overall, 13th in acceptance of liberal speakers, and 30th in acceptance of conservative speakers.


The rankings were determined by self-reported data from students at the 208 colleges and universities surveyed, as well as FIRE’s evaluation of the school’s administration. This evaluation included how many professors came under attack for their speech from 2019-2022, how the school reacted to any attacks, how many speakers were disinvited from 2019-2022, and how FIRE rated a school’s campus speech codes.


This report comes in the wake of a case in which Professor Christopher Nadon claimed that he was censored for protected speech, which was confirmed by other members of the faculty. The story has received national coverage.


In August, FIRE sent a letter to CMC’s Dean of Faculty Heather Antecol, objecting to the college’s handling of Nadon and two other professors’ cases. CMC’s president, Hiram Chodosh, has since denied Nadon’s claims.


As for the other Claremont Colleges, Harvey Mudd College ranked 54th, Pomona College ranked 190th, Scripps College ranked 195th, and Pitzer College ranked 196th.


Updated at 9:22 PM


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