Deans Review Policy on Recording Events on Campus

The Student Dean’s Committee is re-evaluating the recording, demonstration, and banning policies in place at the Claremont Colleges.

The review comes just over a month after two anti-abortion Claremont McKenna College students were banned from the Pomona College campus for videotaping a campus event organized by a pro-abortion rights student group without the permission of the event organizers or speaker. The ban was lifted a week later amid criticism by students and administrators.

In preparation for the formulation of a new seven-college recording policy, the committee decided to conduct a thorough review of the current recording policies at each individual college, as well as reviews of the campus-wide policies on banning students and demonstrations.

“We don’t have a common recording policy,” said Jim Marchant, dean of Pitzer College and chairman of the Student Deans Committee. “Thus, we agreed to review these policies and related 7-C policies.”

“It would be very useful to have a recording policy for public events,” said Pomona Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum. “When we have this discussion, we want to make sure that the policy does not make students feel that their creativity is being stifled.”

In the last eight years, the Claremont University Consortium Board of Overseers has set a common policy for all the colleges with regard to demonstrations and barring people from specific campuses.

On Oct. 18, 2005, the board established its “banning disruptive persons policy,” which states that colleges have “the right to ban persons from its property, and/or off campus, college, or CUC sponsored functions where illegal behavior, disruption or threat of harm to others or property has occurred.”

On Nov. 7, 2001, the council of the Claremont Colleges set a policy that defined punishable demonstrations as those that “endanger or injure any person” or that “restrict free movement on any of the campuses, or interfere with, or impede access to, regular activities or facilities of any of the Colleges or CUC.”

“This decision to implement a recording policy is not about limiting free speech,” said Feldblum. “It is about requiring individuals to get consent.”

The Women’s Union incident in February highlighted disagreements between the schools regarding the policy for barring students from campus and the demonstration policy. Pomona took the position that the incident was subject to the banning policy, while CMC said that the demonstration policy needed to be applied. Marchant says that the disagreement occurred due to a lack of a standard recording policy.

“Right now, we are looking at different college’s policies at the other five colleges,” said Marchant. “We want to make sure that the other colleges are on the same page. We also need to talk to a legal counsel to make sure that all of our policies are sound.”

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