Guidelines for Civil Discourse
Here are some sample guidelines about civil discourse that were written by Puget Sound faculty.
Free expression, criticism, and discussion of ideas in an atmosphere of tolerance, civility and mutual respect is very important in a communication classroom. This does not mean that all conversations, discussions or speeches will be comfortable; for example, when one's ideas or values are under attack the experience can be both painful and highly educational. Principles of academic freedom allow students and teachers to take controversial positions without fear. However, demeaning comments or speech or action that harasses or discriminates on the basis of race, creed, age, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation will not be tolerated.
Student Integrity Codes
All University of Puget Sound students commit to the Student Integrity Codes and are expected to embrace the University’s Standards of Integrity (The Logger 85-100).
At the annual Matriculation Ceremony, all entering students subscribe to the Integrity Principle by making this public promise: “I believe that personal integrity is essential. Therefore I accept responsibility for my actions and promise that I will examine the motives and consequences of all that I do, so that my actions consistently reflect my wholehearted commitment to the search for knowledge and self-understanding. I will be fair, civil and honest with all other members of the university community and respect their safety, rights, privileges and property” (86). Be guided by your honor and that of your school.
A Climate of Mutual Respect
This class will foster free expression, critical investigation, and the open discussion of ideas. This means that all of us must help create and sustain an atmosphere of tolerance, civility, and respect for the viewpoints of others. Similarly, we must all learn how to probe, oppose and disagree without resorting to tactics of intimidation, harassment or personal attack. No one is entitled to harass, discriminate, or belittle another on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender, national origin, or sexual preference. On the other hand, we cannot permit ourselves to be silenced because we feel awkward discussing politically sensitive issues.
I expect you to participate as good listeners while your peers are speaking. This is your role as members of the audience. Good listening requires effort and energy; “audience member” is not a passive role. Good listening entails offering attentive, supportive nonverbal feedback, and asking questions or offering comments.