Integrity Principle

The University of Puget Sound is founded upon several fundamental values. Central among these are self-knowledge and respect for others or civility. As members of the Puget Sound community, students are expected to follow an age-old precept that, while certain aspects of the pursuit of knowledge must be undertaken mutually, all knowledge stems from one principle: Know thyself.

To grasp this principle, students should willingly engage in testing, probing and examining themselves. This process leads to a sense of personal integrity, a sense of what individual students can expect from themselves as well as from others, and a set of personal standards requiring both individuals and groups to govern their acts by a commitment to honesty, civility and active concern for the needs of others. 

Developing self-knowledge and personal integrity logically entails respect for others. The university, as a community, is founded upon a fundamental agreement, a contract between all its individual members, in which each accords every other member respect as a colleague committed to the pursuit of knowledge and self-understanding. To misuse or abuse that mutual respect is to threaten the entire academic enterprise at Puget Sound. 

Civility is the hallmark of this community; destructive hostility has no place in open and honest learning. The contract among university members requires a balance between freedom of expression and freedom from threats to safety. The university community espouses no single correct way to engage in intellectual inquiry, no set body of beliefs to which all must subscribe, and no restrictions on the free expression of ideas. Equally, however, it rejects the development of an environment which hinders in any way the right of all to pursue their educational goals. It does not tolerate language or actions that threaten specific harm to individuals or groups. 

The Integrity Principle is the paradigm for developing self-knowledge. The Standards of Integrity that follow from it describe the respective roles of freedom and regulation in the university community. Together they provide both general and specific expectations that govern the relationships between all members of the community. 

The Integrity Principle was developed, in its original form, by members of Puget Sound’s Student Senate. By subscribing to the Integrity Principle, all members of the university community commit themselves to honoring certain basic principles:

  • the open exchange and challenge of beliefs, without rancor;
  • the right of all to speak and to listen, without penalty; the need to care for others and to be cared for, without possessing or being possessed. 

At the annual matriculation ceremony, all entering students subscribe to the Integrity Principle by making this public promise: 

I am a member of the community of the University of Puget Sound, which is dedicated to developing its members’ academic abilities and personal integrity.  I accept the responsibilities of my membership in this community and acknowledge that the purpose of this community demands that I conduct myself in accordance with Puget Sound’s policies of Academic and Student Integrity.  As a student at the University of Puget Sound, I hereby pledge to conduct myself responsibly and honorably in my academic activities, to be fair, civil, and honest with all members of the Puget Sound community, and to respect their safety, rights, privileges, and property.

In making this commitment, all students publicly acknowledge that the Student Integrity Code is the primary measure by which they will examine their motives and actions and the fundamental mechanism which guarantees the right of all other members of the Puget Sound community to pursue their educational goals successfully.  Students thus matriculate as full members of the university community, embracing all of its obligations and enjoying all of its privileges.