At Albion College, we are committed to creating a safe and brave community. Safe communities are those where all feel that their personal safety is assured and where there is no fear of intentional physical or psychological harm. Brave communities are those where debate about different views and perspectives is welcomed, is respectful and empathetic, and occasionally creates discomfort within and/or among those involved. The key to creating communities that are safe and brave is empathy and respect. Empathy affords us the ability to understand that some speech and action, however, intended, may contribute to fear of harm in others. Respect allows us to pause and hear out an opposing view before we assume intent.
When communities like Albion commit to being both safe and brave, a multiplicity of perspectives can be shared, resulting in shared understanding. In such communities, belonging is fostered. As we prepare for the upcoming election, the Albion community must be a safe and brave community where all members feel respected and utilize empathy for others with different lived experiences.
Together Bravely, we have faced differences of perspective on our approaches to COVID-19, are facing the challenges of working to become an anti-racist institution, and will face the outcome of the election. We challenge all members of our community to take the Together Bravely pledge:
I commit to engaging in conversations to understand my peers and colleagues with respect and empathy. I commit to doing my part to make sure Albion is a safe and brave community. I commit to being open to discomfort and to not assuming intent. I commit to acknowledging unintentional harm when it occurs and to working to understand how to avoid it in the future.
We know that the election brings increased anxiety about the future of our country, which is exacerbated by the current global pandemic. We recognize that no matter the outcome of the election, one part of our community may be excited and another part may be distressed.
To strengthen our liberal arts commitment to free and open discourse on campus while also keeping in mind our commitment to belonging, we encourage student leaders, coaches, faculty, staff and administrators to engage in conversations about how we can be a safe and brave community as we prepare for the November election. We encourage reflection on what a safe and brave community looks like and on the part each individual must play in such a community in times of stress and polarization.
This election calls on us to remind ourselves of our commitment to diversity, equity, and belonging. Our Blueprint for Belonging asks us to frame our engagement on campus with the following in mind:
A liberal arts education, by definition, should liberate minds from ignorance.
A liberal arts education should provide students with the ability to discern the discrete influences and interaction of biography, history, and social, political, economic, and cultural context, and to understand how these shape our standpoint, our life chances, and our life choices.
This process of liberation is enhanced in a community that is committed to educational equity, diversity, and unrestricted inquiry. We seek therefore to foster an environment of mutual respect, acceptance, appreciation, and caring for all members of our community.
We strive for a community of belonging for all. To this end:
Listed below are a few of the highlighted College policies that you are expected to abide by as we navigate our election season. For a comprehensive list of College policies, see the Student Handbook.
The Rock on the campus quadrangle has served for many years as a place for student and campus group expression on various issues and to advertise campus events. We should be reminded that the painting of the rock, properly regulated, has a positive impact on campus and reminds us of our commitment to promoting a sense of community and belonging. It serves as an outlet to show school spirit and pride in individual organizations or campus departments and is symbolic of our creativity in coming together as a community in celebration and in addressing challenging issues facing our community or society at large.
Painting on the Rock must be in good taste and conform to the expectations Albion holds as an inclusive academic institution. Specifically:
Students who violate this policy will be subject to the judicial process presented in Section Six of the Student Handbook. Judgments about what constitutes an act of discriminatory harassment or a threat with regard to painting the Rock will take the context of the act into consideration. Relevant contextual factors include the apparent intent and effect of speech or symbols included in the painting. For example, those who enforce this policy will consider whether included speech or symbols target historically marginalized groups and whether they are intended earnestly or satirically.
Only the Rock and its pedestal may be painted. Individuals or groups painting the rock should refrain from painting the outer circular sidewalk area, so as not to create a situation where wet paint is tracked into nearby buildings. Painting and/or graffiti of any kind is not permitted on other College property including sidewalks (except for chalk markings), streets, buildings, and plantings. Any costs incurred in cleaning/repairing/replacing such surfaces, including the outer circular sidewalk area around the Rock, will be billed to the responsible individual(s) or group(s).
While the Rock cannot be reserved, groups should attempt to coordinate efforts so that all who wish may have an opportunity to use the Rock. The suggested timeline to allow paintings to remain on the rock is a minimum of 48 hours.
As a member of the Albion College community, you have a certain rights and responsibilities to uphold in order to maintain a safe and brave space for yourselves and others.