Guttman’s Inaugural Civility Week 2017 concluded on January 19 with an action-oriented workshop focused on the collective challenge of responding to the incivility of the recent presidential campaign. During this historic time in the nation, the Civility Task Force presented seven events over the course of the week designed to raise awareness about the functions and practices of a civil society. Focusing simultaneously on the local, national, and international scales, the week helped participants enact their mutual commitments to making Guttman an inclusive place to study and work.
The week included a variety of events including a luncheon where students, staff, and faculty worked together to define the core concepts of civility, meditation with Wellness Clinician, Courtney Stevenson, student focus groups with Dean Charles Pryor,civility fireside chats with student deliberative dialogue facilitators, and Thank You Tuesday event where students wrote thank you cards for faculty and staff.
Feedback on civility week indicates that most participants thought that the events addressed civility in various contexts of diversity, promoted individual uniqueness and community unity through healthy and respectful communication, gave students an appreciation for the value of giving back to faculty and staff members who helped them, enhanced understanding of what the 2016 Presidential Election will affect their daily lives, and deepened knowledge on how to have civil dialogue and discourse in a post-election America , including what the elections meant for targeted groups as they move forward.
Student respondents felt that the civility week events contributed to important conversations in a non-judgmental space; provided cathartic experiences related to fears and concerns about the recent election; and highlighted a need for more co-curricular activities and student-driven organizations at Guttman. While some participants preferred to privately and informally manage their concerns about civility on campus and across the country, most agreed that structured discussions on these issues would help the community continue to build a respectful and inclusive culture.
The Civility Taskforce is committed to continuing its work promoting civil discourse by providing trainings and programs for students, staff, and faculty that reflect the Guttman community’s commitment to nurturing a culture of respect, shared responsibility and civility. Task Force members represent the major constituencies at the college: faculty, staff, and students. Members are: Carolee Ramsay (Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct), Marcus Allen (Faculty), Nate Mickelson (Faculty), Sylvester Allen (Office of AccessABILITY), Angie Sadhu (Office of Strategic Planning), Yvonne Rubie (Office of Testing), Phleisha Partridge (student), Rashaun Neath (student), Roger Smith (student), and Alexy Pineda (student).
An introductory video on Civility Week is available.