“We have a choice about how we behave, and that means we have the choice to opt for civility and grace.”
Civility on Campus
Is “rude and crude” on its way out?
A culture of civility. What does that expression mean to you? Could it be a culture where:
People return shopping carts to the appropriate area instead of leaving them in the middle of a parking lot?
You regularly let others into lines of traffic?
A fellow passenger asks you what floor you need to go to and pushes the elevator button for you?
People don’t engage in complaint-fests?
Students don’t eat disruptively throughout classes or have numerous side conversations during meetings?
You get warning from the person in front of you before they lean their airplane seat back?
Rumors and gossip are not the norm?
An increasing number of campus conversations are centering on issues of civility. Faculty are concerned by student behavior in class and by students who “get in their face.” Rude comments and gossip circles concern students. Staff feel caught in the crosshairs of “supervisor bashing” or dealing with increasingly uncivil phone calls. In short, a growing culture of rudeness is a growing campus concern.
In his book, Choosing Civility (2002), Dr. P.M. Forni, the cofounder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project and a professor of Italian literature at the university, explores not just manners or politeness but civility. “Being civil,” he writes, “means being constantly aware of others and weaving restraint, respect, and consideration into the very fabric of this awareness.”
Dr. Forni shares The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct, many of which may seem like common sense yet offer a nudge for us all to be more civil beings. His rules include:
Think the Best
Don’t Speak Ill
Accept and Give Praise
Respect Even a Subtle “No”
Respect Others’ Opinions
Mind Your Body
Keep It Down (and Rediscover Silence)
Respect Other People’s Time
Respect Other People’s Space
Avoid Personal Questions
Care for Your Guests
Be a Considerate Guest
Think Twice Before Asking for Favors
Refrain from Idle Complaints
Accept and Give Constructive Criticism
Respect the Environment and Be Gentle to Animals
Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame
As more and more campuses embark upon formal or informal “civility campaigns,” chances are that they’ll end up becoming much nicer places to be.
Vision of 1st Place
First Place Lake Superior State University
Automated Assembly of Seat Indexing Mechanisms
Other award recipients: Carnegie Mellon University, and a team comprised of students from University of Kentucky, University of Florida, and the Colorado School of Mines
1999 Robotics Industries Association: Robotics & Vision Show
May 11, 1999
International Scholarship Competition