Lake Superior State University
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"Lake Superior State University's Sport and Recreation Management program is second to none!", says Justin Andre, Director of Hanson Hills Recreation Area, in scenic Grayling, Michigan.

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“We have a choice about how we behave, and that means we have the choice to opt for civility and grace.”

  • Dwight Currie

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:

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Acknowledge Others
  3. Think the Best
  4. Listen
  5. Be Inclusive
  6. Speak Kindly
  7. Don’t Speak Ill
  8. Accept and Give Praise
  9. Respect Even a Subtle “No”
  10. Respect Others’ Opinions
  11. Mind Your Body
  12. Be Agreeable
  13. Keep It Down (and Rediscover Silence)
  14. Respect Other People’s Time
  15. Respect Other People’s Space
  16. Apologize Earnestly
  17. Assert Yourself
  18. Avoid Personal Questions
  19. Care for Your Guests
  20. Be a Considerate Guest
  21. Think Twice Before Asking for Favors
  22. Refrain from Idle Complaints
  23. Accept and Give Constructive Criticism
  24. Respect the Environment and Be Gentle to Animals
  25. 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.

English...

Jessica Hirt

Jessica Hirt
English

"One of my favorite things about LSSU is its size. The classrooms, especially as you get to the upper levels, get smaller, so you not only have a chance to discuss your ideas in an honest, supportive manner, but you also get to know your professors and classmates. The upper level courses really allow you to focus on what you love, and the small class size allows you to have time to share and to discuss your ideas."

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