The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Staff Editorial: Dr. Kington advocates civility

“Choose civility,” Dr. Kington reminded us at the Town Hall meetings on Monday, echoing a campaign initiative advocating tolerance in Howard County, Maryland, and urging us to consider our own standards of civility. It’s an important message, something that everyone—including Grinnellians—can often use reminding of. At Grinnell, we’ve experienced serious and well-publicized shortcomings of civility in our community in the past—the hate crimes of spring 2008, the communication breakdowns between faculty, staff and students, and the distrust that resulted from the “Cunnilingus” party of last semester.

At Grinnell we readily and regularly trumpet our open-minded values and commitment to social justice, but Dr. Kington brings up the important point that in order to truly be able to make those claims, we have to be committed to applying those tenets on the small scale, in our day-to-day lives and in our every interaction. After all, when we chose to come to Grinnell, those themes of tolerance and progressiveness were the ideals we associated with the institution. Now that we’re here, we might see that maintenance of those values might require more of an active effort than we expected, but hopefully we can all recognize that responsibility and embrace it as an opportunity to make a positive impact on our community.

We applaud Dr. Kington for taking the initiative in calling a town hall meeting because it reflects commitment to the principle oftransparency—an important principle in our community and one that has all too often in the past been obscured by the workings of Student Affairs bureaucracy. We also appreciate the message about the importance of self-assessment and the ability to be self-critical of certain policies that we as Grinnellians tend to be steadfast in protecting since, as Dr. Kington explained, such reflection is a practice that any community should continually take part in. But it is the campus community as a whole that lies at the heart of the issue, as we must do the reflecting—and so we eagerly expect to be included in the communication and decision-making process every step of the way.

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