Community principle to be posted in dorms

by Deborah Bernstein | 11/19/97 6:00am

Acting on a recommendation from the senior leadership society Palaeopitus, Dean of Residential Life Mary Turco is working to increase awareness of the College's Principle of Community and has established a committee to evaluate its application in the College community.

The College will post plaques engraved with the principles in prominent positions in every residence hall entryway within the month, so students "will see and be reminded that this is the guiding principle for residential space," Turco said.

In addition to the plaques, ORL has set up an advising committee, The Principles in Action for a Civil College Community, to evaluate how the Principle is integrated into daily life at the College.

The Principle, approved by the College's Board of Trustees in 1980, state that the "life and work of a Dartmouth student should be based on integrity, responsibility and consideration," and demands that students conduct themselves with sensitivity, honesty and appreciation of others in all College activities.

Palaeopitus' letter called it the "fundamental guide" for interactions at the College and said it is more basic than the Academic Honor Principle, but charged that "most students have never heard of it simply because it is not enforceable."

The letter also suggested a number of ways to increase students' awareness of the Principle, including a proposal to incorporate it into First-Year Orientation and Undergraduate Advisor training, encouraging professors to mention it in class, placing it in exam blue books alongside the Honor Principle and posting it prominently in residence halls.

Turco called the newly-formed committee the most important thing her office has done so far to react to the Palaeopitus letter. The committee's theme, she said, "is to give the Dean better information about the real life experience of students across the campus." It will look at cases involving both infractions and examples of the Principle.

"The main reason we're in existence is that the Principle was adopted by the trustees in 1980 -- and it's 1997," committee member John Brett '00 said. "It's time for the students who are concerned with making the mission statement a reality [to do something]. Because principles without action are empty."

The committee consists of 15 sophomores, juniors, and seniors who "were selected for their representation of widely diverse areas of [campus] interests," Turco said. Turco's administrative intern Michelle Kraemer '98 serves as the agenda officer.

Kraemer said the plaques in dormitories will help increase awareness of the Principle, which she said is already increasing gradually among the student body.

Kraemer said she agrees it is not as widely recognized as the Honor Principle. "Up until last year," she said, the Principle "was not something students recognized as much as a written document."

Turco credits Kraemer and Yun Chung '97, her previous intern, who met with numerous campus groups to see how they feel about the Principle. She feels the current members will decide the direction the committee will take in the future in terms of how it will recognize issues that involve the Principle and how it will keep abreast of campus problems.