Mount Holyoke College believes in the right, indeed the necessity, of free inquiry and free expression for every member of the college community. The College aims to provide an environment hospitable to open interchanges of knowledge and opinion in the terms of reasoned and civil discourse. An individual’s rights to free speech, free movement, free association, peaceful assembly and orderly protest extends to every member of the College. So does the individual’s responsibility to uphold the law and respect the rights and feelings of others.
The goal for the 21st century must be to build a community of faculty, staff and students devoted to intellectual and creative freedom, critical inquiry, personal honor, ethical discernment and responsibility. The College encourages openness and candor, dialogue and debate and the creative engagement of all constituencies in building a genuine community. A college does not become a community by so naming itself. Community is a dynamic condition, difficult and necessary to achieve, reached by active synthesis, by the consensus of free wills and free intelligences agreeing to pursue objectives in common, in an atmosphere of general empathy, forbearance, respect and trust. When such conditions prevail, there should be little occasion for coercion or violence, bias and discrimination or for punitive response, and the very occurrence of such actions suggests that the community has failed, at least for the time, to achieve its common purposes. Ultimately the quality of life in the College is the property of the conscience of all its members.