Statement of Community

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 discourse. The citizen’s rights to free speech, free movement, free association, peaceful assembly, and orderly protest extend to every member of the College. So do the citizen’s responsibility to uphold the law and the civilized person’s obligation to respect the rights and feelings of others. The goal for the new century must be to build a community of students, faculty, and staff devoted to intellectual and creative freedom, critical inquiry, personal honor, ethical discernment, and responsibility. We must encourage 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 sympathy, forbearance, respect, and trust. When such conditions prevail, there should be little occasion for coercion or violence, or for punitive response, and the very occurrence of such action will suggest 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. (Legislation adopted by the faculty in 1971)