Leath reintroduces Principles of Community

Dismayed by hate graffiti on campus in July of 2005, student leaders sought to inspire a higher level of respect, open mindedness and community among Iowa Staters.

By summer's end, a student government-appointed group had drafted six principles that exemplified the kind of community that Iowa State could and should aspire to be.

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The Principles of Community subsequently were endorsed by key campus groups and university leadership. But a decade later, many in the university community may have forgotten or never heard of them.                                                           

President Steven Leath revived the principles in Monday's welcome message (PDF) to students, faculty and staff. Noting incidents of racism and bigotry on campuses, including Iowa State's, Leath wrote "your fears and frustrations are important to me and to the university community."

He added that as part of working together toward a more inclusive and accepting campus, the university community must commit to the Principles of Community, which "are as relevant and useful today as ever."

Principles of Community

Respect: We seek to foster an open-minded understanding among individuals, organizations and groups. We support this understanding through outreach, increasing opportunities for collaboration, formal education programs and strategies for resolving disagreement.

Purpose: We are encouraged to be engaged in the university community. Thus, we strive to build a genuine community that promotes the advancement of knowledge, cooperation and leadership.

Cooperation: We recognize that the mission of the university is enhanced when we work together to achieve the goals of the university. Therefore, we value each member of the Iowa State University community for his or her insights and efforts, collective and individual, to enhance the quality of campus life.

Richness of Diversity: We recognize and cherish the richness of diversity in our university experience. Furthermore, we strive to increase the diversity of ideas, cultures and experiences throughout the university community.

Freedom from discrimination: We recognize that we must strive to overcome historical and divisive biases in our society. Therefore, we commit ourselves to create and maintain a community in which all students, staff, faculty and administrators can work together in an atmosphere free from discrimination, and to respond appropriately to all acts of discrimination.

Honest and respectful expression of ideas: We affirm the right to and the importance of a free exchange of ideas at Iowa State University within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity and respect. We work together to promote awareness of various ideas through education and constructive strategies to consider and engage in honest disagreements.

Related story

Principles approved, Feb. 9, 2007