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Southern Wesleyan University is committed to community. We believe learning best takes place in the context of community. Our mission involves members in community working "together toward wholeness through the integration of faith, learning, and living." We believe people become whole only as they interrelate to others. For this reason we seek to foster community at multiple levels.
The gold standard for community as set forth in the New Testament is love. You cannot get around it. It is everywhere as you turn the pages of scripture. We believe God stamped His own image in people. They are deeply loved by God, and as a consequence, are of inestimable value. This value does not originate with the individual or relate to race, gender, age, personality, talent, beauty, or wealth. Rather, worth arises solely from God and is extended equally to all. We are called to a fellowship of love because God loves and esteems each member. Jesus said it well in John 13:34. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you . . . ."
The kind of love that truly drives community willingly abandons self-interest for the sake of another. True community is not built by sticking to rules but by heart attitudes characterized by love. Of course, the ultimate example of this love was Jesus as seen in His death on our behalf (c.f. Romans. 5:8; John. 15:13; I John. 4:9-10). Paul describes the centrality of love in community life in I Corinthians. 13. There he lays out the ideal toward which all members of the university community should aspire. Each member would do well to reflect continuously on his descriptive statements in I Corinthians. 13:4-8a in seeking to be a positive part of university.
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; Love does not brag and is not arrogant,
Does not act unbecomingly;
It does not seek its own, is not provoked, Does not take into account a wrong suffered,
Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; Bears all things, believes all things,
Hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. (NASB)
While a fellowship in which all actions are motivated by love is the ideal toward which we strive, the university recognizes that in a fallen world such attitudes will not always characterize all those within our community. For this reason, we have identified certain minimal behavioral standards that must be adhered to when we interact with others at the university. Violations of these baseline expectations result in a response by the university to protect the learning community. When internal motivation is right, these behaviors will invariably be present. However, we expect those who choose to be part of the university community to exemplify these traits at all times irrespective of internal issues. In this way, the community can function with minimal friction.
Members of the community act respectfully toward one another. They do not take actions with the intent to harm another nor treat another rudely. Nor do they use abusive, foul, or profane language or gestures. They listen quietly when another is speaking and avoid personal attacks when debating ideas. Honesty in words and actions is also expected as a means of showing respect.
They do not threaten, harass, or demean any member of the community. This includes harassment on the basis of sex, race, disability, nationality, age, or political persuasion. Activity or entertainment that promotes violence, exploitation, discrimination or sexually immoral and degrading practices is to be avoided by community members. Everyone is to feel safe physically and psychologically at the university. Also for this reason, weapons and explosives of any kind, simulated or real, are not permitted at the university functions without prior authorization.
The use of language that diminishes or profanes the name of God or otherwise maligns Him is not permitted. The gratuitous denigration of other religious viewpoints is also inappropriate.
While there is room for disagreement in community, such disagreements are handled in a mature fashion without attempts to tear down or embarrass the other party. At all times the dignity of the institution, its policies, and its representatives are to be upheld.
Disruptive conduct that interferes with the normal activity of the university is not allowed.
Respect for one's own person and God's intended use of the body is also important. Individuals should dress inoffensively and professionally with sensitivity to standards of modesty.
Sexual activity is only expressed privately between a man and a woman in the context of marriage. Because sexual expression is not merely physical but deeply involves the mind, spirit, and emotions, there is a need for sensitivity and caution at every level of intimacy. Intimate personal relationships between employees may be disruptive to the work environment and may be considered inappropriate behavior. Intimate relationships or sexual expression between employees and students is strongly discouraged and is considered inappropriate.
In recognition of the holiness of the body and the injunction that it should only be under the control of the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph. 5:18), employees shall abstain at all time and places from the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, and tobacco products.
Members of the community take seriously the need for confidentiality of personal information gleaned while participating in university life. Individuals never share items learned in confidence unless given permission. Gossip is wholly inappropriate as it tends to tear others down. Disparaging others in the community either within or outside the university is unacceptable.
If members of the community feel they or the larger community have been wronged by another, the first action taken is to go privately to the one they perceive to be at fault and seek to make things right.
The property of others will be respected within the university fellowship. Destruction, defacement, or theft of the physical property of the university or personal property of individuals will not be tolerated.
Protection of property extends to intellectual property as well. Individuals will refrain from stealing the words, ideas, or creative work of another. Examples of this include such things as cheating and plagiarism, acting as if the intellectual output of another was actually your own work. It may also involve the inappropriate acquisition and use of copyrighted material without proper permission.
The university's virtual property accessed through its network is also respected. University computers, servers, and their contents are university property and are not used to retrieve or distribute obscene material; send harassing or abusive messages; engage in illegal computing activities; engage in non-university business or activity; nor to download or copy music, movies, or software in an illegal or unethical manner.
A Final Word about Rights and Responsibilities
The goals of the community at Southern Wesleyan University are to
- Foster learning, scholarship, and research through the free exchange of ideas.
- Provide encouragement and support to members of the community as they seek to grow toward wholeness amidst difficult and stressful life circumstances.
- Hold members of the community to high standards of academic honesty, intellectual rigor, and realistic humility in the pursuit of truth.
By joining the community, members agree to pursue these goals and to work to maintain an environment within the community protect the following rights:
- The right to free expression within the bounds of decency and order.
- The right to be respected and treated with dignity.
- The right to independent thought and reasoned dissent.
- The right to feel safe and free from threat, force, or violence.
- The right to personal, constructive change.
While the university's officers of administration and instruction have authority to give structure to the community, to foster its ongoing health, and to intervene if there are serious problems, the weight of responsibility for the health of the community rests with the community as a whole and with each individual member. To enter into the university community is to enter into a commitment to support that community and seek its goals.
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