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In the Pledge of Fellowship (Conduct)

Nobody that I know can cite the pledge of fellowship in the Hanover Winter Song chorus (does it exist?), not even the 2013 Aires, who sing it with humor and energy:

Hanover Winter Song Chorus.jpg

However, incoming classes will soon have a Pledge of their own: The Dartmouth Pledge of Conduct. Here is the current version as prepared at the behest of President Hanlon by the Citizenship Working Group (composed of Paul Anderson, Dartmouth Parent; Isabella Coleman ‘17; Tom Cormen, Co-Chair; Kate Dumanian ‘18; Bobby Kaufman GR; Ethan Klein ‘16; Myles McMurchy ‘16; Leigh Remy, Co-Chair; Teddy Romeyn ‘17; Amanda Skinner, Graduate Studies; and Becca Wistrom, Judicial Affairs):

MDF Code of Conduct.jpg

(Read the Academic Honor Principle, a 1,182-word statement, here. If you have comments on the Pledge, write in to Moving.Dartmouth.Forward@dartmouth.edu.)

Pretty good thinking if you ask me, especially the confirmation of the right to voice conflicting ideas. That’s adults talkin’ — professors, I mean — not daycare-providing administrators. Perhaps such language will help the College avoid travesties such as befell Professor Laura Kipnis at Northwestern. (In that case, Kipnis was accused by two students of a Title IX violation due to the contents of an article that she wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education: Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe. She was acquitted of the charges against her, but only after being questioned by two lawyers working for Northwestern.)

Readers should note that the Pledge is an exhortation: a general standard of principles that only goes as far as it goes; it will not be followed on by any specific set of behavioral rules (despite what The D might say about some kind of upcoming statement of values). In addition, the Pledge is not adjudicable: no one will be charged with breaking it.

Of course, I wonder how freshmen will become acquainted with the Pledge. Will they recite it with hand over heart? Or sign it? Or hear a lecture on it? Any way you cut it, a discussion about rights and obligations is always a good thing to my mind.

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