Campus civility made a top priority

Humna Sharif

Staff Writer

Photo by Billi Jo Hart/Prospectus News Students were encouraged to sign this banner during last year’s Civility Awareness week to support civility around campus.

Photo by Billi Jo Hart/Prospectus News
Students were encouraged to sign this banner during last year’s Civility Awareness week to support civility around campus.

Parkland has taken a number of initiatives towards maintaininga friendly and courteous environment. From the very first day that new students step into the college for orientationthey are reminded that their willingness to respect and workwithother people is what willearn them respect.
Marietta Turner, Dean of Student Services at Parkland College, explained that abusive language should be avoided when speaking with other students and faculty.

“College is a place where we must open ourselves to new ideas, if a student disagrees with an idea, then attack the idea and not the person,” Turner said. “We must be willing to understand others before being understood by others.”

Parkland College also has a committee called Parkland College 4 Civility, or PC4C, which works closely with the Office of Disability Services and the diversity committee.

Every year the PC4C committee plans and executes aCivility Awareness Month,where students sign cards pledging to be civil at Parkland, attend movie screenings, and participate in discussions like “Free speech, not Mean Speech.” Information tables are set up for National Coming out Day and Disability Awareness during this week as well.

Phi Theta Kappahas also been a part of the civility initiative at Parkland. In the past they have given out things such as colorful civility bands and civility pins to students to encourage and promote a cordial environment.
Parkland College also has a student conduct code published every year, the inspiration and guidelines for the conduct code come fromP.MForni’sbook “Choosing Civility-The 25 rules of considerate conduct.”

According to Turner there has been a massive change in students’ attitudes and overall feel of the campus since the addition of the Student Union. It provides much needed space for Student Life, and the colorful yet elegant décor of the space creates a fun environment where students can hang out as well as get all their official stuff done.

“When people are not crammed over one another it really can do wonders for civility,” Parkland Librarian Raeanne Dossett said.

STAR staff member Jason Mathew Gordon, who has been associated with Parkland since 2007, only had nice things to say about all students,

 “Sure they sometimes come in all upset and cranky but as soon as their Wi-Fi  gets fixed they are happy again.”

There are however some civility issues that still need to be addressed. We live in an age of rapid change and excess technological resources. Instant messaging, e-mails, social networking and snap chats; these are all the things designed to help us connect better, but sometimes the instant connectivity can make us seem stand offish and in some cases downright rude.

 “I have students who walk up to me and tell me whatever thing they need help with and all the time their eyes are glued to their cellphones and the person they are talking to upfront only has 10 percent of their attention,” Dossett remarked. “This is not a very civil thing to do.”  

Putting your phone away before class begins can also help you connect better with fellow students. Simple gestures like this can go a long way is promoting an overall positive atmosphere in the class.

According to Turner most of the students’ problems she usually deals with arise from miscommunication, where all that’s needed is for two people to sit down and talk about what is bothering them.

These little civility issues have some simple fixes. Walk the few steps to those trash cans and put your trash in there. Hold the door for the person behind you and say hello to your classmates, even if you don’t know their name. Smile if you pass someone in the corridors. Parkland does pretty well on the matter of campus civility, but a few small things to remember can go a long way towards setting a positive theme for the whole campus.

The planning meeting for this year’s civility month will take place in Turner’s office in room U-242 on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. All students and faculty interested in being part of the civility initiative are welcome to attend.