The Daily Gamecock

Letter to the Editor: To better university, channel Carolinian Creed

Code of conduct an excellent guide to encouraging tolerance

While I will always support the inalienable rights that all people have to express their views and opinions, I also recognize that sometimes those expressions can be hurtful, divisive and inconsistent with building and sustaining an environment that honors and respects every person in our university family and community. To that end, I feel that some of the views expressed last week in the Viewpoints section of The Daily Gamecock did not represent the sentiment and values of our university and were hurtful and divisive. I was offended and disappointed, yet at the same time hopeful and optimistic about the opportunity that this dialogue provides. Many of you took advantage of the opportunity and responded; I applaud you for your courage and conviction. Yet for me, this is about our values — and nowhere are our values more profoundly or poignantly stated than through our Carolinian Creed.

The community of scholars at the University of South Carolina is dedicated to personal and academic excellence. Choosing to join the community obligates each member to a code of civilized behavior.

“As a Carolinian … I will practice personal and academic integrity; I will respect the dignity of all persons; I will respect the rights and property of others; I will discourage bigotry, while striving to learn from differences in people, ideas and opinions; I will demonstrate concern for others, their feelings and their need for conditions that support their work and development. Allegiance to these ideals requires each Carolinian to refrain from and discourage behaviors that threaten the freedom and respect that every individual deserves.”

As Gamecocks, our creed should guide our discourse and treatment of each other as members of the university family and community. The creed does not suggest that we suspend our personal beliefs and values. Rather, it asks that we bring our beliefs and values to the university as a means of learning from one another while respecting our individual differences.

I hope that each of you take the time to read the creed and reflect on how it applies not only in the discourse around the letters to the editor that were published last week, but also in your approach and contribution to creating and sustaining an environment that makes the diversity of our students, faculty, staff and administrators what makes us all better people, a better community and a better university.