The Daily Gamecock

Social contract under development by university

This summer, the University of South Carolina is beginning the process of formally establishing a social contract, in an effort to reinforce the expectations of students held by the University.

“Over the course of the spring our Board of Trustees became concerned due to the behavior of some of our students." said Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice Provost and Dean of Students Dennis Pruitt. "They wanted the University to explore establishing a social contract with all of our students who would be they would be formally notified and would formally confirm their notification that, as good citizens of South Carolina, they would be expected to follow the laws of our land.”

The behavior Pruitt mentions has been hard to ignore over the past few months. 

In March, the untimely death of USC student Charlie Terreni reminded campus of the dangers that come with drinking irresponsibly. 

Shortly thereafter, a screenshot of a Snapchat depicting a USC student next to a racial slur went viral, igniting a debate on campus over how students' actions can affect other Gamecocks. 

In April, a video file surfaced of a USC student's food being defiled by her disgruntled roommate, which also ignited the question of character found at USC.

"Every individual that comes to college, whether you’re a student, faculty or staff, everyone has different expectations of what the college experience is going to be about, and what we want to do is bring some high expectations to what the college experience will be about for everyone," Pruitt said. "So what we hope to be able to do is remind people that there are laws related to drinking alcohol and drug use, hazing and harassment and to try to put those into a teachable moment for new students so they can realize that it’s a privilege to attend a University and they have rights and responsibilities; the responsibilities include being both responsible for themselves but also for others."

Though designed to mirror the Carolinian Creed, the new social contract would serve to signify an agreement, ensuring that each student is aware of what is expected of them. 

Additionally, the school also wants to try to prevent some of the more common self-destructive behaviors that students can develop while attending college.

“The consequences in college are getting higher as the consequences in society get higher. Ultimately, we are just trying to help our students at a very early age, when sometimes it goes almost against student culture, and try to get their attention and make them say, ‘You know, I don’t want to take away from my experience here, but I do need to think about the consequences,’ which could affect either the short-term or long-term.”

“The goal is providing information to develop a culture of role models, where people challenge bad behavior." said Pruitt. "You want people to be a little more open-minded, which sounds idealistic, but ultimately if we are here to help our students prepare for the workplace, you might as well learn what will be accepted in the workplace and what won’t.”