The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

A Call to End Extreme Behaviors

This post was contributed by Sonja C.P. Armstrong of Emeritus Consulting Group, which has worked with CUPA-HR in the development of its position statement and implementation of its action plan for promoting excellence through diversity, equity and inclusion in the the higher education workplace.

Earlier this month, Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon called for an end to extreme behaviors on campus. In his remarks, he cited such transgressions as “general disregard for human dignity …, events with racist and sexist undertones, disgusting and sometimes threatening insults hurled on the internet …” While his focus was on student behaviors, President Hanlon was confronting the direction of the campus culture, which necessarily impacts faculty, staff and administrators, too.

Take it a step further. Once we’ve accomplished an environment where people are no longer behaving badly, is that enough? Perhaps the greater challenge (and opportunity) is to inspire civility in all campus interactions.

Should we expect more campus leaders across the country to speak out against extreme behaviors and/or encourage civility on our campuses? Have you witnessed or experienced such extreme behavior among the faculty, staff and administrators at your (or another) institution? What examples have you seen of positive shifts in campus culture to improve civility?