As campuses across the country discuss the intersection of free speech, civil discourse and campus climate, the UNH Faculty Senate has endorsed a motion aimed at encouraging mutual respect throughout the UNH community. The measure is built around a set of simple questions intended to promote open communications and honest dialogue about values, goals and expectations.
“Trust and respect require freedom of expression without fear of retribution, institutional or otherwise. Respect for the diversity of persons, ideas and choices differing from one's own strengthen the culture of the university,” the motion reads. “Establishing and supporting a diverse community encourages discovery and creativity. If trust should break down, we need to explore the reasons for the breakdown and identify ways for the community to rebuild trust among its members.”
The motion acknowledges that the principles of respect may be simple to write but are challenging to put into practice day to day. So, it urges UNH students, faculty, staff and administrators to consider a series of questions to create healthy dialogue. Among the 17 questions are: “Do I hear what you have to say?” “Can I pause, breathe and think before reacting?” “How can I help?” “Can you help me understand your frame of mind?” “Am I in danger?” “Are you in danger?”
The motion was presented by Faculty Senate members Scott Smith, Deb Kinghorn and Nathan Schwadron and adopted with overwhelming support.
The full motion can be found on the Faculty Senate’s website.