Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Students urged to sign behavior pledge



Volunteers began to take action last week in efforts to have students sign the Trinity Student Standard of Behavior Pledge, the centerpiece of the Student Responsibility Campaign. The campaign is one of the projects initiated by the student task force formed in the wake of the institution of the new social policy at the beginning of the spring semester.

According to committee member Bryan Farb ’14, the campaign is “an effort to formalize widespread student disapproval of the types of behavior that gave rise to the concerns that drove the new social policy in the first place.” As part of the program, students will be encouraged to sign the pledge, after which Farb hopes “they’ll feel that they’re making a commitment to themselves to act responsibly, and expect other Trinity students to do the same.”

The committee has made 1,000 carbon copies of the pledge, so they will be able to keep track of who and how many students have signed one. The pledge reads, “To contribute to a safe, respectful social atmosphere, I commit to following this standard of behavior,” which is followed by a list of six commitments the student has agreed to. In order, these state that the student will not abuse alcohol to the point of becoming the problem of another student, he or she will not commit acts of sexual harassment, assault, or intolerance, the student will not drive drunk, and he or she will not litter. The final point on the pledge reads, “I will not tolerate a violation of this standard of behavior by any other Trinity student.”

When a student signs the pledge, he or she will receive a wristband and a sticker for the Trinity ID that says “I SIGNED THE PLEDGE.” Volunteers from various organizations across the Trinity community are assisting in efforts to collect signatures. Some students are conducting door-to-door and tabling efforts, while others are working directly with student groups and organizations to have all members of the organization sign the pledge. Students organizations that own houses are being encouraged to have all their members sign the pledge as a group and display a blown-up version in their house. Coaches will also be asked to have their sports teams sign the pledge as a group. Organizers of the campaign are working with student organizations and the College to incorporate the pledge into freshmen orientation in the fall and to organize campus-wide events dedicated to discussing social life on campus.

Farb speculated “most members of the Trinity community will be skeptical about the ability of a pledge to change the way students behave.” Regardless, he believes that if the campaign is executed properly and successfully it will have an impact. “We don’t think it’s realistic that the Campaign will affect the subset of the population that already behaves in a way contrary to the pledge. Rather, our aim is at the folks who are less likely to act irresponsibly,” he said. “If we can formalize a mass disapproval of certain irresponsible activities on campus, we feel that we have a shot at limiting the deviant behavior of a few.”

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