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ERIC Number: EJ888633
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0013-127X
Colleges Grappling with Incivility
Gilroy, Marilyn
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v74 n4 p36-40 Dec 2008
When do interactions on campus involving strong words or questionable conduct reach the point of incivility? What is the line between legitimate freedom of speech and lively debate versus that which causes classroom disruption? What constitutes unacceptable behavior? Although there might not be universal agreement on what standard to use to define civility, there is widespread acknowledgement that it is eroding at the nation's colleges and universities. There are countless reports of aggressive and belligerent student behavior as well as incidents of racist and degrading remarks shouted out loud or scrawled on boards or posters around campuses. Faculty members have reported numerous confrontations with students over grades. Sometimes students leave angry messages on voice mail or e-mail, berating professors for low test scores or unsatisfactory final course grades. While the majority of professors have not been verbally assaulted, many complain about offensive classroom behavior that is rude and disruptive. This can include students who engage in ongoing side conversations or use cell phones or text-messaging devices despite being asked to turn them off. Then, there are those who just get up and walk out of class. There are several theories as to why campuses have become increasingly uncivil. Some blame the freewheeling media environment, including television, radio, and the Web, where obscenities and insults are popular forms of communication. Others believe that younger people have been raised without a sense of manners and common courtesy. Psychologists say that uncivil behavior also might be caused by an underlying need for attention. Colleges are fighting back by adopting civility statements or codes of conduct, asking students and employees to accept personal responsibility for their speech and actions. Campus civility statements often are introduced as a means of preventing intolerance by reducing bias and prejudice. The goal of these civility standards is to curb hate speech, such as racial slurs and anti-Semitism.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A