Grinnellians take responsibility for the actions and choices that affect themselves and their community, whether at Grinnell or through social responsibility in a larger global context. They own their decisions, and accept the consequences of them.
Self-governance means respecting your community and yourself. When you respect others, you are less likely to make decisions that will impact them in a negative way. Self-governance is realizing and recognizing that every person’s experiences and opinions are valid.
In order to maintain a working community, members need to be willing to trade off and compromise with each other when it comes to personal disputes and decision making. For example: floor voting that establishes single-sex bathrooms, but allows for the opposite sex to use the shower during designated times.
Self-governance allows for greater freedom of choice, but community members must be accountable for how they exercise that freedom. They understand that if they make choices that harm the community, they need to step forward and take ownership of their actions and the consequences thereof.
Self-governance is a proactive process that requires community members pay attention to their own personal needs and actions as well as those of their fellow community members. Paying attention to the community and it members allows individuals to enact positive change and prevent behavior that negatively affects the community.
Self-governance is based on trust. The administration gives students greater freedom and trusts them to use it wisely. Students trust each other to act maturely and not abuse this freedom, and trust the community to take care of its members. Self-governance requires that you act in a way that validates others trust in you.
Community members are expected to solve disputes amongst themselves in a respectful and mature fashion, and good communication is important to making that happen. Members must be willing to listen to each other and take other points of view into account and be assertive in an appropriate response.
Under self-governance, members take the good of the whole into account when making a decision. They work with each other to create a campus environment where all members can live, work, and study.
A great deal of what “self-governance” can be summed up by simple common sense. Community members should think about whether their actions will cause unnecessary harm to themselves.