GP-8 Civility and Mutual Respect


Green River Community College is committed to every individual’s expectation of civility in the workplace while preserving the right to freedom of expression in addressing matters of public concern. As an educational institution, it is our duty to provide a learning environment that is a safe place for the free exchange of diverse ideas.

In order to fulfill our mission, respect and equity must be practiced by all members of the College community in our efforts to increase the learning potential and success of everyone. All members of the College community must embrace the inherent elements of learning: challenging ideas, debate and expression of thought. Yet, all members of the College community must accept the responsibility of challenging ideas, debate and expression of thought within a framework of mutual respect and professionalism.

In its simplest form, civility means courteous behavior; politeness.1 Civility is apparent when we are sensitive to the impact that our communications, practices and behaviors have on others, and when we acknowledge each person's self-worth and unique contributions to the community as a whole.2

The principles are designed to create and nurture an environment in which respectful and open communication can occur, free from intimidation. It is understood that some of this communication will concern difficult and controversial issues. In a free speech environment, we can all expect to be challenged through academic discourse. However, all members of the Green River College community are responsible for creating and maintaining a collegial foundation of communication within a framework of mutual respect and professionalism.

Expected Behavior

We understand that all College communications may become public or be subject to public records requests.

We recognize that speakers/senders have an obligation to:

  • Avoid personal attacks.
  • Make reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy of communications.
  • Address communications to the appropriate audience.
  • Have the courage to honestly express views that they feel are important to the mission of the College.
  • Develop skill sets so one is able to express views within a diverse community of individuals and abide by civil and professional behavior.

We recognize that listeners/receivers have an obligation to:

  • Understand that there are a variety of communication styles.
  • Listen with an open and inquiring mind.
  • Have the courage to engage with people who are expressing themselves in ways that might generate discomfort.
  • Develop skill sets so one is able to respond within a diverse community of individuals and to appropriately point out uncivil or unprofessional behavior.

Civility requires that issues be addressed by a process that is fair in both appearance and fact with a true desire for conflict resolution. All parties to an identified situation are expected to meet their obligations as speakers and listeners in attempting to resolve conflicts without undue delay. The best resolution occurs when the parties work out agreements among themselves.

All administrators, faculty and staff have a responsibility to act in good faith and be active participants in contributing to the creation and enhancement of a community culture of respect, inclusion, civility, dignity and understanding for the people with whom they work. This requires taking action to deal with incidents of incivility. All parties, at a minimum, are required to be open about concerns and listen to each other’s point of view. Incidents of incivility cannot be ignored and must be addressed. All complaints of negative and inappropriate behaviors will be taken seriously and community members should be able to report uncivil behavior or raise difficult issues of public concern without fear of retaliation.

The policy may change and grow according to the needs of the Green River College community. This policy shall be communicated to all employees through annual
notifications, new employee orientations and training. The Board encourages the use of professional development opportunities to support conflict resolution and cooperative learning techniques and other strategies that foster positive social interactions among all members of the college community.

1 American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.
2 From University of Southern Maine School of Nursing.

History of Policy 

Draft: January 30, 2014
Adopted: May 14, 2014