Gas station without pumps

2019 May 8

UCSC principles of community

This year UCSC has had banners up on the main roads of campus touting the campuses “priniciples of community”:

We strive to be:

  • Diverse: We embrace diversity in all its forms and we strive for an inclusive community that fosters an open, enlightened and productive environment.
  • Open: We believe free exchange of ideas requires mutual respect and consideration for our differences.
  • Purposeful: We are a participatory community united by shared commitments to: service to society; preservation and advancement of knowledge; and innovative teaching and learning. 
  • Caring: We promote mutual respect, trust and support to foster bonds that strengthen the community.
  • Just: We are committed to due process, respect for individual dignity and equitable access to resources, recognition and rewards.
  • Disciplined: We seek to advance common goals through reasonable and realistic practices, procedures and expectations.
  • Celebrative: We celebrate the heritage, achievements and diversity of the community and the uniqueness and contributions of our members.


These principles are nice, if rather vague, principles for the community to support, and the banners are nicely designed graphically:


(Sorry about “be caring” being backwards—I didn’t hang the banners, but just photographed them on my way to work today.)

I have one major objection to the banners:  they are all paired with “because actions speak louder than words”, but none of them demand specific actions!  They are asking for states of being, rather than calling for action.  The only exception is “embrace diversity”, probably because “be diverse” is something that the community aspires to, not something an individual can do much about.  But even “embrace diversity” is not a very clear action.

About the only one of the slogans that can be easily turned into an action is “be celebrative”, which should be “Celebrate!”

I think that the designers of the banners did not really think through the meanings of the words they were putting on the banners, or they would have chosen a phrase to pair with that did not have this semantic dissonance of exhorting states of being, while claiming that actions are better.

Readers, what common phrase would you have put on the banners, to pair with all the “be” phrases?

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: