Civil Expression Policy
As a college-preparatory institution, Xavier Academy is committed to creating an environment governed by its core values in which every student can gain knowledge, develop the skills, and build the confidence necessary to participate productively in a vibrant marketplace of ideas. Fostering an environment where community members engage in effective and responsible conversations is essential to the Academy’s educational mission. Learning how to have a conversation, not what view to hold, lies at the heart of a student experience that cultivates individual purpose in communities. Xavier Academy encourages students to freely express themselves through their verbal speech and non-verbal speech acts – i.e., those actions intended to communicate substantive messages to others while promoting the robust exploration of ideas through the supportive teachings of the faculty.
The freedom to discuss and debate the merits of competing ideas does not mean that students, faculty, or staff may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. In addition to being consistent with Xavier Academy’s Core Values, student, faculty, and staff speech and acts must not disrupt the Academy’s ordinary educational and extracurricular activities or violate any policy outlined by Xavier Academy’s Student or Employee Handbook. In short, students, faculty, and staff may express themselves to the extent that their speech or acts are appropriate for Xavier Academy’s learning environment. The appropriateness of speech or actions is determined at the sole discretion of the Head of School.
Principles of Civil Disclosure
Xavier Academy believes that civil discourse is a conversation based on respect and civility; its purpose is to enhance learning, understanding, and trust.
Xavier Academy welcomes individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, disability, uniformed service status, veteran status, citizenship status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. Xavier Academy is committed to providing equal opportunity in all actions and in the administration of all policies and programs.
- Xavier Academy’s intellectual and social environment is diverse, with many opportunities for its students, faculty, and staff to learn from each other and enhance their understanding of the world around them.
- Xavier Academy values each individual’s ideas, experiences, and worldview.
- Xavier Academy is committed to remaining a place for the healthy expression of diverse ideas, exploring various viewpoints, and using civil discourse.
Principles of Civil Disclosure
As members of the Xavier Academy community, we are expected to:
- Respect everyone’s right to hold individual views
- Approach social, religious, and political conversations with a willingness to listen respectfully to ideas that differ from our own
- Ground discussions in fact and reason
As members of the Xavier Academy community, we are expected to avoid the following:
- Antagonism (insults, demeaning or discriminatory language, mockery)
- Hostility (personal attacks, uncontrolled emotion, threats)
- Excessive persuasion (misrepresentation of facts, emotional manipulation, logical fallacies)
Faculty and Staff Responsibilities to Foster Civil Disclosure
While the Principles, Core Values, and Guidelines for Civil Discourse are shared community-wide, faculty and staff members are responsible for creating a space for civil discourse within the classroom while modeling how to engage in effective and responsible conversations. Because we believe that it is the role of all Xavier Academy employees to encourage students to think deeply about complex topics, we endeavor to foster civil discourse with and between students in these specific ways:
- Build confidence in this process by creating space for civil discourse and open dialogue among students when expressing opinions. Establish community norms and prohibit bullying or harassment of any kind.
- Help students express, explore, and be challenged on their viewpoints, which is essential in developing critical thinking. Avoid sharing personal views on social, religious, or political topics to facilitate a learning environment for students to participate.
- Encourage students to take their reasoned positions when responding to discussion prompts and instill confidence that students will not be penalized for disagreeing with what they perceive as the employee’s viewpoint.
- Demonstrate Xavier Academy’s Core Values when redirecting a student or discussion.
- When grading class participation or work that involves sharing student viewpoints on social, religious, or political issues, be explicit and specific about what is and is not being assessed and avoid the employee’s views affecting a student’s grade.