Alvernia University Statement of Commitment–August 2018
As a “Distinctive Franciscan University in the Catholic and liberal arts traditions,” Alvernia welcomes all who seek to promote the common good, while both respecting our differences and yet celebrating what unites us as members of a democratic society and a global community.
As a Catholic university, Alvernia values the education of the whole person and the formation of one’s character within the framework of Christian values and Catholic Social Thought;
As a Franciscan university, Alvernia celebrates the ideal of a caring, inclusive, interfaith community built around “right relationships” in which we are “brother and sister” to all;
As a university founded by the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters, Alvernia is especially dedicated to “serving the underserved” and to fostering dialogue on issues of justice in contemporary society;
As a university committed to the ideals of liberal arts education, Alvernia promotes the open exchange of ideas and diverse perspectives in an academic community in which all individuals are respected and valued;
And as a university with faculty, staff, and students devoted to our core values and the Franciscan ideal of “knowledge joined with love,” Alvernia champions charity and civility in all that we do.
NOTE: the quoted phrases come either from the Alvernia Vision and Mission Statements or from documents of the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters.
Accordingly, we espouse the following “Guiding Principles” to frame the expression of views by members of the Alvernia University community and all guests:
- We believe our inclusive Franciscan core values provide a positive framework for speech and dialogue, both in substance and style, though we are open to perspectives that may run counter to these values, if expressed responsibly and respectfully;
- We believe in allowing broad latitude for speakers and speech, confident our Franciscan culture will contextualize and mitigate much that could be offensive or contrary to our stated values;
- We also agree that, given our values, and because we assert the dignity of each person and any group of people, we will not tolerate speech that espouses hate, harm, or bigotry or that provokes violence, even if such speech is constitutionally protected;
- We recognize that the experience of feeling threatened or harmed varies among individuals, so sensitivity should be shown by all;
- We respect and support the right and expression of peaceful protest as long as it does not prevent an event from proceeding or infringes unduly on the rights of others;
- We think it essential that, when guest speakers are invited, Alvernia faculty and staff have a professional responsibility to frame the occasion in a way that respects both the speaker and the audience;
- We recognize that the opinions of any speaker are not intended to represent any institutional position.