Hillsdale College has published a new student handbook on the purpose of academics, the importance of civility, and rules of conduct.
The booklet, titled “Being a Student at Hillsdale College,” features 22 pages on questions such as “Why Do We Study?” and “What Kind of People Are We Trying to Be?” Appendices list rules and policies for students.
The booklet is intended to help students and their parents understand “the necessary nature of the partnership between students, parents, and faculty/staff,” according to Dean of Men Aaron Petersen.
Petersen said the college wanted to emphasize the Honor Code and college policies. The rules in the new booklet have previously been published in the course catalogs and student planners. For the freshmen, Petersen said, the new booklet is a way to set them up for their time at Hillsdale, and for upperclassmen, it could serve as a good reminder.
“The booklet provides a compilation of our policies and practices into a unified and accessible resource,” Petersen said in an email. “It just made sense to put it all together in a handsome and helpful way.”
As part of an ongoing plan to reinforce the goals behind the Honor Code, the booklet was published after the school released a video about the Honor Code this summer.
The booklet was distributed to freshmen on Sunday, and copies are still available in the deans’ offices. Petersen said his office is working with student leaders to determine ways to circulate the publication more widely.
The booklet lists 17 rules on “proper student conduct.” These rules — which Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn referenced in his speech at this year’s freshman convocation — have been a focus of the college for years, according to Petersen.
Arnn, in his speech, said that the Honor Code is meant to beckon students.
“It doesn’t restrict; it elevates,” Arnn said, adding that rules are supposed to be what we use when things go wrong.
Petersen noted that the booklet begins with the fundamental goals and proper approach to being a Hillsdale student. Later on, it deals with the processes to be used “when a student breaks from his or her commitments as a student,” Petersen said.
One of the appendices details policies on sexual misconduct. Petersen said that last year, a number of students asked the college to “provide more information on sexual misconduct.” The appendix comes after the administration announced last semester that it would provide more training on sexual assault prevention and reporting during orientation and in other programs.
“Any sexual assault — the imposition of sexual acts upon someone unwilling at the time to participate — is not only a gross failure to govern oneself, but violates the rights and dignity of victim, the standards of the Honor Code, and the basis of membership in the College,” the booklet says.
The section also details the process for reporting sexual assault to college administrators, police, and counselors, as well how such reporting may be kept confidential.
The booklet contains two other sections which deal with guidelines for parties, alcohol, and the processes for student discipline.