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Civlity and Writing

Author: Bryan_P_White

Original publication date: 01/25/2012

Edited for grammar and syntax: 07/22/2019

Having an open statement of civility is a necessity not only for society but also for public and private organizations. Many organizations may benefit from a civility policy, but some may benefit more than others, particularly those organizations that facilitate bringing together people of many different cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. State universities are one example of an organization that brings together such a diverse array of individuals and places them in situations where they socialize with each other in new ways and interact in situations never experienced before. This emphasis on diversity in the modern university system is a great boon to the social development of this country, but only if the interactions between these diverse groups are carried out civilly.

Enforcing a civility policy in state universities ensures that the benefits of maintaining a diverse student and faculty body are seen to fruit. The onus of enforcement lies mostly on the faculty, but it is not their duty to punish students but rather to guide them. For instance, in classes such as philosophy, or religion, students must feel that sharing their opinions is welcome, but that making personal attacks against other students' views is not beneficial to anyone. In this situation, the teacher could guide the conversation in another direction, or, offer an alternative interpretation to what one student has suggested, one that diverts the conversion away from any personal attack.

This is not to say that students share no responsibility in maintaining civility, as they do. Students are on the front line of these institutionally devised social interactions, and so must also be aware of their surroundings and the effects of their actions. In this sense, students must enforce civility upon themselves.

What I find difficult in writing, as a Biology student, is writing concisely. In scientific writing, conveying complex ideas in the simplest, most elegant way is typically the goal. Along with conciseness, I also tend to struggle with proper usage of the often unused colon and semi-colon.

There are many values to writing. One value is the ability to communicate complex ideas to other people in media forms such as scientific articles or e-mail to colleagues. Another value is the ability to communicate very personally significant messages to local or state government organizations or politicians. A well written, printed letter mailed to a state senator can be an effective way to bring up local or state issues. In these ways, writing gives people a voice with which to be heard where there may have otherwise been none. Writing also allows people to spread those messages across great distances and achieve a much wider audience.

bpwhite/essay_on_civility.txt · Last modified: 2019/07/22 18:30 by bpwhite