Promises that should not be made
Which includes the well-intentioned version offered by Bergen Community College.
In the full knowledge of the commitment that I am freely willing to undertake as a student, I promise to respect each and every member of the college community without regard to race, creed, political ideology, lifestyle orientation, gender, or social status sparing no effort to preserve the dignity of those I will come in contact with as a member of the college community…I will embrace and celebrate differing perspectives intellectually.
No; sorry; no can do. I can’t possibly promise to respect each and every member of the college community a priori in that way. Civility is one thing, and respect is another. BCC is within its rights to demand civility, but it is outside its rights to demand respect. And as for sparing no effort – what are the students of BCC, I beg your pardon the members of the college community supposed to do, throw robes of state over every person they come in contact with? How does one even go about sparing no effort to preserve the dignity of those one comes in contact with as a member of the college community? One imagines a crowd of frantic Paramus students crashing into each other in their haste and zeal to preserve each other’s dignity in some nebulous but athletic way.
And then of course there’s the educationally and academically and epistemically absurd promise to embrace and celebrate differing perspectives intellectually. They might as well swear an oath to embrace and celebrate mistakes and falsifications and forgeries! The poor bastards are presumably at Bergen Community College in order to learn something, and learning something is among other things a process of elimination. It’s not a process of embracing and celebrating. For that you need to go to Healing Touch Academy or Cuddly Woolly Institute, but not to a real school.