About Community Agreements
Community agreements have many names: participation guidelines, community expectations, group contract, code of conduct, etc. Regardless of the title, these documents aim to set the tone, address inter-relational dynamics, and establish shared understandings between members of a workgroup. In a learning community, like ours, these points of agreement provide the support needed to deepen our collective engagement and do the hard work.
Preliminary Points of Agreement
As facilitators, we propose the following agreements as starting points for our learning community.
- We respect the difference between discomfort and harm. We know that often-times the deepest learning comes when we are pushed outside our comfort zone.
- We assume that everyone is doing the best they can, and we know that there is a difference between intent and impact.
- We acknowledge that we enter into this work with varying levels of familiarity and vulnerability. We respect and offer one another the “right to pass” without question.
- We understand that regardless of our educational and intellectual achievement, we have all been taught misinformation about experiences that differ from our own.
- We may be familiar with different manifestations, but we agree that our society (and university) is shaped by intersecting systems of inequality - racism, sexism, cissexism, transphobia, heterosexism, ableism, classism, xenophobia, caste, colonialism, and more (glossary of terms).
- We recognize that everyone makes mistakes during the learning and unlearning process (including facilitators). We commit to responding with patience, graciousness, and compassion.
- We trust one another to reflect on how our identities / subject positions influence the ways we do (and do not) take up space, the voices we privilege, and the kinds of knowledge we value.
- We welcome all kinds of engagement and encourage “stepping up by stepping back”.
- We will hold the possibilities of silence with curiosity, openness and non-judgement. Silence does not imply any of the following: consent; disconsent; agreement; disagreement; comfort; discomfort; awkwardness; understanding; misunderstanding.