On the first day of class (or your first day of class if you add the course later), you will be asked to sign the following inclusivity policy. I will be signing the policy as well. The goal of this policy is to ensure that we all accept responsibility to make the classroom a safe space for discussion.
Sometimes during the semester we will discuss ideas that might produce strong emotional responses. This may include addressing issues or ideas that some students might find offensive. Although we will not avoid such discussions, it is important that everyone in the room is sensitive to how they communicate ideas. In particular, everyone in the class is expected to avoid language that is pejorative or perpetuates steretoypes about gender, age, race, religious affiliation, class, sexuality, national origin, dialect or disability (this is not an exhaustive list, please let me know if more should be added).
You are also expected to abide by the following inclusivity statement (This adapted from the Different Games Inclusivity statement developed by Tim Johnston and Laine Nooney and the one developed for the Queerness and Games Conference by Mattie Brice, Bonnie Ruberg, Chris Goetz, and Chelsea Howe)
Differing opinions and perspectives are crucial to effective discussion, however I insist that everyone in this class remain mindful of, and take responsibility for, their speech and behavior. This course is committed to creating and maintaining and inclusive and safe space for all students, guests, and instructors. This means every step will be taken to ensure no one is mistreated or disadvantaged because of ability, socioeconomic status, race, sexuality, age, gender, nationality, religion, or any other factor.
I recognize that many people are coming to this class with different understandings of privilege and social oppression, and mistakes may happen. Because of this, it is paramount that you tell me when you can about something that has bothered you (including anything I say), and for those who misstep to be open to correcting their behavior. This is going to, hopefully, be a lively and friendly classroom where everyone treats each other with respect.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Always wait for a speaker to finish speaking before you reply.
- Be sure to actively listen to others and not dominate discussion.
- Avoid making assumptions about other people’s identity including but not limited to, race, sex, and gender. Let others disclose the information they choose to, and if you absolutely must know something (like preferred gender pronouns), don’t single a person out for their information, offer yours first, and if you’re in a group of people, pose your question to the entire group.
- Do not use any slurs. This includes terms and language that are racist, sexist, homophobic, heterosexist, classist (“white trash”), transphobic/cissexist (“tranny” and “she-male”) and ableist (“crazy”, “lame” and “retarded”).
- Ask respectful questions if you do not understand or are unfamiliar with a term someone is using to describe their experience. Better yet, there are many online resources you can make use of to learn the answers to your questions. Do not make any individual responsible for educating you about people “like them.” Educate yourself, google your questions or terms you don’t know, and remember that being inclusive is not a passive activity.
- The terms we use to describe our experience are always changing. I ask that you respect everyone’s right to define and communicate their identity in whatever way they see fit.
- Be aware of your own privileged position(s), and feeling comfortable having people politely tell you if you are unintentionally acting insensitive to others. (try taking the Social Privilege test).
If you see people behaving inappropriately I ask that you refrain from any kind of public shaming and allow us to respond to the situation as a community. This class actively opposes all forms of harassment and hate speech. If you experience any marginalizing or silencing behavior, please come to me and we will discuss how best to approach the situation. In most cases I will respond to all issues by addressing the class as a whole so we can learn together.
Any student not following these guidelines will be asked to meet with me. If you continue to violate these guidelines in any given class you may be asked to leave classroom.