Declaration of University Community Principles


Community, civility, expression of freedom of thought, personal and academic integrity, tolerance and the search for knowledge and truth are the essence of University life. A University is a community whose common purpose is the creation, preservation and sharing of knowledge and understanding. The search for knowledge and truth requires a rational discourse. Discourse, in turn, requires honesty, civility, a commitment to personal and academic integrity, freedom of expression, freedom of thought and tolerance towards others' views. The community helps to protect the rights of the individual and promote self-actualization. Thus, the community promotes the ideas necessary to engage in the pursuit of knowledge and truth.

The primary participants of this community are administrators, students, faculty and staff, who themselves come from a variety of external communities and varied backgrounds. Before becoming a member of the community of scholars that is Missouri State University-West Plains, one should understand the full nature of that choice. The community derives its strength from each individual in it. Each individual derives strength from his/her association with and participation in the community. The individual must sustain the community in order for the community to function, protect and sustain the individual. In order for this interaction to take place, the principles stated in this document must be the foundation for and common goal of the community. Behaving civilly implies acting in a manner consistent with these principles and encouraging these behaviors in others. Adherence to the principles is voluntary and cannot be compelled. Discovering the natural benefit of these principles is a virtue. These principles are of little use in themselves; they must be practiced effectively.


The community of scholars that is Missouri State University-West Plains is committed to developing educated, independently thinking persons who will accept responsibility to act in accordance with the following principles:

  • Practicing personal and academic integrity;
  • Being a full participant in the educational process and respecting the right of all to contribute to the "Marketplace of ideas":
  • Treating all persons with civility, while understanding that tolerating an idea is not the same as supporting it;
  • Being a steward of the shared resources of the community;
  • Promoting the unity of the community while still striving to enhance self-actualization and
  • Seeking to create, preserve and share knowledge and truth in understanding.

Choosing to accept these principles suggests that each participant of the community refrains from and discourages behavior that threatens the freedom and respect each member deserves.

Approved by the Board of Governors, February 18, 2005
Adopted by the West Plains Administrative Council, Faculty Senate,
Staff Senate and Student Government Association, Spring 2005.