Ellona's Undergraduate's Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Here is my brief and abbreviated, perhaps to be elongated, version of the Undergraduates Bill of Rights and Responsibilities within the University Community:

You have the right to attend office hours, and to demand that the professor be there, on time and ready to see you.

You have the right to expect departmental teas and happy hours, with more than a token professor in attendance.

You have the right to conduct undergraduate research, and have its intellectual content taken seriously.

You have the right to organize class dinners and parties, and to invite the professor to attend without feeling you've overstepped the boundaries of propriety by mingling social and academic pursuits.

You have the right to prioritize teaching in the tenure process. You have a right to protest that lack. You have a right to expect that your concerns matter.

This contract is in danger of being dissolved by the "University" at all times. You have not just a right, but a responsibility, to see that the academic community includes you at all times, and a responsibility to fight like hell when a Provost or Undergraduate Chair or tenured professor defines that community without you in it.

In my ideal academic community, everyone would know this by heart, would recite it word for word and then follow it up with a Shakespeare sonnet. The ideal intellectual community doesn't simply tolerate dissent, but needs it, and doesn't equate dissent with the undergraduate, as both being pitfalls that one must tolerate, however unhappily, in the University. And the undergraduate doesn't feel he or she must strive to belong in it -- entrance is automatic and assumed, upon matriculation at the University. All you need do, when you arrive at Penn bright eyed with intellectual curiosity and bushy-tailed with creative energy, is sign the social contract.

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