President’s Leadership Council Unveils New Code of Conduct
In a Special University Meeting—the first indoor campus-wide gathering in more than two years—the Southern Virginia University President’s Leadership Council unveiled to the campus community a newly updated Code of Conduct, Dress Code, and Honor Pledge.
To open the program, Chief Academic Officer and Provost James Lambert read a letter from President Reed N. Wilcox, who was traveling to attend the memorial services of a close friend. In the letter, President Wilcox explained how the new Code of Conduct builds on the University’s culture of kindness by following the teachings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s commandment to love one another, and the Thirteenth Article of Faith.
“These are correct principles,” read President Wilcox’s letter. “Sincerely striving to live by them will lead to a happy, successful life here at school and for the rest of your life. It is an opportunity of a lifetime to live and learn together in a place where most people sincerely try to be faithful, be honest, and be kind; to love and respect one another.”
Following Lambert, Chris Pendleton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, introduced the new Code of Conduct and its framework: Faithful, Honest, and Kind. Quoting the prophet Joseph Smith, Pendleton explained that this updated Code of Conduct is meant to teach correct principles that empower all of us to learn to govern ourselves.
“Like those early Saints gathered together in Nauvoo, we belong to a community of true believers, striving together to build Zion in this remote place,” said Pendleton. “Like them we are committed to each other and to the values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We love to learn, we love God, and we love one another.
“We feel this update to our code of conduct more accurately reflects who we really are, as well as who we aspire to be,” continued Pendleton. “It is also meant to make our Code of Conduct as aspirational, positive, and memorable as our mission.…If embraced and ingrained…striving to live by these principles can shape and direct you throughout your lives and careers. They will help you be a force for good in the world.”
After Pendleton, various members of the President’s Leadership Council elaborated on each principle in the framework. First, Jason Lamb, vice president of program development, spoke on the principle “Faithful” explaining that we must be “all in” committed members of whatever organization with which we choose to be associated.
“As we gather as members of this great University at this great campus,” said Lamb. “As we love and lift each other, let us choose to be faithful, committed to the Code of Conduct, and be “all in” to what it means to be a Knight.”
Speaking on the principle “Honest,” Jon Wallin, executive vice president and chief information officer, spoke on being honest in both personal and academic matters, even if the situation may seem trivial.
“Honest speaks for itself,” said Wallin. “A Knight is honest and true. As we are honest, we are protected from indignity, accusation, and problem escalation…As Ethan Hawke says in Rules for a Knight, ‘A Knight does not protect the truth; he lives inside it and the truth protects him.’ Honesty instills us with confidence. It instills us with courage.”
Executive Assistant to the President Kristie Gibbons then spoke in the principle “Kind.” Relating examples of students performing both small and large acts of service, Gibbons praised the campus community for living the University’s motto to Love One Another. She then introduced a parallel motto that draws from the Book of Mormon: “No ‘-Ites,’ All Knights.” (4 Nephi 15-18).
“We aspire to be a campus that is a safe haven of loving kindness and is free from any type of abuse, bullying, harassment or discrimination,” said Gibbons. “Imagine a student who has been treated poorly in the past, but comes to Southern Virginia University and finds refuge on this campus because of the loving kindness, dignity, and respect that is offered to them. No ‘-ites,’ just Knights.”
In addition to a new code of Conduct, Deidra Dryden, vice president and director of athletics, introduced the University’s new dress code: “Our dress and appearance should be clean, respectful, and appropriate for the occasion.”
“Let’s embrace and embody this dress code together,” said Dryden. “Let’s think about where we are going and what we are doing, dress respectfully and appropriately, and become the best versions of ourselves together.”
Brett Garcia, executive vice president and chief development officer, closed the meeting by reviewing the updated Honor Pledge, now divided into two parts. The signee acknowledges that they have read the code and that they agree to sincerely strive to live its principles. In addition to these changes, Garcia noted a distinction in the definition of the word honor.
“The term honor pledge refers to the commitment that we make on our honor to sincerely strive to live the standards,” said Garcia. “Therefore the word honor does not suggest that these are values that upon attainment, confer honor onto someone. Nor does it mean that if someone falls short in one of the standards that he or she is without honor. The honor refers to the commitment that we make to ourselves and to our friends that we will do our best.”
In addition to announcing the new Code of Conduct, Lambert announced an upcoming University gathering in April to celebrate the graduating class of 2022, and Garcia announced the University’s new partnership with French food services and facilities management company Sodexo beginning May 2022.