The Keepers of the Covenant seek to promote awareness and conversation in regards to the Maryville College covenant and its three tenants: Scholarship, Respect and Integrity. Through internal dialogue (on a personal and community level), we hope to ensure that we are aware of and living out the covenant in our daily lives. More than words in stone or on paper, the covenant is an expectation of the way in which members of our community should live.
Our second installment of this article series promoting the covenant centers itself around the second tenant: Respect. Our covenant says the following on respect: “We commit ourselves to honor the worth, dignity, and freedom of ourselves and all creation, and to treat others as we wish to be treated.”
At Maryville College, students sign to uphold the golden rule as they go through day-to-day interactions with one another. The Keepers took time to interview students about their perspectives on respect, and here’s what they had to say.
“Respect is acknowledging people’s differences and knowing that [those differences] are okay,” sophomore Natalie Tankersly said. “We have a lot of different people here, and that is great. We have to respect their decisions and their lifestyles. Part of that is knowing about their lifestyles and being aware, being both tolerant and loving towards them.”
Junior Austin Taylor also shared his perspective on respect.
“It’s being able to take criticism and not take it in a bad way,” he said. “Be able to understand that people have different perspectives on life, and people have different views on things that you may not understand or even accept. It’s just being able to take those things into your daily lives and continue to grow from that.”
Students aren’t the only ones on campus with an opinion on respect. Some of the college’s faculty gave their perspective on respect as well.
“My number one rule is to respect others,” said Angela Delozier, Professor of Mathematics. “To me, if you respect others, then this encompasses the other parts of the covenant.”
Zach Himmelberger, lecturer in psychology, agreed with Delozier.
“A big part of Maryville College’s mission is respect for others, for all cultures and for all religion,” he said. “One of the important draws to Maryville for me was this emphasis on respect.”
Like MC professors, Dean Melanie Tucker also takes a strong stance on this aspect of the covenant.
“Respect is the one tenant that jumps out at me the most,” she said. “In part, because it has been something that is an integral component in my career in higher education, and I always feel like particularly in a liberal arts education environment we want to have the opportunity to learn, challenge and grow in a respectful way.
“Even though we have a myriad of ideas, personalities and perspectives that we have the opportunity to engage with and learn from, we must do that in a way that is respectful when we may not agree…. Respect is something that I to reflect to others every day.”
A common theme throughout all of these quotes is the idea of perspective and its correlation with respect. People in our community all have different perspectives, which affects their individual personalities. The tenant of respect instills in us the ability to identify these differences, respect them and learn from them. Respect, arguably, pushes us towards the two other tenants.
Upholding Integrity pushes our community to respect. Respect points us to scholarship and the willingness to learn from others. Ideally, all of these tenants are cohesive and by sustaining respect, we preserve our covenant.