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Office of the Vice President of Campus Life
Fax: 202-885-1769
Butler Pavilion, Room 400

Monday-Friday 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.

Office of the Vice President of Campus Life
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8127
OCL Civitas at AU

What is Civility?

"Civility’s defining characteristic is its ties to city and society. The word derives from the Latin civitas, which means city, especially in the sense of civic community,” says author P.M Forni in his book Choosing Civility: The Twenty Five Rules of Considerate Conduct. Another Latin word for city is urbs, which refers to the physical structures or buildings that make up a city. "While buildings and roads make up our physical city or campus, people and relationships make up our community."

In the Fall of 2003, the Office of Campus Life launched the CIVITAS campaign to encourage civility and responsible citizenship in the AU community. Since then, AU community members have continued the goals of this campaign through many different efforts.

CIVITAS, the Latin word for city, was chosen as the theme for the campaign because it connotes the kind of environment that shapes us as good citizens and good neighbors.

The mission of the CIVITAS campaign was to heighten our awareness of the relationship between our personal conduct and the quality of campus life. What we do and say always has an effect on others, whether we see it or not. Civility means more than just holding the door open for someone or respecting campus facilities and grounds. It means consistently treating people with consideration and respect. When our behavior is guided by concern for others in our community, we are being civil!

Practicing civility requires thoughtful behavior and continuous refinement of our perceptions of what matters to us and to others. A short checklist of actions can help us move toward more civil conduct:

Choose - We choose how we behave. Make your choices conscious ones by deciding ahead of time how you will act in a situation and rehearsing it in your mind.

Act – Act thoughtfully, as if you were in the other person’s shoes!

Reflect – Consider how your actions and words have made others feel. If you have caused harm or discomfort, apologize, and consider how you can modify your behavior the next time.

Remember, Your Conduct Matters!