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Student Handbook (Blue Book)

Please reference the Blue Book, a tradition at Illinois College, to guide you through the academic year. The Blue Book contains policies, procedures and descriptions of Illinois College offices and programs.

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The Illinois College Mission

True to its founding vision in 1829, Illinois College is a community committed to the highest standards of scholarship and integrity in the liberal arts. The College develops in its students qualities of mind and character needed for fulfilling lives of leadership and service.

The Illinois College Vision

Illinois College will build an international reputation for inspiring achievement and empowering students to make a difference in the world.

The Illinois College Affirmation of Community Responsibility

To ensure that all members of our community live, work, and learn in an environment where they can thrive, we affirm four guiding virtues: commitment, curiosity, clarity, and civility.

  • With commitment, we will work diligently to support our community and pursue excellence.
  • With curiosity, we will be eager to learn, open to new information, ready to take risks, and earnest in our pursuit of growth.
  • With clarity, we will be open and honest with each other, and act with integrity at all times.
  • With civility, we will treat one another with respect and care, and seek justice and understanding within and beyond our community.

Through commitment, curiosity, clarity, and civility, we pledge to uphold the mission and vision of Illinois College, ensuring that, both individually and collectively, we do all we can to make a positive difference in our world.

Illinois College Freedom of Expression Resolution

The first president of Illinois College, Edward Beecher, spoke forcefully of America as “the land of free discussion and equal rights.” In response to the murder of the abolitionist and newspaper editor Elijah Lovejoy, Beecher championed the great virtue of being “known as the decided friend of free inquiry and the fearless protector of the rights of speech.” Illinois College remains resolutely committed to this universal freedom of thought and expression as well as to the equal rights of all.

Because Illinois College is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the Illinois College community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. It is not proper—and is in fact contrary to its foundational mission—for Illinois College to suppress inquiry and expression even in cases where the majority of its community members find the ideas offensively wrong.

The freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas does not, of course, mean that individuals may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. Illinois College may restrict expression that violates the law, that falsely defames a specific individual, that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or that is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of Illinois College. In addition, Illinois College may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of Illinois College. But these are narrow exceptions to the general principle of freedom of expression, which will be made with neutrality to content and never in a manner inconsistent with Illinois College’s commitment to “be the decided friend of free inquiry and the fearless protector of the rights of speech.”

True to President Beecher’s sentiments, Illinois College remains a staunch advocate for justice and equality. As a primarily residential community, Illinois College understands that the burden of free speech sometimes weighs more heavily on historically underrepresented and/or marginalized community members. The disruption in the community caused by disagreeable or offensive speech can have unequal impact, which Illinois College is committed to addressing and engaging without wavering in its defense of free inquiry and expression.

In a word, Illinois College remains fundamentally committed to the belief that the great democratic ideals of freedom, justice, and equality are not opposed to but rather require a vigorous defense of free inquiry and free expression.

Accordingly, members of the Illinois College community are free to criticize and contest the views expressed on campus, and to criticize and contest speakers who are invited to express their views on campus. However, Illinois College community members may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express beliefs, even when they deem such beliefs deeply problematic or offensive. To this end, Illinois College has a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to act as “the fearless protector of the rights of speech” when others attempt to restrict it.