St. John’s College is a community of learning. To provide the best conditions for learning, institutional arrangements are necessary—that is, rules and schedules. The rules and schedules of this community are determined by the interplay of two factors: that is, by the nature of the task to be accomplished (learning conceived as a community endeavor) and by the human nature of those who undertake this task (students and tutors, all of whom are members of a larger community).
The rules in this handbook derive from the judgment of both faculty and students over a period of years. Some are designed to comply with laws of the larger communities of which the college is a part. A few were agreed to by the faculty acting as a whole; some are laws adopted by the Undergraduate Student Polity; some are rules suggested by the Graduate Council; many are regulations originally issued by the Dean and Assistant Dean that have gained acceptance from students and faculty as feasible and appropriate ways of proceeding. This does not mean that they may not need to be improved upon. Where rules are found to be questionable or ineffective, or where inequities arise from their application, it is important that the issue be raised with those who can best seek a remedy: most often, the Delegate Council of the Student Polity, the Dean or the Assistant Dean, the Graduate Institute Council, or the Associate Dean for the Graduate Program.
It should be emphasized that the regulation of campus life, to be effective, must be largely self-regulation—that is, public-spirited acceptance by individuals of what is necessary or advisable for an orderly community life, whether or not it is spelled out in written rules. The faculty has a persistent and long-range interest in maintaining on the campus conditions of life and study that will best promote the learning of students and faculty alike, but it is neither practical nor in fact legal for the Deans, the Associate Dean for the Graduate Program, or other members of the faculty to attempt to stand in loco parentis to students. Student society is shaped by all the activities of the college, from formal instruction through athletics; but it also shapes them. While the college and faculty can provide certain facilities and some guidance, it is upon the students that the responsibility for the social health of their community, and the proper responsibility for their own human welfare, must ultimately rest.