For many years, KSU has posted temporary displays to encourage discussion among students and gather students’ thoughts on various issues. These temporary “Democracy Walls” have been frequently incorporated into Constitution Week activities each September. In Fall 2016, KSU installed its first permanent Democracy Walls on both the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses in celebration of KSU’s long-standing participation in AASCU’s American Democracy Project and NASPA’s Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement initiative.
The Democracy Wall on the Kennesaw campus is located on the north side of the Sturgis Library and on the Marietta campus on the east side of the Atrium (J) Building.
The purpose of a Democracy Wall is to provide an outlet for discussing civic issues, increasing communication across diverse audiences, encouraging thoughtful reflection, and increasing participation in the democratic process. Through this Democracy Wall we actively demonstrate our democratic values, heighten awareness, and encourage all voices to be heard. The Democracy Wall is also a space to encourage idea-generation for proactive change – on campus, in the local community, and across the globe.
Democracy Wall Ground Rules
- The most important rule – the “spirit of fair play” prevails. All voices are welcome.
- Choose words that convey meaning and reflect our educational dignity, i.e., obscenity, cursing, and other indecencies do not serve the purpose of this wall nor the spirit of The Owl Creed.*
- Civic discourse is respectful in disagreement. We can agree or disagree with arguments and issues without attacking individuals, i.e., name calling or personal attacks do not serve the purpose of this wall.
- Do not alter or obscure what others have written, but add your voice to the conversation. Feel free to pose your own questions as well as comments.
- Free speech is not always pleasant speech, but cannot be illegal speech. The Supreme Court has provided guidance on limitations, such as direct threats, incitement, false statements of fact, obscenity, fighting words, etc. If you believe anything posted on the wall is illegal speech, notify the Dean of Students Office immediately at 470-578-6367 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are able, please attach a picture of the posting you believe includes illegal speech.
The Democracy Wall and these guidelines are based on the Democracy Plaza created on the Indianapolis campus of IUPUI over a decade ago, which has stood as a national model for democratic engagement and civic dialogue. Kennesaw State University has borrowed with permission elements of the IUPUI model, and will administer compliance with the law based on consultation with KSU Legal Affairs and KSU Public Safety, and compliance with university codes of conduct based on consultation with Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. The boards are cleaned every other Friday (or the next available business day if the university is closed on the designated Friday) to allow for a fresh round of conversations.
* The Owl Creed is an aspirational statement that was developed by the KSU Student Human Relations Task Force in 1998 and reads: “The community of Kennesaw State University is steadfast in its commitment to academic excellence and personal integrity. Members of the Kennesaw State University community are obligated to a practice of civilized behavior. Choosing to become a member of this community proclaims the acceptance of KSU's Creed as suggested by the following ideals.
- I WILL ALWAYS STRIVE FOR PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE.
- I WILL ALWAYS RESPECT THE RIGHTS, FEELINGS AND PROPERTY OF OTHERS.
- I WILL ALWAYS ENCOURAGE UNITY BY APPRECIATING THE DIFFERENCES IN PEOPLE AND THEIR IDEAS.
- I WILL ALWAYS REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE IDEAS SUGGESTED AND DETER ANY BEHAVIOR THAT THREATENS THE RIGHTS OF ANY KSU MEMBER.
- I WILL ALWAYS STRIVE TO CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE WHERE IDEALS WILL DEVELOP AN ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL COMMUNITY THAT IS CIVILIZED, REWARDING AND DYNAMIC AT KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY.
The learn more about the Kennesaw State Owl Creed and read the full text.