1 Charter for Compassion

Picture of eyeball focused on a broken heart.

The following Charter will characterize the way we labor together in this course:

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical, and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity, and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We in this class acknowledge that we may fail to live compassionately at times to some degree.

We, therefore, pledge to do all that we can, knowing we’ll fail on occasion, to restore compassion to the center of our lives as students and attempt to engage with our colleagues in this course with compassion. This means we will work to think first of others, their benefit, their well-being, and their learning, knowing that others are compassionately working for our benefit. We will strive to see our interdependence and interconnectedness, and labor for one another in good faith.

The following specific actions and behaviors we pledge to do in order to encourage and adopt a compassionate stance toward our colleagues in this class:

  • Act toward and write to others as you would want them to do for you if the roles were reversed
  • Take responsibility for the effects of your words and actions on others, even when your intentions were not to cause them harm
  • Listen attentively and intently (with intention to understand) first, and forming an opinion after you fully understand their point of view
  • Be open-minded toward others’ ideas and understanding of their backgrounds
  • Pay attention to your use of language (try not to be defensive)
  • When you’re uncomfortable, speak up and tell others, so they know
  • Mindfully respond to others’ ideas (acknowledge someone’s ideas before presenting your own)
  • Vocally affirm that you respect and empathize with those around you
  • Use a calm and collected tone of writing; be careful with your word choice; avoid aggressive language, and don’t use harsh words
  • Encourage compliments and be nice to others
  • Aim to educate

Taken and modified from The Charter for Compassion

  • Inoue, Asao B. (2019). Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity and Inclusion in the Compassionate Writing Classroom. Perspectives on Writing. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado. https://wac.colostate.edu/books/perspectives/labor/. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
  • The image “compassion” by kweez mcG is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


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Essentials for ENGL-121 Copyright © 2016 by David Buck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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