FAQ for Code of Leadership

Why was the Code of Leadership created?  

The Code of Leadership was created to articulate the importance of a professional, respectful, and kind environment for all Grinnell College community members. It supports our shared values and is an effort to give power to those more vulnerable in our community.

Who helped with the creation of this document?  

The Alumni Council created the Code of Leadership  with support from Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) staff.  

What prompted the creation of this Code?  

No single event prompted the creation of the Code. This document was created to reflect our community values—the importance of being professional, respectful, and kind. This list of tenets, we feel, is important to display and define for not only our current alumni community but for future alumni, the current students.

But aren’t most volunteers and Grinnell alumni already acting appropriately?  

Yes! While there have been a few incidences where members of our community inflicted harm by acting without kindness or respect, they are few and far between. That said, it was important for us to address them in a meaningful and impactful way. This code is an effort to establish shared community values and expectations.

Why am I being asked to sign this when it’s meant to correct others’ inappropriate behavior? Why aren’t they being addressed individually?  

We are asking all volunteers to stand together to convey the importance of these core values and serve as leaders among the alumni community by embracing this document.

For the individuals who have shown inappropriate behavior, they have been encouraged to rectify their actions. In some situations, they have been released from their volunteer position. 

Does signing this document mean that I can’t disagree with fellow alums or the College?  

No. You can still disagree with fellow alums and the College. We just ask that you share your opinions and thoughts in a professional, respectful, and kind manner. 

Do other colleges and universities have a similar Code of Leadership that their volunteers are asked to sign?  

Yes, many of our peer institutions have similar documents for their community members to sign. The Alumni Council used sample documents for reference from these colleges and universities to draft Grinnell’s Code of Leadership. 

What do I do when I see a fellow volunteer or alum engaging in behavior that violates the Code?  

If you feel comfortable and it is appropriate, you should directly address it with the volunteer or alum. You could also share your concerns with a DAR staff member.

What’s the process when someone raises a concern about a possible violation of the Code? Who will handle the discussion about this?  

After DAR has been notified of an incident, a DAR staff member will be in touch with those involved and discuss the concern directly. If the inappropriate behavior escalates or continues, the Vice President will become involved in the situation and it could result in the College releasing a volunteer from their role. 

What happens if a volunteer refuses to sign the Code of Leadership? 

We are hoping that everyone will commit to the Code of Leadership, but in the situation where someone refuses to sign the document, we will discuss a timeline for that individual to transition out of their volunteer role. We feel this is an important endeavor to uphold as an engaged volunteer and campus community.