Welcome to college, freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.

Tags: community standards

Welcome to Princeton, where there’s no bedtime, and ice cream and pizza are always on the menu! No hall monitors, no attendance office, and certainly no homeroom! You’ve left whatever version of high school you dominated behind, and while you are taking your considerable talents to “the best damn place of all,” and left many rules behind, there are some new ones here that you’ll want to take stock of and consider. The “Orange Bubble” isn’t the lawless land from Lord of the Flies, this is the top-ranked research and teaching institution in the world, and the same freedom that you’ll enjoy to choose a late night at Frist will be available to you in your academic pursuits, whether in the stacks of Firestone Library, in a laboratory, or a far-flung place doing field research. This independence will drive your intellectual, personal and civic growth, but as with all privileges, is accompanied by some responsibilities – Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, to be more exact.

That’s because Princeton does have a framework of rules, a type of compact that everyone joining this great community agrees to understand and abide by. Princeton keeps these rules in a handbook, charmingly and conveniently titled Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, and commonly known as RRR. This book will be sent to you this summer via snail mail, but you digital natives can access it online here, now, at the touch of a finger (you’re reading this on your phone, right?)

Regarding RRR, there’s not too much left to say, except these three things:

  1. You MUST read Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.

This is the baseline expectation of everyone in our community – whether staff, faculty, or student. I know you’ve made the best decision of your life, to this point, by accepting the offer to join the Tiger family, but RRR lays out important facets that impact student life (so before you decide to bring your car or French bulldog to campus, please read through this book). “I didn’t know I couldn’t do that,” isn’t an acceptable excuse for a violation if it’s written in RRR.

  1. You will find most of the rules to be common sense.

As a successful Princeton student, you obviously learned the basics: don’t lie, cheat, or steal, don’t copy from Wikipedia, and don’t take food from the ‘Wa without paying. You may find these truths to be self-evident, but read closely; RRR may include a few other things that are different from your most recent academic home, and even some additional rules that wouldn’t get you picked up by the municipal police. That’s because these rules reflect the University’s values, which I think is actually a lot better explanation than just being arbitrary fun-killers. Those values inform our policies, and while most rules align with local, state and federal laws, others touch upon residential life, academic integrity, and respect for our entire community.

  1. Know and understand the risks of breaking the rules.

You may not agree with every rule, or even obey them at all times, but if you do have a lapse in judgement or make a conscious decision to disregard those policies, be prepared to face the consequences. Princeton’s rules are there to protect the health and safety of your fellow members and guard the integrity of our core academic mission, and there are a range of penalties and formal University sanctions, ranging from warnings to expulsion, that could come into play depending on the infraction. 

Now I know that can sound scary, but in a few short months you’ll be on campus, with the freedom, autonomy and ability to make all those choices that will help you learn, grow, and maximize your time at Princeton. We trust that the same great work ethic, judgement, and abilities that have us so excited to join our community will serve you well as you begin living Princeton’s values – please use those powers for good, and in the service of Old Nassau!

Author Profile

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Bryant R. Blount '08
Assistant Dean

Dean Blount works closely with the housing, dining and facilities departments to coordinate and accommodate any special housing and dining needs of undergraduates. He coordinates the selection, training and supervision of upperclass dormitory assistants. Dean Blount is also the liaison to the Prospect Street Eating Clubs and works closely with the undergraduate club officers and the leadership of the graduate boards. He also serves as the assistant secretary of the Committee on Discipline as well as on a variety of University committees.

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