Berea College is a learning community whose fundamental purposes are expressed in the Great Commitments, which have arisen from its historic Christian tradition. These purposes include not only the intellectual goals pursued through teaching, learning, and scholarship, but also the aesthetic, moral, spiritual, and communal goals pursued more broadly throughout the entire educational program. Students are to be guided by the Great Commitments, as well as the motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth.” As articulated in the Preamble to the Great Commitments, these statements of belief “shape the College’s culture and programs so that students and staff alike can work toward both personal goals and a vision of a world shaped by Christian values, such as the power of love over hate, human dignity and equality, and peace with justice.”

In light of its mission in the tradition of impartial love and social equality, Berea College welcomes all peoples of the earth to learn and work at the College. This means that the College welcomes all students and staff who seek to live and to learn at Berea in the context of our mission as expressed in the Great Commitments; but this does not mean that all behavior is considered acceptable. Given Berea’s inclusive welcome to all peoples of the earth, the College will not tolerate speech and acts that are harassing to anyone regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other such distinguishing characteristics.

This Preamble affirms values, principles, rights and responsibilities for a way of living in community at Berea College.

Berea College affirms the intrinsic worth of each individual as influenced by heredity, environment, personal choices, and life experience, and believes that difference and diversity enrich the quality of life for all. Each member of our community has responsibility for creating an environment which affirms intrinsic worth, promotes human dignity, nurtures individual potential, and fosters a sense of community and common purpose.

We affirm that personal integrity and honesty are essential for developing trust, which is the foundation of our community. With such a foundation, our community has the responsibility to nurture and maintain this trust personally, in the classroom, in the workplace and in all other areas of our community.

We affirm that personal responsibility and self-determination are essential for developing physical, intellectual, spiritual, social and emotional wholeness as individuals. Commitment to these values means that individuals enjoy broad areas of self-determination and personal choice so long as one’s actions do not infringe upon the rights of others within the context of this community.

We affirm the individual and collective right to free inquiry and to free expression, including the right to advocate courses of action appropriate to the fundamental purposes of our community. These actions must respect both the need to preserve the essential commitments of the College and the right of individual and collective expression of opinion or dissent.