The Laws of Williams College, 1795

Chap. IX. - Of Respect to Superiors, Good Manners and Politeness.

As it is important that every Student should be, not only a Christian and a Scholar, but a Gentleman; that he should not only understand the principles of science and religion, and practice the laws of virtue, but conform in his manners to the rules of politeness; that he may, by a decent obliging and amiable deportment, recommend himself to his Instructors and fellow Students, and to all with whom he is conversant, and, in this way, increase his influence, respectability and usefulness in society, the following obvious and necessary rules of good breeding are enjoined on all the members of this Institution.

I. That they treat all their superiors, particularly the President and Trustees, and the Tutors and other Instructors of this Institution, with all proper respect, both in their language and behavior. And as expressions of such respect, it is enjoined, that whenever the President, or any of the Trustees, or a Tutor, or the Preceptor of the Grammar School, speaks to any Student, or he to either of them, the Student be uncovered. That, when a Student sees either of the said Gentlemen behind him, as he is about to pass through any door, gate or narrow passage, the Student wait till his Superior has passed. That, he rise whenever the President, or either of the said Gentlemen, enters his Chamber, or any other place where he is, and stand till desired to sit. That, with chearful promptitude he go on any errand, or with any message, from the President or either of those Gentlemen. And in all cases that he demean himself with that decent respect and subordination, which his situation as a pupil, and relation to his Instructors, and the rules of true politeness require.

II. It is strongly enjoined upon the Students to avoid all low, vulgar language and behaviour; especially, that most vulgar and despicable practice, profaneness; and that even in their private conversation among themselves, they never use any language that borders on obscenity. Both which practices are highly inconsistent with the character, not only of the Christian, but of the Scholar and the Gentleman.

III. That no Student throw water, or any thing else, out of a College window, till he is certain there is no person below who will be exposed to injury from it.

IV. As it is of great importance that order and due subordination, which are among the principal ornaments of society, and highly conducive of its peace, good Government and happiness, should be maintained in Colleges, in order that the Youth there educated may be early formed to such habits as will render them peaceable, honourable and useful citizens; it is enjoined that the members of an inferior Class pay a proper deference and respect to the members of the Class or Classes above them; that they give them the precedence in all processions, and in passing through any door, gate or narrow passage; that they never enter their Chambers without knocking, nor sit till desired; and that on all proper occasions they acknowledge, both in language and behaviour, their superior rank and claim to politeness and respect. And it is expected that the members of the Superior Classes, by a propriety and dignity of conduct, and a politeness of behavior, secure that deference and respect which are the objects of the foregoing requisition.