Reed College Catalog

Community life at Reed is intended to complement the college’s academic program. Richard Scholz, the college’s second president (1921–24), stated the college’s aspiration in his inaugural address: “Education is not merely a process of instruction, nor an individual matter of self-development. It is also a matter of self-realization through membership in a community of like-minded and congenial ‘comrades of the quest’ for knowledge and for wisdom.”

Honor Principle

Since the college’s founding, members of the Reed community have described the honor principle as one of the most important and distinctive features of the college. Its origins can be traced to the first class of Reed students, who “voted to relieve the faculty of the burden of enforcing honesty in … tests, and agreed to make it a ‘point of honor’ not to cheat in examinations.” In 1973 the faculty adopted a more explicit statement about the honor principle that reconfirmed the community’s responsibility for “maintaining standards of honesty and mutual trust in their academic and social lives. … The honor principle also demands the respectful concern of each person for the other, and exercise of conscionable judgment in all actions toward individuals and their property.” This statement continues, “Although the college does not call upon its members to sign a pledge of honor, it does recognize the necessity for tacit agreement of all its members to support the honor principle by governing their own conduct in accordance with its spirit, [and] by respecting regulations which the community has established.”

The preamble to the current community constitution applies to all students, faculty members, and staff members. It states, “We declare our commitment to responsible and honorable conduct in academic and community affairs, and we reaffirm one another’s rights to freedom of inquiry and expression in coursework, scholarship, and the day-to-day life of the Reed community. Since such freedom requires an atmosphere of trust and mutual confidence, we further declare that dishonesty, intimidation, harassment, exploitation, and the use or threat of force are incompatible with the preservation of this freedom.”

An honor council composed of equal numbers of students and members of the faculty and staff is responsible for educating members of the Reed community about the meaning and importance of the honor principle. It also provides advice to those seeking resolution of grievances or initiating a judicial board case, takes cases forward when the community’s rights have been violated, and may provide mediation in resolving problems. A student judicial board has primary responsibility for adjudicating formal complaints against students.

Student Services

The student services office comprises a number of programs and offices designed to complement and enhance students’ academic experiences. Broadly speaking, those who work in student services are concerned with the quality of student life outside the classroom in a community where unnecessary structuring and regulation are avoided and where the students, the faculty, and the staff are all bound by the honor principle. In practice, this involves working in a broad range of areas, from providing housing and extracurricular programs to counseling and advising students on many facets of their academic and personal lives. The vice president and dean of student services is responsible for the following programs and offices: academic support, career advising, community safety, community service, food service, health and counseling services, international student programs, multicultural affairs, residence life, the sports center, student activities, and services for students with disabilities.

Academic Support

Academic support counseling and advising is available through the student services office. The associate dean and academic support staff work closely with students and their faculty advisers to address general questions relating to registration, leaves of absence, withdrawals, course overloads, and course underloads. They help students placed on academic probation develop a progress plan that, if fulfilled, typically will allow them to clear probation. Students experiencing any type of academic difficulty can consult with staff concerning assessment of study skills, learning styles, time management, test anxiety, procrastination, blocks to learning, and whatever else may be causing academic or personal stress. The college’s tutoring program includes drop-in tutoring for writing, natural sciences, social sciences, and mathematics, as well as individual tutoring in most subjects. Tutor schedules and additional resources are available at

Career Services

Balancing academics with extracurricular experiences provides a foundation for career focus and awareness. The career services office at Reed provides a rich variety of resources and opportunities to help students and new alumni pursue and develop creative, fulfilling, and socially responsible lives throughout their academic and professional careers at Reed, and after graduation. Involvement in campus organizations, participation in student governance and policy development, contributions to campus publications, and community service opportunities are readily available to first-year students as means for developing and exploring interests and strengths. Staff members encourage and assist students in securing summer internships and volunteer work to gain valuable experience that will inform both academic and professional careers.

Career services counselors assist students at all stages of their future planning—self-assessment, exploration of career options, direct experience, skills development, career planning and decision-making, and job search. A library of resource materials offers information on career fields and industries, internships, job search, employment listings, graduate school, and fellowships and awards. While faculty advisers serve as a primary resource for students interested in graduate, medical, or law school, career services provides additional support for students during the application process. The career services website ( also offers online career and graduate school resources.

In addition to skills workshops for securing internships, summer jobs, and full-time career employment, programs offered throughout the academic year include networking opportunities and panel discussions with industry leaders in a variety of fields. Reed participates in a nationwide consortium of liberal arts schools that share internship opportunities, providing Reed students with a wide array of experiences. The career services office and SEEDS (Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service) jointly administer the McGill Lawrence Summer Service Award to help fund low-paying and nonpaying internships. Career services and SEEDS also collaborate with the financial aid office to arrange off-campus federal work-study community service internships.

A large and growing alumni career network is a valuable resource for students and can be viewed online ( Alumni share their experiences of life after Reed by offering career, job search, and graduate school advising. Alumni come to campus to talk about career fields such as law, publishing, teaching, medicine, social justice, public policy, and business, and to welcome students to the workplace for informational interviewing and job shadowing.

Community Safety

The primary mission of the community safety office is the safety and well-being of the Reed community, including students, faculty, and staff. Community safety staff seeks to achieve this goal through collaboration with all members of the Reed community as well as with a variety of supportive resources in the greater Portland area.

The office operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing patrols of the college campus and facilities. Reed College community safety officers are trained and able to assist with CPR and first aid, fire safety, criminal incident investigation and reporting, crime prevention, battery jump service and vehicle unlocks, vehicle and bicycle registrations, and parking problems. Community Safety dispatch serves as a resource for parents who need to call their student in an emergency. The emergency phone number is 503-777-7533. This department also staffs the college switchboard.

Working to keep Reedies safe, the college also provides a free bus service at night to take off-campus students who live in the vicinity from the library to their doorsteps.

Community Service

Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service (SEEDS) provides information, education, and leadership for students, faculty, staff, and alumni who participate in community service activities. SEEDS works to match individuals and groups with local, national, and international opportunities to serve others. During the school year volunteers actively engage the community in a variety of ways, including reading with elementary school children, serving meals to homeless people, teaching English to immigrants, and restoring frog habitat at nearby Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

SEEDS coordinates several ongoing programs throughout the year. Through the Youth Outreach program Reedies act as mentors and tutors in a wide range of educational settings. A popular event is the Into the Streets weekend, an annual event in which dozens of students work in groups with local agencies to support hungry and homeless people, weatherize houses, clean up the local riverbank, and more. Into the Streets is a time for both reflection and action that often inspires Reedies to make a commitment to ongoing service.

SEEDS promotes special activities during holidays, school breaks, and orientation week to offer Reedies a chance to focus their creative energies outside the classroom. The office is a resource center of books, publications, and a comprehensive online database of hundreds of community organizations and volunteer opportunities. The SEEDS website is at

Health and Counseling Services

The Reed College health and counseling center is available to all regularly enrolled students. The health and counseling center provides primary health care with an emphasis on prevention and health promotion; it strives to help students maintain and/or return to health as quickly as possible. A staff of nurses, nurse practitioners, and part-time physicians provides these services. When students’ needs exceed our primary care services and specialty care is required, staff members will make and facilitate referrals. All of a student’s immunizations must be up to date in order to enroll at Reed College.

All health care provided by the college staff is covered by student fees. Additional charges often result from lab work, X-rays, and prescriptions. All students are required to have health insurance coverage to ensure that they can cover at least some portion of specialty or major medical needs. Students are encouraged to consider enrolling in the college health policy, which is tailored toward those medical expenses likely to be incurred by college students. Reed health insurance is also available to MALS students. Given the limits of coverage existing for many managed care plans, the health plan available through the college is recommended as additional coverage to plans that parents choose to continue to carry.

Students can schedule an appointment, or come in without an appointment to be assessed by a nurse. If necessary, the nurse will arrange for a scheduled appointment with a nurse practitioner or physician. Students with urgent health care concerns after hours can call the Community Careline Consult Service. The consulting nurses will offer medical advice and refer students to appropriate medical care as needed. Students needing emergency assistance should call 911 and/or the community safety office, where staff will help students connect with the proper resources.

In addition to medical care, the college also provides counseling services. Staff members include psychiatric nurse practitioners, a psychologist, graduate interns, and psychology residents. Students seek counseling for many reasons, including the stress of personal problems, academic pressures, adjustment to college life, psychiatric disorders, and problems related to drugs and alcohol. In addition to individual counseling, groups are available as specific interest and needs dictate. Counseling staff members are also available for consultation, training, and workshops in areas of student interest and needs.

Students who wish to be seen for individual counseling may schedule an appointment; every effort will be made for students to be seen within the week. Daily walk-in hours are available during the week for urgent situations. There is a counselor on call after hours and on the weekend for urgent and emergency situations.

All health and counseling records remain separate from student academic records and are completely confidential as outlined by state and federal laws and clinical licensure. Information is released only with the student’s permission, unless a medical and/or psychiatric emergency seriously threatens the safety and wellbeing of the student or a member of the Reed College and/or off-campus community.

International Student Programs

International students add diversity and a unique perspective to a Reed education. Current students come from around the world including Ghana, Nepal, Tibet, Colombia, Argentina, Vietnam, China, France, Germany, and England.

The assistant dean of international programs works with students on details of immigration and visas. The early orientation program for international students is specifically designed to help clarify legal issues governing employment and travel in addition to helping students acclimate to the Reed campus and to meet other international students.

Student services provides ongoing support for international students throughout the year. This support includes but is not limited to social programming, informational sessions specific to international student needs, and individual needs assessments. Student services works closely with academic support services to provide assistance for international students as needed. Social programming continues and housing assistance is provided when school is not in session. In addition, Reed offers international students a host family program that matches incoming international students with local families to acquaint them with American family life and allow them to share traditional holidays.

Multicultural Affairs

Multicultural Affairs seeks to create an affirming campus environment and to support the experiences of all students. By creating small- and large-scale programs in the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC), located in the Gray Campus Center, multicultural affairs staff provide opportunities for the community to consider how one’s relationship with issues of ability, class, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, and social perspectives affect the ways in which people understand and interact with one another. The MRC houses a small library of materials that address issues of multiculturalism, including movies and music. In addition to campus programs, multicultural affairs is responsible for coordinating the peer mentor program described below.

Peer Mentor Program

The peer mentor program, begun in 2001 by Patty Hsue ’02, pairs new students who identify as students of color, first-generation college students, and any student who is interested in addressing issues of diversity with current students. The program provides an opportunity for students to develop a supportive community through initiatives that include small group discussions, social and recreational outings, and one-on-one time. The program is coordinated through multicultural affairs with the support of staff members in admission and academic support services.

Residence Life and Food Services

The residence life office is responsible for providing students with well-balanced, safe, and healthy living options on campus. A primary goal of the staff is to help students develop a community within each of the residence halls and to provide residents with a variety of opportunities for personal and social growth and development. Establishing living units compatible with students’ educational needs, safety, lifestyles, and interests is of primary concern. Living on campus offers proximity to classes and a chance to participate in social and educational events planned by the staff with residents of the floor. Being on campus allows easy access to the college’s resources and services. Over 60 percent of Reed students, including almost all first-year students, live in the college residence halls, houses, and apartments.

Reed’s residence halls, in six area groups on the campus, are characterized by distinctive architecture intended to foster community living. Housing choices are typically coed, with the exception of one all-female hall. The majority of non-first-year students live in singles, with most first-year students living in divided double and a few triple rooms. Within the residence halls specific communities are organized by students and include communities concerned about lifestyle choices such as a quiet floor and living substance-free, or themes such as astronomy, ancient civilizations, outdoor adventure, or academic interests. All residence halls are nonsmoking. In addition, Reed’s five language houses accommodate non-first-year students studying French, German, Spanish, Russian, or Chinese.

Apartments offer students a combination of on- and off-campus living. A short walk from the center of campus, these furnished one- and two-bedroom units house one to two residents respectively. The apartments usually house non–first-year students.

Returning students select housing for the following year through a housing lottery held in the spring. New and transfer students select their preferred housing options, which staff members then use to make room assignments. First-year students who meet the housing application deadline are guaranteed housing on campus; transfer students are provided rooms on campus on a space-available basis.

To help students build communities within the halls, non-first-year students serve as house advisers. House advisers are selected and trained to help other students adjust to Reed, provide information, and offer support for the students with whom they live. House advisers encourage students to participate in programs and activities and get involved in campus life. In addition to the house advisers, six full-time professional staff members, resident directors, live on campus to support the house advisers, serve as a resource for all students, and provide assistance in emergencies.

All students who live on campus, except apartment residents, contract for their meals on an annual basis. Students who live in the apartments or off campus also have the option of participating in the board program. All those on board plans eat in the centrally located commons (dining hall).

The food service program operates on a declining balance system. Each student on board pays a fee at the beginning of the term and is credited with “commons cash” (dollars) to be spent in the dining hall. Dining services are available approximately 12 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and five hours per day on the weekends. A brochure describing the meal plans is available from the residence life office.

The office maintains a website of off-campus housing listings linked from the residence life home page,

Sports Center

There are many opportunities to participate in a wide variety of sports and physical fitness activities at Reed. In addition to the more than 50 physical education courses the college offers, the physical education department sponsors a number of team sports and special events throughout the year. Last year Reed students played on men’s basketball, men’s and women’s ultimate Frisbee and soccer teams, and women’s and men’s rugby and squash teams. Special events included the juggling festival, the March Madness basketball tournament, badminton, racquetball, and tennis play days, and fall and spring softball tournaments. Reed also offers outdoor education classes, including white-water rafting, rock climbing, winter camping, and backcountry navigation. The sports center includes a state-of-the-art fitness facility, a martial arts room, new and renovated squash courts, reconfigured and updated locker rooms, an elevator, and classroom space.

Student Activities

Reed is proud of its long-standing tradition of encouraging students to take responsibility for their lives outside the classroom. This is reflected in the choices Reed students make about their extracurricular activities. Many students take advantage of being in Portland and either work in community organizations or partake in the many opportunities the city and its surroundings offer. On campus, initiative and responsibility for student activities rest primarily with students. Organizations vary from year to year, depending on student interest, and are open to all students. Students may form new groups or join one of the already established student organizations.

Currently there are approximately 80 Reed student organizations, representing a wide variety of student interests. These organizations are funded through student body fees allocated by the student senate.

The student activities staff offers a wide range of resources, information, and opportunities for involvement outside of the classroom. The student activities staff supports students in developing leadership skills; gaining experience in planning and implementing cultural, social, and intellectual programs; and exploring the range of options available for becoming involved in the cultural, political, and social life at Reed. The staff works closely with student organizations by helping with budget preparation, contracts, communications, and general organization. Students are invited to stop by to pick up information, have questions answered, or find creative assistance with their ideas.

The office keeps copies of books on places to go and things to do in the area, as well as maps and bus information. Maps to the Reed ski cabin and guidebooks for many of the Pacific Northwest’s hiking trails and natural sites can also be found in this office. Students can come to the office to find out about student organizations, events occurring in the Portland area, event scheduling, and student discounts or ticket subsidies for fine arts productions and entertaining events.

Students with Disabilities

Reed College is committed to providing equal opportunity and access to qualified students with physical, psychological, attentional, and/or learning disabilities. The college does not have a separate program for students with disabilities, but rather works individually with students to provide advocacy and reasonable accommodations. With current and appropriate documentation on file, students may have access to the following accommodations and services: relocation of classes, alternate housing and dining arrangements, alternative ways of fulfilling course requirements, access to adaptive technology, and arrangements for tutoring, interpreting, books on tape, or note-taking. In addition, referrals can be provided for testing and diagnosis as needed. Questions about student disability services should be directed to the associate dean of academic support.

Special Events

Orientation (August)

Reed offers new students—first-year, transfers, and special-admission students—and their parents several days of orientation before classes begin in the fall. At these events new students meet with returning students and members of the faculty and staff at events designed to provide a relaxed and informative introduction to the college.

Typically, orientation includes introduction to the intellectual life at Reed through discussions about the Reed curriculum, humanities program, and academic advising, in addition to informal opportunities to meet faculty members and returning students. Orientation is designed to expose students to the beauty of Oregon through such activities as day excursions to the Oregon coast and Mt. Hood and walking tours of Portland. A backpacking trip to wilderness areas in the Cascade Mountains and several trips focusing on community service are also a part of orientation. A detailed description of the orientation program is mailed to all students and parents during the summer.

Gray Fund Events (throughout the year)

In 1991 the late Betty Gray, a longtime friend of the college, endowed a fund, the purpose of which is “to assure that Reed College will have stimulating cultural, social, and recreational programs of excellent quality on a regular and planned basis that will interest students, faculty, and staff members and involve these three groups together in activities outside the classroom that complement the college’s academic program.” The operational responsibility of the fund resides with the vice president and dean of student services. A committee composed of an equal number of students and faculty and staff members, in association with the director of student activities, acts as an advisory group for use of the fund. Events have included lectures by authors David Sedaris, Sherman Alexie, and Barry Lopez and activists Morris Dees and Angela Davis; concerts by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and The Decemberists; and many other activities. Recreational trips have included sea kayaking, wildflower hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The Gray Fund committee plans events throughout the year and encourages input from the community.

Paideia (January)

Paideia is a Greek word that means, roughly translated, “education.” Taking place during the approximately 10 days before the beginning of the spring semester, Paideia is a time to enjoy being at Reed without academic pressures. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Reed offer informal, noncredit courses and lectures on a wide variety of topics.

Reed Arts Week (March)

Reed Arts Week (RAW) is a celebration of the arts at Reed, including music, dance, theatre, films, creative writing, and the visual arts. In addition to student performances, major artists join in the campus celebration by performing original works and participating in master class work with members of the Reed community.

Canyon Day (April and October)

One of the true Reed traditions, Canyon Day was begun in order to make the canyon a suitable recreation space for the college community. Over time, it developed into a community effort to clean up and preserve the natural ecosystem of the canyon. Music, food, friends, and games accompany the day’s activities.

Renn Fayre (May)

Originally, Renaissance Fayre was a one-day event during the spring semester that turned Reed into the Age of the Renaissance as authentically as possible. Renn Fayre has evolved into a campuswide end-of-the-year festival. On the last day of classes, seniors march from the steps of the library to the registrar’s office to celebrate turning in their theses and be congratulated by the president. This thesis parade kicks off a weekend-long celebration with music, food and drink, sports, games, arts and crafts, and fireworks.