Reed College Catalog

Community life at Reed is intended to complement the college’s academic program through a commitment to creating and learning together in a community of scholars from diverse racial, ethnic, national, religious, socioeconomic, and political backgrounds. 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 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. Members of the various subcommittees of the honor council provide advice to those seeking resolution of grievances. The mediation subcommittee of the honor council oversees the process of formal mediation, including the provision of neutral third-party mediators. The community rights subcommittee may bring honor cases on behalf of the community when the community’s rights have been violated. A student judicial board has primary responsibility for adjudicating formal complaints against students.

Student Services
The mission of student services is to promote student success and well-being, and to foster an inclusive Reed community.

Student services supports Reed’s educational mission:
•    by providing information, guidance, and resources;
•    in collaboration with students, staff, faculty, alumni, and other community partners;
•    through sponsoring comprehensive programs and services;
•    in order to enhance learning in and beyond the classroom.

Dean of Student Services Office
The dean of student services’ office works with faculty, staff, parents, and students in an effort to coordinate a comprehensive network of support for all students. Students are invited to contact the dean of student services’ office for guidance regarding their progress and engagement at the college, including questions relating to administrative and academic issues and college policies and procedures. Please visit for more information.

Descriptions of the resources and services available through the various departments operating within student services are listed below.

Academic Support
At Reed, intellectual life is paramount, and students are challenged to embrace the goal of learning for knowledge, rather than for a grade. Because strengthening talents and building new skills happen both inside and outside the classroom, Reed has developed several important resources to complement the curriculum. In collaboration with faculty, academic support services offers peer tutoring, a cooperative study environment, writing support, workshops, and individualized coaching.

As fellow students, peer tutors have a deep understanding of Reed’s approach to academics. Tutors are available on a drop-in basis for biology, chemistry, economics, physics, math, modern languages, statistics, and writing. Tutors collaborate with students to talk through a particularly difficult problem set, offer feedback on lab reports, ponder questions about course materials, or share a fresh perspective on a concept that’s just out of reach. Individual tutors can meet with students for up to an hour per week in most subjects. All Reed tutors have been recommended by their professors and have completed specialized training to prepare them to help with Reed’s challenging coursework. Cooperative learning is a cornerstone of the Reed education; this is such a popular resource that many tutors have been tutored themselves.

In addition, staff members are available to discuss study skills, learning styles, time management, test anxiety, goal setting, procrastination, quantitative skills development, and academic stress. Students can consult with staff to develop personalized strategies for success from their first Humanities 110 paper to the oral defense of their thesis project.

Additional resources, including tutor and workshop schedules are available at

Career Services
The office of career services provides a variety of resources, counseling, and services to help students and alumni put their liberal arts education and their experiences to use in pursuit of a lifetime of fulfilling opportunities. Staff members encourage and assist students in self-discovery, career exploration, and in securing volunteer and paid summer internships. With this support, students can further advance their skills and career development while in school, and prepare to launch their careers after graduation.

In collaboration with faculty advisers, staff members also provide assistance to students in the pursuit of advanced studies in graduate or professional school.

Alumni of the college are enlisted as volunteers to support students in making the transition to the world beyond Reed. Students can search a secure online database of Reed alumni, and career services staff members can help students connect to individuals and organizations of interest. Many alumni volunteers visit campus to support career-related programming.

The staff works to develop relationships with faculty, staff, alumni, community partners and employers so that students have access to quality resources, special programs, and a variety of jobs and career opportunities.

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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 seek to achieve this through collaboration with all members of the Reed community as well as with a variety of supportive resources in the greater Portland area.

Community safety oversees the college’s programs and activities in several key areas, including emergency preparedness, crime prevention and response (including sexual assault), and alcohol and other drug policy monitoring, and acts as the primary liaison office with law enforcement.

The office operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing patrols of the college campus and facilities. Reed College community safety officers (CSOs) are trained and able to assist with CPR and first aid, fire safety, criminal incident investigation and reporting, crime prevention, vehicle jump starts and unlocks, vehicle and bicycle registrations, and parking.  Community safety dispatch serves as a resource for students with medical or psychological needs after hours by helping students connect with the appropriate resource, and by working with parents who need to call their student in an emergency. The emergency phone number is 503/788-6666. This department also staffs the college switchboard: 503/771-1112.

Working to keep Reedies safe, CSOs provide safety escorts on campus 24 hours a day, and the college provides free bus service at night to take off-campus students who live in the vicinity from the library to their doorsteps.

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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, teaching English to immigrants, and restoring frog habitat at nearby Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

SEEDS coordinates many ongoing programs throughout the year, most created and led by Reed students. Reedies serve as mentors and tutors in a wide range of educational settings. Through established partnerships with local schools and non-profit organizations, Reedies also engage in a variety of other educational and outreach service activities on issues ranging from empowering immigrant laborers to educating and engaging homeless youth and adults. SEEDS regularly offers one-day service projects that engage students in environmental restoration and issues of hunger and housing in the Portland community.

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 SEEDS website,, hosts a database of local volunteer opportunities, announcements about upcoming events, information about the off-campus federal work study internship program, links to volunteer opportunities by area of interest, information about funding opportunities for projects, and other resources to help the Reed community engage in service.

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Disability Support Services
As a part of Reed College’s commitment to providing equality of opportunity and meaningful access to all students, disability support services takes a highly individualized approach to providing services for students with disabilities. Upon receipt of a request for services and the appropriate documentation, student services works with the student to provide or establish the most suitable and reasonable accommodations or services given the context of a particular class, professor’s pedagogy, or area of campus.

Disability support services can provide students not yet diagnosed or without documentation with coaching from professional staff and/or referrals to community resources including evaluation and diagnostic specialists. Students with mobility, chronic medical, psychological, visual, hearing, attentional, and learning disabilities, Asperger's syndrome/autism spectrum, and/or other conditions that impact the student’s access to educational opportunities at Reed are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services.

Accommodations and other resources provided by disability support services are designed to enable all students to access what Reed has to offer. Reasonable accommodations should in no way alter the expectations of a course, nor should they fundamentally alter the content of a course. Students with disabilities are held to the same academic expectations as their peers. 

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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 Reed’s 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 healthcare provided by college staff is covered by student fees. Additional charges will 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 psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, a psychiatrist, graduate interns, and psychology and psychiatry 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 a week. Daily walk-in hours are available during the week for urgent concerns. There is a counselor on call after hours and on the weekend for urgent and emergency situations. Reed contracts with ProtoCall, an after-hours mental health telephone triage service, to provide mental health consultation and advice whenever the health center is closed. This service is available to students, or anyone with a concern about a current student, and may be accessed by calling Reed’s main switchboard and asking for the counselor on call. Callers do not need to identify themselves or the student about whom they are concerned in order to speak to the ProtoCall clinician.

Reed also offers group acupuncture to help students to achieve and maintain optimal health and wellness. Students may be referred to acupuncture services by a health and counseling center clinician, or can request a consultation with the acupuncturist to discuss whether acupuncture treatment is indicated for the student’s concern.

All health and counseling records remain separate from student academic records and are completely confidential as required 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 well-being of the student or of a member of the Reed College and/or off-campus community.

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International Student Services
An exceptionally diverse group of students benefits from a range of programs and support offered by international student services (ISS). ISS programming—including international orientation, the host family program, and the InterConnect mentor program—offers support not only to foreign citizens, but also to U.S. citizens who have spent a portion of their lives abroad. ISS provides assistance and guidance on immigration regulations for students F-1 or J-1 visas. Additionally, ISS collaborates with other campus offices—including academic support, the dean of students, career services, and residence life—to provide resources and programs that help international students acclimate to life in the U.S. and thrive at Reed.

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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), 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 addresses issues of multiculturalism, including movies and music. In addition to campus programs, multicultural affairs is responsible for coordinating the peer mentor program described below.

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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 small group mentoring time. The program is coordinated through multicultural affairs with the support of staff members in admission and academic support services.

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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 floor. 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 living substance-free, or themes such as fantasy and science fiction, outdoor adventure, Arabic culture, 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 or 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 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, five full-time professional 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 and students living in the co-ops, contract for their meals on an annual basis. Students who live in the apartments or off campus have the option of participating in the board program or purchasing Commuter Commons Cash. 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. Information describing the meal plans is available on the "Food Service & Meal Plans" section of the residence life webpage.

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

Sports, Recreation, and Physical Education
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 participated in men’s basketball, men’s and women’s Ultimate Frisbee and soccer, women’s and men’s rugby, squash, and rowing. 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 fitness facility, a martial arts room, new and renovated squash courts, reconfigured and updated locker rooms, an elevator, and classroom space.
The sports center provides nutrition and wellness counseling services. The health and wellness program works with the college's food service, the health and counseling center, student activities, residence life, and physical education to bring education and support to Reed students in the areas of nutrition, stress management, mindfulness, and other healthy strategies for managing the academic rigors of Reed. One complimentary service offered each semester is a wellness retreat that includes instruction in yoga, mindfulness, and massage, and offers healthy teas and nourishing foods.
Please visit for more information on physical education classes, team sports and events.

Student Activities
The goal of the student activities office is to provide experiences that complement the academic program by helping students discover their place on campus and engage in holistic development. In support of this, the student activities office provides the following:

•    Resources for students to manage events and organizations
•    Programs to help students gain valuable leadership skills
•    Opportunities for entertainment and educational events on and off campus
•    Resources to help students gain the most from their involvement and engage in personal development

Programs and services include support of student groups and student senate to advise and assist with event planning and registration. Student activities coordinates Reed Arts Week, Gray Fund events, and new Reedie orientation. Student activities also coordinates a leadership and involvement program to help Reed students gain skills to be effective in student organizations, manage events and become well-rounded individuals.

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Special Events

Orientation (August)
Reed offers new students—first-year, transfer, 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. Other sessions are meant to help students learn about the college culture and our expectations for how they govern themselves under the honor principle. Our odyssey programs, which take place immediately before orientation, allow students to meet others interested in outdoor or volunteer programs, take part in the peer mentor program, or participate in international student orientation. A detailed description of the orientation program is available online at

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.” A committee composed of students, faculty and staff members, in association with the assistant director of student activities, acts as an advisory group for use of the fund. Events have included lectures by hip hop artist Common, authors Sherman Alexie and Ursula Le Guin, graphic novelist Art Spiegelman, and activist Cleve Jones; concerts by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Reel Big Fish; and many other activities. Recreational trips have included sea kayaking, wildflower hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Social trips have included plays, museums, glass slumping and fusing, a gourmet cooking class, and more. 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 period before the beginning of the spring semester, Paideia is a time to enjoy being at Reed without academic expectations or pressure. 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 installations and performances, major artists join in the campus celebration by providing various forms of installations, 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 to 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.