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. In its most basic definition, the Honor Principle instructs us that any action that causes unnecessary pain or discomfort to any member of the Reed community, to any group within the community, or to the community as a whole is a violation of the Honor Principle. 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 the 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 subcommittees of the honor council provide advice to those seeking resolution of grievances. The mediation subcommittee 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 and a sexual misconduct board have 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.

Vice President and Dean of Student Services’ Office
The vice president and 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 vice president and 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 areas of student services are listed below.

Academic Support
Students choose Reed because they seek an intellectual and personal challenge. In order to meet the many demands of a Reed education, we expect students to work on their academic skills both inside and outside the classroom. To support this expectation, 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 and quantitative 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. In addition to drop-in tutoring, students can meet with individual tutors for up to an hour per week in most subjects. Tutors have been recommended by their professors and are trained 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.

Individual academic coaching by academic support staff gives students a chance to develop goals and improve the skills needed for college success. Coaching allows students to explore strategies related to study skills, learning styles, time management, test anxiety, procrastination, writing, 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.

Additional resources, including tutor and workshop schedules, are available at

Athletics, Fitness, and Outdoor Programs
The athletics, fitness, and outdoor programs department provides everything students need to enjoy an active lifestyle and to take advantage of all the recreational activities Oregon has to offer. There are opportunities to challenge those with varsity backgrounds, those who are new to the gym, and everyone in between.

In addition to the more than 50 physical education courses the college offers, the department sponsors a number of team sports and special events throughout the year, in addition to wellness retreats that include instruction in yoga, mindfulness, and massage and offer healthy teas and nourishing foods. 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.

Please visit for more information on physical education classes, team sports, and events.

Center for Life Beyond Reed
The Center for Life Beyond Reed guides, inspires, and supports students as they plan for and engage with life beyond Reed.  The staff works to develop relationships with faculty, staff, alumni, parents, community partners and employers so that students have access to quality resources, special programs, and a variety of opportunities and experiences beyond the classroom.

In collaboration with faculty advisers, staff members also provide assistance to students in the pursuit of fellowships and 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 staff members help students connect to individuals and organizations of interest. Many alumni volunteers visit campus to support career-related programming.

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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 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. The nonemergency number, which is also the college switchboard, is 503-771-1112.

Working to keep the Reed community 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), in the Center for Life Beyond Reed, seeks to connect Reed students to the greater community in an effort to complement the academic program, to inform students’ personal and career development, and to create and sustain a positive impact within the communities served. Reed students actively engage with Portland community members in a variety of ways, allowing them to focus their creative energies outside the classroom. Weekly service opportunities include tutoring and mentoring youth, arts-based mentoring for and by students with learning differences, and ESL work with day laborers. Saturday afternoon service projects reflect a wide range of interests and issues, including environmental restoration, food justice, and education equity. Additional trips and activities include an orientation service trip as well as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. The SEEDS website includes many resources–information about volunteer opportunities; announcements about events, such as social justice forums; information about the off-campus federal work study internship program; funding opportunities for projects such as the Davis Projects for Peace; and other resources that support service and engagement.

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Community Wellness
Community wellness collaborates across departments with staff, faculty, and students to offer activities aimed to enhance student wellness and foster a culture of well-being at Reed. Program offerings focus on topics such as stress management, mental health, physical activity, and harm reduction. Two groups of student staff coordinate community wellness activities: the Peer Health Advocates serve as role models and support liaisons for community wellness, and the Night Owls promote harm reduction during social events.

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 (HCC) seeks to further the college’s mission of academic excellence both by trying to relieve problems that seem to be hindering students’ academic goals and, more broadly, by helping to nurture overall well-being, so that Reed students can better pursue their intellectual interests with clarity, confidence, and joy. The HCC provides both medical and mental health / counseling services: Our medical service is a primary care clinic, with staff comprised of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and medical assistants. Our counseling service is comprised of licensed staff and trainees from a variety of mental health disciplines, including psychology, psychiatry, mental health-nurse practitioners, and social workers. Our staff are committed to providing effective services to all students, with sensitivity to each person’s culture, gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, learning style, ability or disability, socioeconomic status and other individual variables. 

All medical, psychiatric and counseling services at Reed are provided at no additional charge to eligible, currently enrolled Reed students. Prescriptions and supplies received, lab work, x-rays, and testing will normally result in additional charges, which may be billed to insurance (the HCC does not bill insurance directly).  When students’ needs exceed Reed’s primary care services and specialty care is required, staff members will make and facilitate referrals. Student immunizations must be up to date in order to enroll at Reed College (please see the health and counseling website for current immunization requirements).

All students are required to have health insurance coverage at least comparable to the coverage provided by health insurance offered by the college 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 insurance policy, which is tailored toward those medical expenses likely to be incurred by college 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.
For medical care, 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. The telephone number for Community Careline is available on the health and counseling center website and is available by calling the main Reed switchboard. Students needing emergency assistance should call 911 and/or the community safety office, where staff will help students connect with the proper resources.

Students may 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 emergency situations. Reed contracts with ProtoCall, an after-hours mental health telephone triage service, to provide urgent mental health consultation and advice whenever the health center is closed. ProtoCall’s telephone number is available on the health and counseling center website.
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 treated as confidential, as required by state and federal laws and clinical licensure. Information is released only with the student’s permission, or under other rare circumstances, such as a medical and/or psychiatric emergency that 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 on F-1 or J-1 visas. Additionally, ISS collaborates with other campus offices—including academic support, the dean of students, the Center for Life Beyond Reed, and residence life—to provide resources and programs that help international students acclimate to life in the U.S. and thrive at Reed.

Please visit for more information.

Office for Inclusive Community
The Office for Inclusive Community (OIC) oversees the multicultural resource center (MRC) and the Peer Mentor Program (PMP). The office also sponsors diversity and inclusion events throughout the year, celebrating the voices and experiences of underrepresented communities. Programs in OIC provide opportunities for the community to explore the intersections of identities, celebrate cultural traditions, and engage in dialogue across difference. The MRC also supports student organizations and houses a small library of resources including magazines, books, and films.

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Peer Mentor Program
The Peer Mentor Program (PMP) is a resource for returning and new students. The program pairs incoming students with a peer mentor who provides guidance and support during the first year at Reed. For both new and returning students, PMP seeks to support Reed students from underrepresented communities and encourages the development of spaces for all students to engage in conversations about the impact of diverse perspectives on their educational experience. New students typically sign up prior to Orientation and participate in the PMP Odyssey; however, first year students may join the program at any time. The year-long program includes small-group discussions, social and recreational outings, academic support workshops, and community service.

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Reed Leadership Academy
The Reed Leadership Academy (RELAY) is a year long, leadership development program for students. Participants learn about themselves, about interacting with others, and about making positive social change in their communities. Participants engage in community service and work with coaches from outside Reed who help them make meaning of their experiences. These skills benefit students both in the classroom and in life beyond Reed.

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. Nearly 70 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 "Dining at Reed" section of the residence life webpage at:

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, develop leadership skills, and participate in activities that keep them well-balanced. 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 leadership and involvement programs including the Reed Leadership Academy to help Reed students gain skills to be effective in groups, 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. Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in all Gray Fund Activities.

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)
A true Reed tradition, Canyon Day began in 1915. It was originated to encourage the college community to engage with the incredible resource in the midst of campus. Over time, the focus has evolved from recreation to education, and ultimately restoration. For almost 100 years, community members have contributed to the ongoing care and replanting of the 28-acre forest around Reed Lake. Flowing out of the lake, Crystal Springs provides the cleanest water resource in the lower reach of Johnson Creek. Recent habitat restoration efforts have resulted in the return of ocean-going fish runs. The beauty of the canyon sustains wide interest, and the work of Canyon Day is celebrated with friends, food, music, and fun.

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 campus-wide 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 senior officers of the college. This thesis parade kicks off a weekend-long celebration with music, food and drink, sports, games, events, and fireworks.