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. Reed community members are expected to actively engage the Honor Principle.

The origins of the Honor Principle 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 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 is responsible for educating members of the Reed community about the meaning and importance of responsible and honorable conduct at Reed College. Members of the honor council provide neutral and confidential 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. The education subcommittee raises awareness of the Honor Principle and facilitates discussions about honor on campus.

When violations of honor or policy rise to the level of adjudication, the student judicial board and a student and staff Title IX board have primary responsibility for adjudicating formal complaints against students.

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

Student life 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.

Student Life Office
The student life office works closely 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 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 a few of the resources and services available through the various areas within student life are listed below.

Academic Support
Students choose Reed because they seek to challenge themselves intellectually and personally. In order to assist students as they rise to meet those challenges, Reed offers opportunities for students to work on their academic skills both inside and outside the classroom. In collaboration with faculty, academic support services offers peer tutoring, a cooperative study environment, writing and quantitative support, workshops, and individualized coaching.

Peer tutors, who are undergraduates recommended by faculty, provide deep understanding and a student perspective on Reed’s approach to academics. Tutors are available on a drop-in basis for biology, chemistry, computer science, economics, physics, mathematics, languages, and writing. Tutors might 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 almost within reach. In addition to drop-in group tutoring, students can meet individually with tutors by appointment for up to an hour per week in many subjects. Cooperative learning is a cornerstone of the Reed education; this is such a popular resource that over half of all current 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. 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 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 applies a purpose-focused model to teach students to develop their clarity of purpose, career skills competencies, networks, and confidence 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.

CLBR is a center of funding for internships and other career advancement activities. The center advises for nationally competitive awards (Watson, Fulbright, Rhodes, and others) in collaboration with faculty on the Fellowships and Awards Committee. 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.

Visit for more information.

Community Engagement
Students for Education, Equity, and Direct Service (SEEDS) builds mutually beneficial relationships within the Portland community to foster sustainable and positive change. SEEDS is committed to enhancing the academic mission and supporting Reed students in developing tools for self-reflection and passion for lifelong community engagement.

SEEDS programs, which reflect a wide range of interests and issues, include weekly community engagement commitments as well as biweekly, monthly, and one-time engagement opportunities, such as the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Engagement. There are also multiple community engagement trips each academic year, including the Community Engagement Orientation Experience for first-year and transfer students. As part of the Committee for Civic Engagement, SEEDS also helps to facilitate Project Pericles initiatives, advocacy workshops, and community-based learning in the curriculum. To promote access to community engagement, SEEDS manages Reed’s off-campus Federal Work-Study (FWS) program. Students who qualify to participate earn an hourly wage while working with FWS-eligible community organizations and public agencies around Portland. SEEDS hosts an on-campus event series, Collective Voices, featuring local community organizers and activists who talk with students about their community work and how to get involved. Finally, SEEDS manages volunteer staff and operations of the Reed Community Pantry (RCP), which is a part of Reed College’s Food Security Initiative (FSI) program. The RCP provides nonperishable food items, toiletries, hygiene products, clothing, books, and more at no cost to members of the Reed community. Contact SEEDS for detailed information about the program.

Visit for more information on SEEDS programs and community partners.

Community Safety
The primary mission of the community safety office is the safety and well-being of the Reed community, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors. 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. The nonemergency number to text is 503/849-8678.

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.

Visit for more information.

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. Three groups of student staff coordinate community wellness activities: the Peer Health Advocates (PHAs) and Multicultural PHAs serve as role models and support liaisons for community wellness, and the Night Owls promote harm reduction during social events.

Disability and Accessibility Resources
As a part of Reed College’s commitment to providing equality of opportunity and meaningful access to all students, disability and accessibility resources (DAR) takes a highly individualized approach to supporting students with disabilities. DAR staff work with students to determine the most suitable and reasonable accommodations, given the context of a particular class, professor’s pedagogy, or area of campus.

Accommodations and other resources provided by DAR are designed to enable all students to access what Reed has to offer. Reasonable accommodations are not intended to alter the expectations or content of a course, major, or degree.

Students with mobility, chronic medical, psychological, visual, hearing, attentional and learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, and/or other conditions that impact the student’s access to educational opportunities at Reed are encouraged to contact DAR. Students who are interested in exploring accommodations at Reed but do not have a diagnosis or documentation should contact DAR for more information on how to pursue an evaluation or possible diagnosis.

For documentation guidelines and additional information, students are encouraged to contact DAR and/or review the website:

Fellowships and Awards
The fellowships and awards office, in the Center for Life Beyond Reed, publicizes scholarship and fellowship opportunities and engages and assists students in pursuing a range of goals including research, study, teaching, and pursuit of arts or other special projects during and after their time at Reed. With the Committee on Fellowships and Awards, staff coordinate the application and nomination processes for those award programs requiring an institutional endorsement, and they work directly with students to identify relevant opportunities and prepare competitive applications. Through fellowships and awards and in collaboration with the Center for Life Beyond Reed, students receive assistance in drafting and editing resumes, cover letters, and application essays; assistance in reviewing applications for completeness; and tips on successful interviewing.

Visit for more program details.

Health and Counseling Services
The Reed College Health and Counseling Center (HCC) strives to promote students’ ongoing health and well-being as well as academic, personal, and multicultural growth. We embrace the inherent value of diversity and we endeavor to promote a safe environment that respects and upholds the dignity and civil rights of all persons. The HCC acknowledges the injustice and profound impact of discrimination and marginalization of individuals and groups and their effects on students’ well-being. We continue to expand our self-awareness and understanding of how diversity influences concepts of holistic health and well-being.

The HCC is an integrated clinic, providing primary care services as well as counseling and limited psychiatric medication management. Our medical clinic is staffed with nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and certified medical assistants. Our mental health clinic is staffed with licensed psychologists, mental health nurse practitioners, social workers, and professional counselors. At times, we have psychology or counseling interns working under the supervision of our licensed professional staff. We are committed to providing high-quality services with sensitivity to each student’s culture, gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, learning style, and socioeconomic status.

All medical and counseling records remain separate from student academic records and are treated as confidential as required by state and federal laws. Information is released only with the student’s permission, or under rare circumstances for continuity of care.

The State of Oregon mandates that all students receive two doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) immunizations prior to starting college. If students have not received their MMR immunizations, a hold is put on their registration and they are unable to register for classes. All students are strongly encouraged to have the hepatitis series of immunizations (both A and B), the meningitis series, an annual influenza immunization, and the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster before arriving at Reed.

All students are required to have health insurance that is equivalent to the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) provided by the college. Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in the SHIP, as it is designed to cover the expenses incurred by college-age students. Referrals are often made to community providers and for diagnostics. Most providers and facilities in the area will take the SHIP, unlike plans originating from out-of-state insurance providers.

Students are not billed for provider services at the HCC. Students are billed for point-of-care testing, or if medication or medical supplies are dispensed. Students will also incur charges if they see a community specialist, if they require diagnostic testing such as radiology, or if they have blood work done. The HCC does not bill insurance; however, students are provided with the necessary documentation that can be forwarded to their insurance company.

For medical care, students can self-schedule an appointment through the student portal or call the HCC. Students with urgent concerns can walk in for a nurse triage visit. Students with health concerns after hours can call the Community Careline. The consulting nurses will offer medical advice and refer students to appropriate medical care as needed. The telephone number for the Community Careline is available on the HCC website or by calling the main Reed switchboard. Students who require emergency services should call 911 and/or the community safety office.

The HCC offers short-term mental health counseling for students. Students seek counseling for many reasons, including personal problems, academic pressures, adjustment to college life, mild to moderate psychiatric disorders, and problems related to drugs and alcohol. In addition to individual counseling, groups are available as specific interests and needs arise.

Students who are interested in individual counseling may schedule a screening appointment by contacting the HCC. Daily crisis walk-in hours are available for urgent needs. The Reed Counseling Hotline is staffed by licensed mental health professionals available to provide telephonic support and referrals for students with mental health concerns. The telephone number is available on the HCC website.

Please visit for more information.

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 student orientation, the host family program, and the InterConnect mentor program—offers support to international students and third culture kids. ISS provides assistance and guidance on immigration regulations for students on F-1 or J-1 visas. Additionally, ISS collaborates with other campus offices to provide resources and programs that help international students acclimate to life in the United States and thrive at Reed.

Please visit for more information.

Office for Inclusive Community
The Office for Inclusive Community (OIC) seeks to build community for collective liberation and positive social change through relationships with students, staff, faculty, and members of the broader Portland community; support students’ holistic wellness; expand the scope of the academic mission by offering opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the outside world, especially as it pertains to social change, social justice, equity, and racial justice; and create positive structural and systemic change that advances institutional equity at Reed. The OIC includes the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC), the Peer Mentor Program (PMP), and SEEDS (Students for Education, Equity, and Direct Service).

Visit for more information.

Office for Student Engagement
The Office for Student Engagement, formerly known as the Student Activities Office, seeks to help students create community, practice interpersonal and leadership skills, and enjoy well-deserved outlets for relaxation and fun. Programs include the Reed Leadership Academy, leadership and involvement programs and workshops, the Gray Fund, orientation, advising student senate, working with student groups wishing to organize on-campus events, and advising the Model United Nations, mock trial, and chess teams. Visit the office located in the Student Center for more information.

Peer Mentor Program
The Peer Mentor Program (PMP) is a resource for new and continuing students from underrepresented and marginalized communities. PMP hosts social and academic programming during the academic year and pairs incoming students with a peer mentor who provides guidance and support for first-year students. New students typically sign up prior to orientation and participate in a preorientation PMP Experience; however, first-year and transfer students are welcome to join PMP during the fall or spring semester. The yearlong program includes small-group discussions, social outings, academic support workshops, and engagement with the Portland community.

Visit for more information.

Reed Leadership Academy
The Reed Leadership Academy (RELAY) is a semester-long leadership development program for all students. This interactive class helps students learn about themselves, about interacting with others, and about making positive social change in their communities. Cohort members are paired with mentors from outside Reed who help them make meaning of the concepts they learn in the classroom. Past participants have reported that the skills they learned have helped them in many settings, including in the classroom, with roommates, in the workplace, and in student groups. For more information, visit

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 80 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 female-identified floor. Residence halls are grouped into neighborhood configurations. First-year students are concentrated in first-year neighborhoods, while juniors and seniors are able to select rooms in upper-division neighborhoods. Sophomores are guaranteed housing, and choose their neighborhood based on their interests. The neighborhood model provides a foundation for more intentional community building and better access to resources based upon a student’s trajectory at Reed. Within the neighborhood are several living options, which include Students of Color Community, Co-ops, and Substance-Free.  In addition, Reed’s six language houses accommodate students interested in Arabic, 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 upper-division students.

Returning students select housing for the following year through room registration 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 area coordinators 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 5 hours per day on the weekends. Information describing the meal plans is available at

Special Events

Canyon Day (Spring and Fall)
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. 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. This event is cosponsored by campus facilities services and the student group Greenboard.

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 engagement, acts as an advisory group for use of the fund. Events have included lectures by comedian Jessica Williams, author Ursula Le Guin, TV personality RuPaul Charles, and actress Laverne Cox; concerts; films; and many other activities. Recreational trips have included sea kayaking, wildflower hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Social trips have included Broadway shows, museums, glass slumping and fusing, a gourmet cooking class, and more. This past year Gray Fund has expanded our events to include Friday night programming, First Saturdays, and a speaker series. 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.

Orientation (August)
Reed offers new students—first-year, transfer, and special-admission students—and their families 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 an engaging 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 preorientation programs, which take place immediately before orientation, allow students to meet others interested in outdoor or community engagement 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

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 (November)
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. RAW is organized entirely by Reed student artistic directors, who are supported by the Cooley Gallery.

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.