Etiquette, and Ethical Behavior
The Grey School of Wizardry does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, nationality, gender, dog or cat preference, sexual orientation, physical appearance, elemental alliance, or any other variables in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, or any other School-administered programs and activities. Sometimes discussions of practice or philosophy get more prickly than the participants (or observers) are really comfortable with.
A Guide to Forum Behavior
As a general guideline, it is unacceptable to use foul language, threatening language, or otherwise offensive language towards staff, faculty, or Apprentices in any type of communication with each other. It is also inappropriate to use veiled threats or innuendo in the same manner. By joining the Grey School, you have agreed to abide by these standards. People who persistently violate these standards may be placed on moderated status, suspended from posting to school venues, removed from the Grey School altogether, or otherwise reprimanded, at the discretion of the administration.
Please DO NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! In Internet-ese, all caps are interpreted as a kind of shouting. Also, the human brain and eye have a lot of trouble reading all caps, potentially causing your message to be missed.
We expect Grey School faculty to conduct themselves as mature, responsible people. We expect Apprentices to behave decently too, but we also understand that young people have less life experience to draw on, so they need a little more leeway. Most of the Apprentices attracted to this school will be clever, inquisitive, often outspoken individuals; and sometimes their enthusiasm may outstrip their tact. In guiding young Wizards, we walk a fine line – we do not want to promote unquestionable authority, but neither do we want to encourage rudeness. A Wizard who cannot master self-control and fluent communication is a disaster waiting to happen. Thus, we ask the faculty to set a good example in online communication and to make corrections gently if possible, firmly if necessary. As a last resort, someone who cannot uphold these standards of behavior may have to leave the school.
Please remember that, in general, Wizards are bright and very opinionated people. In any group of people, there will be occasional disagreements and hurt feelings – and this will happen more often in groups of highly intelligent, vocal, passionate people, such as Wizards.
What matters is how the inevitable upsets are handled, that folks generally try to respect each other, and that they make and accept apologies as needed.
If a topic is getting on your nerves, feel free to withdraw from it and contemplate why the topic has gotten under your skin. If you are not interested in a given matter, find something else to occupy yourself. If someone is pushing harder than you feel comfortable with, please say so, gently if possible and firmly if necessary. If you hurt someone’s feelings, please apologize. If someone apologizes, please take it in good spirit.
We don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable joining a discussion. If you have concerns about an assignment or its grading, please discuss it carefully with the teacher involved. If you really feel that there is an issue of safety or school wide concern, you can contact the department Dean, or, if you cannot reach the dean quickly, the Dean of Students.
Addressing Faculty, Staff, and Fellow Apprentices.
When we address a member of Faculty here at Grey school we add the title of Professor, Instructor or Dean (depending on the Faculty member) before their name proper, <Faculty title> <Faculty Name>. This can be tricky while learning who is who, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it in no time. On the flip side of the coin, you have a title too! When faculty address someone enrolled in our school it is Apprentice <Your name right here>. Words have power and a title is a powerful thing, use your wisely and you may just make it to journeymanship.
Faculty at the Grey School of Wizardry do not give out spells to Apprentices, other than those included in regular class materials. Thus the question “Would it be ethical for me to cast a spell to do X?” would be okay (in a class on ethics, spell casting, or topic X) but “Will you cast/support a spell in X for me?” would not.
The Grey School is dedicated to the teaching of Wizardry--not to the espousal or promulgation of any particular faith. The Administration and Faculty are absolutely united and adamant in our desire to maintain this as a for Wizardly Apprentices and practitioners of any faith (or none at all). Each of us may personally embrace any of a number of faiths, but it is not our goal or intention to proselytize or promote any of these within the context of the Grey School. Indeed, we are very proud and protective of the religious diversity to be found amongst us, and amongst our Apprentices, and our teachings attempt to be inclusive and honoring of many paths.
A Wizard is not a Priest or representative of any church or religion, but an adept in the realms of magick, arcane lore, mysticism, philosophy, and knowledge in a wide variety of areas.
Wizards were the first scientists—science means “knowledge,” and wizardry means “wisdom.” Some of the most prominent scientists (like Thomas Edison) are referred as “Wizards” in their biographies, and many computer programmers call themselves “Wizards.” In fact, the main difference between a Wizard and a scientist even today is that most Wizards don’t work in institutional laboratories, and don’t get paid by government or corporate grants!
“Wizard” is a profession, like teacher, doctor or lawyer. And just like a scientist or a teacher, a Wizard can be whatever religion she/he chooses (or none at all!). Throughout history, Wizards have existed and functioned perfectly well within whatever religious structure was around at the time. There have been (and are) very renowned Jewish Wizards (King Solomon was said to be the greatest of all!), Christian Wizards, Moslem Wizards, Zoroastrian Wizards, Buddhist Wizards, Hindu Wizards, Taoist Wizards, etc!
The Grey School teaches Wizardry as a matter of art and science, philosophy and lifestyle—not as a religion. We do not offer classes on how to join or practice specific religions; such education is readily available elsewhere, and beyond the scope of our School. However, we do offer some classes on comparative religions, mythology, history, and the mystic traditions and ceremonies of various religions as those topics relate to Wizardry. In classes where spiritual matters are mentioned tangentially to other topics, we encourage teachers to draw their examples from multiple religions.
While some religions (and different sects may vary within a religion) are more accepting of magick than others, the Grey School is open to faculty and Apprentices of any faith or no faith.
We do our best to avoid favoritism in class coverage—a challenging prospect since some traditions offer more magical materials than others—and to treat diverse faiths with dignity. We expect Grey School members to respect each other’s religious choices and deal courteously with individuals and ideas of different affiliation than their own.
I. Definition of Hazing
Hazing is defined as the imposition of hazardous, belittling, or humiliating rituals as a part of gaining entrance into or acceptance by a group.
II. The Grey School's Position on Hazing
In the GSW, we want our Apprentices to feel safe, first and foremost. As an education institution that takes itself seriously, and as an organization with tax exempt status in the U.S., we must make every effort to conduct ourselves professionally, as befitting a school. This includes not creating situations that could fit the definition of hazing, as this could have profound legal consequences.
Within the United States and throughout the world, "hazing" has an extremely negative history, and is now widely decried by most social groups. The GSW does not wish to be associated with the idea of hazing in any way.
III. Guidelines for Preventing Hazing
In all in-person GSW activities (gatherings, Conclaves, moots, internships, etc.), avoid situations in which Apprentices are blindfolded without their consent, led to a secret location without their consent, or exposed to any sort of potentially hazardous or humiliating actions (e.g., "paddling," even if only symbolic).
In all in-person GSW activities, Apprentices should feel that they are fully prepared for all activities and situations, should understand what will happen, and should give an "informed consent" re: their participation.
If any group uses an in-person activity to carry out a ritual that involves only specific members and takes place away from the main group, the details must be shared (before the activity) with the Wizard in Charge.
If possible, consider approaching "membership rituals" via an initiation, rather than through anything that could be even loosely construed as hazing.