Lesson Weekend

Your participation in Epicodus's DEI mission starts with making our classroom a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone. We ask that you respect these community agreements in all interactions at Epicodus.

Community Agreements


To ensure a safe and productive space in our classroom, we’ve created a set of community agreements adapted from Discussion Ground Rules (Iowa State University Library) and Ground Rules and Tools: Facilitating Productive Discussions (UCAR). Please read and review these agreements prior to each DEI discussion and workshop to better be in the right frame of mind for the discussions.

“We” going forward refers to Epicodus staff and students. The DEI discussions and workshops at Epicodus are intended to be a place for discussion of ideas and for learning about differing viewpoints, not for debate or lecture. There are no experts in DEI and we are here to listen to each other’s viewpoints. Heading into each session, it is important to understand that everyone sees and experiences the world differently, and what seems “right” in your experience may not be so in someone else’s. Everyone is asked to consider different perspectives, for the purpose of sensitivity, learning, and growth.

  1. Recognize: We recognize that historical and divisive biases, such as racism and sexism, have created inequity in our society. We recognize that these inequities are wrong and unfair, and that we must intentionally work to overcome them.

  2. Acknowledge: We acknowledge that we all systematically learn misinformation about our own group(s) and about members of other groups, and that this misinformation is the basis of our biases. This is true for everyone, regardless of our group(s).

  3. No Blame: We agree not to blame ourselves or others for the misinformation we have learned, but to accept responsibility for not repeating misinformation after we have learned otherwise.

  4. Trust: Everyone has come to Epicodus to learn, grow, and share. We acknowledge that we may be at different stages of learning depending on our different experiences. We will trust each other to do the best they can. We all make mistakes and have bad days; when these occur, we will challenge and encourage each other to do better.

  5. Respect: We agree to treat other participants' reflections and questions with respect. However, this does not mean we should ignore problematic statements. See the information below on calling in and calling out. Both approaches are valid and can be done with care and respect, with the goal of helping each other learn.

    1. Calling In: A Quick Guide on When and How
    2. Video - Call people out on their words/actions, rather than their intent
    3. I was wrong and I am sorry (When you are called out or called in)
    4. Video - Getting Called Out: How to Apologize
  6. Individual Experience: We agree that no one should be required or expected to speak for their whole race or gender. We can't, even if we wanted to.

  7. Share the Air: Share responsibility for including all voices in the discussion. If you have a tendency to dominate discussions, take a step back and help the group invite others to speak. If you tend to stay quiet, challenge yourself to share ideas so others can learn from you. Nobody is required to share their experiences and nobody is expected to educate others. We will not call on any individual or call for members of a specific group to speak up.

  8. Not Experts: Epicodus staff are not experts. They are here to help facilitate discussions. They and everyone in the group are here to learn.

  9. Ask for help: It's okay not to know. We are all still learning and are bound to make mistakes when approaching a complex task or exploring new ideas. We agree to be open to changing our minds and to making space for others to do so as well.

Do You Have an Addition for our Community Agreements?

As needed, we will modify these agreements as a group to meet the needs of the class.

If there is anything you feel is missing in our community agreements, please let us know. You can leave an anonymous suggestion for a new community agreement through the recurring survey that you complete along with your independent coding projects. In those surveys, there is a question that asks about your experience of the DEI curriculum and whether you have any additions for the community agreements.

There are other ways to give feedback, too, all of which we outline in the student handbook.

Lesson 4 of 17
Last updated December 24, 2021