College of William and Mary students voted by a margin of more than two-to-one Wednesday to defeat a measure that would have altered the College’s Honor Code.
A total of 1,927 voted against the referendum and 842 voted in favor. Students failed to approve the controversial changes that, among other things, would have allowed the Honor Council’s Council of Chairs to amend procedural parts of the Honor Code without a student-wide referendum.
“Clearly students have taken an active role in what is their Honor Code,” the Council of Chairs, Matt Dinan ’09, said in a prepared statement. “The Council of Chairs hopes that the College community will remain active and bring forward constructive ideas to the Honor Council Chairs of their respective schools, so that the concerns and ideas from the student body can be incorporated into any new draft for any future attempt at revisions to the Code.”
Several Honor Council members declined to comment on the election outcome but stood by the Council’s earlier statement.
The official turnout for the election was 2,769 voters. Wednesday’s vote total more than doubled the turnout of last springs’s Honor Council election, and was the highest total in at least the past four years.
“The turnout was amazing,” Dinan said. “I hope in years to come we can repeat that really high turnout.”
Election Committee chair Will Eaton ’09 said the high turnout was partially due to the Honor Council’s use of the Opinio system to conduct the election.
“I think the biggest difference was the voting system,” Eaton said. “Students were sent a link with a password embedded in it so they didn’t have to log in. That made it very easy to vote.”
The election was originally scheduled for Monday, but technical difficulties forced its postponement until Wednesday. Errors in the ballot’s coding on Monday prevented some students from casting their votes and allowed individuals unauthorized access to the ballot itself.
Eaton said the delay might actually have increased turnout.
“Turnout exceeded our expectations, so, if anything, it gained publicity from the problems,” Eaton said.
The Honor Council hopes to build on the election’s high turnout and have election participation consistently between 1,500 and 2,000 students.
While Opinio eventually worked to expectations, the Honor Council has not ruled out using a different system in future elections.
“[Student Information Network] could be great if it was updated,” Eaton said. “If we upgrade SIN we would consider using that.”
In addition to voting on the Honor Code referendum, students elected 24 members to the Honor Council.
Dinan said the new members will be welcome additions to the Honor Council.
“I’m sure they’ll be very good,” Dinan said. “I’m looking forward to meeting them all. They have my full confidence.”
__Below is the list of those elected to the Honor Council. Eight representatives from each of the rising senior, junior and sophomore classes were elected.__
Class of 2010:
Class of 2011:
Justin de Benedictis-Kessner
Class of 2012:
fn1. __This sentence has been corrected. It mistakenly referenced the previous Honor Council election, which took place last spring, not last fall as it previously stated.__
fn2. __This sentence has been corrected. Due to to an editing error it erroneously identified the Honor Council as having 23 members. The Honor Council has 24.__