At long last: the first step toward Honor Council reform

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April 20, 2010

10:34 PM

During a meeting initially plagued with nervous laughter and procedural malfunction, Your Student Assembly unanimously passed the Funding of the Lips Zine Act, the Swem Finals Reauthorization Act and the Necessary Honor Council Reform Act.

The Lips Act allocates $145 from the consolidated reserve in to supplement funds previously raised to print this semester’s issue of the 34-page publication. I always appreciate drawings of wolves fellating each other.

The Swem Act allocates $3448 from the consolidated reserve in order to keep Swem open the evenings previous to any scheduled finals. I was in favor of this last semester and it is, without question, one of the best things the SA does all year. Unfortunately this turns the first floor of Swem into the most annoying slumber party imaginable, but on the whole it provides a valuable service to students.

The Honor Council Reform Act requests administration investigation into the supposed abuses of the organization, forms a standing reform committee made up of five senators and five Honor Council Members and, most importantly, withhold next year’s Honor Council budget allocation until reforms are made. In essence, the SA and the Honor Council have one year to collaborate on a reform effort that will hopefully include changes to the body’s election process, punishment options and create an independent group to provide oversight.

Personally, the mere existence of an honor code that is separate from the student conduct code seems unnecessary and downright feudal, but apparently most people on this campus believe that all integrity and order are forever hinged to 48 words that all students are made to say. Without them, this cherished institution would surely erupt into chaos.

With that said, the Honor Council isn’t going anywhere so making sure that students are not unnecessarily punished because of this College’s preposterous obsession with creeds is absolutely necessary. As this debate will certainly not be quick, I’m sure that it will receive substantial attention from this blog before next year’s budget is approved. The SA should be concerned with the following reforms:

1.) Honor Council members should either be able to campaign before elections or be a random selection of students that are individual to each case. Having hollow elections that are dominated by incumbents is unacceptable and creates a group of students that are beyond accountability and oversight.

2.) There must be clear guidelines regarding the appropriate punishments for offenses and students should be made aware of these punishments. The vagaries’ of the Honor Code (not to mention the student code of conduct) have allowed extreme sentences to be unquestioned.

3.) Regardless of students’ rights to privacy during these proceedings, some variety of case information must be made available to an independent oversight committee and the student body as a whole, in order to appropriately evaluate the Honor Council’s actions.

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