February 18, 2011
The Honor Council, as per tradition, recently released its cases for the last semester, including the final verdicts of each case. As always, the Council’s willingness to release its results is heartening. Honor council transparency (or the lack thereof) has become somewhat of a slogan in recent years, but its willingness to admit that some cases are overturned on appeal — two last semester — is a promising reaffirmation of the Council’s commitment to transparency.
That being said, other measures are necessary. There’s a reason a body with such substantial power — created to deal with cases that by definition fall into ethical gray areas — should be as open about its processes as possible. Just because the ideals the Honor Council enforces can be nebulous does not mean its operation need be equally obfuscated.
For one, the lack of open campaigning by Honor Council members continues to ensure the council remains calcified, unable to truly reform. Furthermore, the appeals process must be reassessed — appealing a case to the same body, albeit with vague oversight ceded to the assistant deans of students, isn’t a true appeal. Some variety, of an independent appeals panel is needed.
For some, repeating these demands might sound like beating a dead horse, but we refuse to content ourselves with an occasional show of Honor Council transparency. Releasing case results is a reassuring gesture, but it cannot take the place of actual reform.