Honor Council continues revising Honor Code

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September 20, 2011

2:39 AM

The Honors System Review Committee discussed changes to the current College of William and Mary Honor Code at its second meeting of the semester Sept. 17. The committee will continue to meet throughout the semester, dissecting the code and deciding what changes should be proposed to College President Taylor Reveley.

“The charge of the committee is to provide recommendations to the president on how the Honor Code should be changed, if at all,” Undersecretary for Student Rights and committee member Zann Isacson ’13 said. “[The code] governs what we prioritize and how we treat each other. Changes to this code will definitely affect the culture of our school to some degree or another.”

The committee, composed of students, administrators and professors, met last semester to discuss the Honor Code but did not finish all proposed changes before summer break. Its goals for this semester are to finish discussing the code, propose changes for public discussion, and propose changes to Reveley by the end of the semester with campus-wide input.

“We will finish our first run through, our detailed examination of the code and all of the proposals we have received for modification of the code,” review committee head and professor Clay Clemens said. “After that we are going to move to a summary of the proposed changes, and a draft of the report will be made open for public discussion.”

The Honor Code has not been reviewed since 1997. Periodically throughout the history of the College, the code is reviewed to make sure it is still working effectively.

“It’s been a while and a lot has changed since the code was last reviewed,” Chairman of the Student Assembly Senate and committee member Noah ’13 said. “As far as violating the Honor Code, issues have come up and presented themselves since then and we are trying to address all of these things.”

The committee plans to finish discussing the code by fall break and then submit a document for public discussion. After the committee submits a proposal to the campus and gets feedback, it will submit a formal proposal to Reveley.

“Then we will take that feedback throughout the course of the semester, and hopefully, by the end of the semester, we will agree on our proposal to the president,” Clemens said.

While the committee has not officially decided what method it will use to get feedback from the public on its proposal, the goal is to start a conversation in the campus community.

“We will solicit feedback and then at some point have some public session where we discuss what is in there,” Clemens said.

As of the last meeting, the committee made it through eight sections of the Honor Code, which leaves one final section to review. Although the process is taking longer than planned, the committee is paying careful attention to all parts of the code.

“I am disappointed at the slow rate that the committee has gone through, but on the other hand I appreciate the amount of discussion and discourse from the committee,” Isacson said.

As the committee picked up where it left off last semester, three new student members were added.

“The committee is half students and half faculty and administration,” Clemens said. “We do have new members because several students graduated.”

Isacson reminded students that these meetings are open to the public.

“All students are welcome, and I believe it is in everyone’s best interest to know as much as possible about these debates and committee meetings,” he said.

Clemens agrees the time for public input and involvement will be soon.

“For those that haven’t been paying attention, it’s time to start paying attention, and we definitely will propose some changes,” Clemens said. “It has potentially an impact on all of the students. It should generate some discussion at the very least.”

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