The walls of academic building at the College of William and Mary got a face-lift over the past two weeks as signs bearing the Honor Pledge found homes on the walls of every classroom. After $7,500 was allocated to the project from the College’s Parents Fund, the Honor Council worked to hang up these “reminders” of the Pledge.
According to undergraduate Honor Council members Jacob Nelson ’18 and Ashley Witmer ’18, hanging these signs in every classroom has two purposes: acting as a reminder and a deterrent for students.
It’s mainly meant as a reminder to enforce that we are in a community of trust, the honor code is an important part of the school’s history,” Nelson said.
“It’s mainly meant as a reminder to enforce that we are in a community of trust, the honor code is an important part of the school’s history,” Nelson said. “We are the school with the first academic honor code, it has a place in our school’s buildings. Most professors include it on their syllabi, but there were no physical reminders of it in most buildings. A lot of schools that have honor codes, like the University of Virginia, have signs up in their classrooms. I think it’s a pretty common thing.”
The $7,500 allocated to hang up these signs came from the Parents Fund, which is a fund with a specific designation that donors can select. The majority of donors who select this fund are parents of current students, but parents, grandparents and relatives of graduates also have contributed money.
According to Senior Director for Family and Parent Giving Stacey Summerfield ’04, this fund is most often used for scholarships and student life initiatives at the College.
Roughly half of the fund supports the student life initiatives … the remainder is used for student scholarships, the highest priority of William & Mary’s For the Bold Campaign,” Summerfield said in an email.
“Roughly half of the fund supports the student life initiatives … the remainder is used for student scholarships, the highest priority of William & Mary’s For the Bold Campaign,” Summerfield said in an email.
During the 2016-2017 academic year, the Parents Fund has also been used to purchase a golf cart for the College’s audio/visual technicians, to fund a harm reduction programming for fraternities and sororities, to purchase a card reader for the Meridian Coffee House and to fund a mid-year student activities fair.
According to Summerfield, the Parents Fund has regularly been used to support Student Affairs initiatives, the Student Conduct Council and the Honor Council, because of their role in Student Affairs.
When a request for funding from the Parents Fund is made, Vice President of Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 and her staff have decision-making power.
While the signs were hung up in the last two to three weeks, Nelson said that there had been discussion prior to this semester. Some of these discussions caused a disagreement within Honor Council, which Nelson said he believes was caused by a miscommunication over when the signs were going to be hung up.
According to Nelson and Witmer, the Parents Fund financially supported the creation of the signs before the funding was allocated to install them in every classroom. When new buildings on campus, such as the Marshall-Wythe School of Law and Miller Hall in the Mason School of Business, were opened, Nelson said the College tried to install the signs then.
“There was confusion about whether or not, or when the signs were going to go up, we weren’t sure that the money from the Parents Fund was going to be allocated,” Nelson said. “My understanding of this was that the signs were purchased some ways before they were put up. They were both funded by the Parents Fund, but the installation was funded separately and some people were wondering about when the signs would go up.”