Honor Cmte. clarifies process

Every semester, each student receives a summary of recent Honor Code hearings. These summaries serve to both inform the campus about the activities of the Honor Committee, as well as to remind us of the Honor Code’s relevance and importance. However, in recent years this has become the only contact we, as the committee, have had with the campus, and we feel that this is a major problem.

The Honor Code must be alive in order to work. It is more than a collection of lines and regulations; it is a reflection of what we understand ourselves to be, namely, students responsible for the integrity of the academic community in which we reside. It is a promise made by and between students, and so its meaning and significance depend on how personally invested we are in it. We must ask whether the Code, as it is understood and applied today, lives up to its original intent of facilitating the “free exchange of ideas.” We must clarify what the promise entails, must reaffirm the importance of such a promise to each other, must challenge and critique the activities relating to the Honor Code. We believe there is room for improvement, and hope to work towards that end.

In the next few months, the Honor Committee will be making efforts to address these questions with the campus. We will describe the process that cases go through, offer office hours, and provide a short-hand guide to citation guidelines. We will be visiting entries, and discussing with various minority groups about raising interest in participation by under-represented groups in the Honor Committee. Most importantly, we hope to induce a spirit of open discussion, a reaffirmation of the importance of the Honor Code, and a hope to achieve the type of open academic community the Honor Code was intended to foster.

If you have any ideas, questions, or comments relating to the Honor Code, please e-mail them to honor@wso.williams.edu.

The Honor Committee