For the first time since our Honor system’s inception in 1842, we students have voted to transform our system from single-sanction to multi-sanction, in which sanctions for committing an Honor offense will reflect the severity of the offense and the circumstance of the guilty student in question.
The past years have been a tumultuous time for the Community of Trust. The ideals that are supposed to bind us together - honor, integrity, and respect - were undermined by our isolation from each other, the seemingly growing distrust in each other’s integrity as cheating became more frequent in a virtual setting, and the systemic problems of the institution that was supposed to uphold the Community of Trust. While previous Honor Commitees did their best to right the ship and maintain the course, last year’s historic referendum was 180 years in the making. In an embrace of student self-governance and care for this community, you modified Honor’s single sanction for expulsion to a two-semester leave of absence.
Yet, as your voices indicated in interviews, articles, and conversations following the referenda, this was only another step in Honor's evolution. There was still much to be done to address the history and philosophy of Honor. We had not yet built a system that prioritized amends to the Community of Trust, acknowledges that cases have different levels of significance, and ensures equitable processes. Consequently, on September 12, 2022, the Honor Committee announced its plans to hold a Constitutional Convention and draft a new, multi-sanction Constitution with stakeholders from across Grounds. The successful Constitutional Referendum reflects this collaborative and seminal project.
Read the full text of the Constitutional Referendum here. Read the Committee's editorial here.
Summary of changes:
- Clarification of the powers of the Honor Committee
- Introduction of the ability to administer a spectrum of appropriate sanctions, including but not limited to: amends, education, and temporary and permanent removal from student status
- Change of Records Policy to comply with new state law
- An increase in the number of SEAS representatives by one seat
- An increase in the number of Vice Chairs; the new seats will create a Vice Chair for the Treasury and a Vice Chair for Sanctions
- Adding the ability for internal officer elections before the term begins
- Introduction of impeachment for Honor Committee Representatives
- Formal recognition of the Code of Ethics
- A change from three-panel types to a mixed panel with a random student majority
- An increase in the number of panelists that must be from the accused student’s school
- A new right to be informed of the vote on guilt before having to argue for Sanction
- A new right to be informed of the Counsel for the Community’s recommended sanctions ahead of the argument
- A new right for guilty students to recommend their own sanction
- A new right to be advised in writing of the decision and reasoning of the Panel for Sanction
- A new right to appeal both the decisions on guilt and sanction
- A change in the voting threshold for Act and Knowledge to three-fourths
- A clarification that Act, Knowledge, and Significance should be voted on separately
- A new rule that four-fifths of the Panel for Sanction must agree on the Sanction
- A new rule regarding what the Panel for Sanction may consider in deciding the sanction
- The introduction of a check by the random student panelists on the Panel for Sanction
- A change in record keeping to stay in line with state law
- A change to allow students taking an Informed Retraction to argue for their own sanction, rather than having a mandatory two-semester leave of absence
- A guarantee that students taking the informed retraction cannot be expelled
- Language clarification
- A change from Honor’s Popular Assembly to an annual event
- The Constitution will take effect July 1, 2023