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The Blue & Gray Press | August 24, 2019

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BOV votes on changes in honor council rules


The Board of Visitors (BOV) at the University of Mary Washington approved seven of the nine items proposed as revisions to the Fredericksburg and Stafford campus honor constitutions and handbooks this past weekend.

The proposal submitted to the BOV by Fredericksburg and Stafford campus honor council requested to replace the retroactive suspension policy “with a more traditional suspension process.”

The new policy states suspension will begin “at the start of the semester following sanctioning,” unless the honor council chooses to enact immediate suspension.

“In the event an immediate suspension is imposed after the drop period, students who receive this sanction will receive a ‘W’ for withdraw in the courses for the current semester in which the suspension begins,” according to the new policy’s language.

The Honor Council is also able to enforce “loss of credit to the course in which the violation occurred.”

The former suspension policy stated suspension involved “the loss of all academic credit for the semester in which the violation occurred.”

The revisions also clarify actions taken after a student is accused of two honor violations within a short period of time, according to proposal shown at the BOV meeting.

“We saw it as a pretty harsh sanction so we wanted to come up with an alternate sanction,” said Honor Council President Alice O’Brien

The proposal states that in the event a student is accused of a second honor violation before the Council hears the first, “then the first violation to be scheduled for a hearing will be resolved completely before the other accusation is heard.”

An additional revision was approved that stated, “the Stafford campus guidebook is changed to match the same section in the Fredericksburg campus guidebook,” involving the proceedings if an “accused elects to discontinue enrollment.”

A suggested revision to both the Fredericksburg and Stafford campuses was to split theft cases in half. Cases of theft in a social context would go to the judicial review board, while cases including theft in an academic context would go to the honor council.

Students voted in favor of these items, but while working through the details with students and leadership, the members believed it was not the best decision.

“[We] felt like it wasn’t the right call, we felt like it was a mistake” said Doug Searcy, vice president for student affairs.

Searcy proposed that the BOV not vote on this the honor council change. He recommended that the board revisit the motion in a year after more thought is put into how the separate systems could best function.

“All the theft should come to the honor council because it involves a violation of the honor code,” said O’Brien.