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The Blue & Gray Press | August 24, 2019

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Honor Council plans amendment for its policies

Honor Council plans amendment for its policies


University of Mary Washington’s Honor Council looks to amend the entire honor code after an honor council congregation earlier this week. The Eagle assembly plans to restructure the entire honor system in order to benefit both the honor council and the student body by making decisions and disciplinary actions more straightforward.

Honor Council President and senior Diana Inthavong said that the changes to the honor code will be similar to the honor code at another college in Virginia, the College of William and Mary.

“We would like to change the honor system completely and move forward with a system that is similar to William and Mary’s.” Inthavong said. “It is a system/ methodology that we feel the student body and faculty would enjoy much more, as opposed to the current honor code.”

According to William and Mary’s official website, their system works as a tiered system where for smaller violations, such as cheating on a quiz but admitting to it, an accused student could work something out with their professor under the discretion of an honor council member, such as community service or completing the school’s honor education course.

For a larger violation like cheating on a final exam or in cases where a student pleads “not responsible,” then those cases would come to the honor council and still have a regular hearing like the UMW Honor Council currently does.

The previous Honor Council President Catherine Purtell began some of the revisions, according to Inthavong, but it is “an extensive and thorough process.” On the current process of the new honor system, Inthavong said  “The process is developing at a consistent pace, I am doing my best in order to have this new system arrive for the university as soon as possible.”

The senior treasurer of the Honor Council Carter Nordike spoke on some of the difficulties the Honor Council faces with Mary Washington’s Constitution, and said that it has caused complications in addressing hearings.

“Basically, as the year goes on, we find ourselves limited in different ways by the Constitution in regards to how we wish to handle hearings, so we want to try to restructure it in a way that it makes it the most efficient and fair model possible,” Nordike said.

Nordike later elaborated on why the Honor Council is taking such actions, saying “Ideally, we want to cut down the stress on everyone involved while also being fair on procedure and sanctions.” Lastly, Nordike described the honor council’s relationship with the Constitution and the way it is structured.

“We are not frustrated with the Constitution at all. However, there is always a couple hearings that are a bit tougher than the others due to the way the Constitution wants us to handle that particular situation.”

Nordike also relayed that more information will be available to the student body and faculty after the honor council’s upcoming retreat on Feb. 21.

This retreat will give the council members a chance to pinpoint certain areas the congregation has yet to attack in a distraction-free zone.

“I really think it is a positive,” said freshman cross country member Calhoun Stirling. “It is good to know the honor council is not blowing things off in order to get through the academic year you know, especially the seniors. Although it sounds like a lot of work, as a student, it is good to know the honor council truly cares about its student body.”

Most of the student body seems to be quite fond of the notion of drafting a new honor constitution, due to the fact that it shows that the honor council cares about who it represents.

“I feel it is a good thing,” said freshman Elizabeth O’Meara. “I mean, it is good to know they care about us, right? Plus, making Mary Washington a better place is hard enough.”

Inthavong and Nordike both displayed great confidence throughout the interviews, thus expressing that the honor council has a definite plan in mind and as Inthavong stated, a plan they have already acted on.

More information will become available Feb. 21, after the council’s retreat, to find out the status of the current University of Mary Washington honor code system.