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Haverford Winter 2013 : Page 40

Honor Bound “While I was at Haverford, women moved unpopularity of the confrontation policy, and Acting President Gerhard Spiegler had no choice into the dorms and became a much larger pres-but to suspend the Code. And just this spring, ence on campus,” says Paul Haagen ’72 , a for-the ratification didn’t earn enough votes to reach mer co-chair of Honor Council. “It was my a quorum; a Special Plenary is being called for sense then, and since, that the Code made that change much more natural and organic than late March to discuss the Code and try to ratify it was at other schools going through the same it again. But what matters is student investment. transition. Haverford also weathered the Fords care so much about their Honor Code Vietnam protests better than most other schools. that many of them are currently busy proposing The Code definitely helped.” language changes in advance of the upcoming The administration of the Code has changed Special Plenary, striving to be better, not just for themselves, but also for the strength of the cam-over the years, too. In the beginning, the faculty Haverford’s Honor pus community. had to approve each year’s System, but the Code was originally “I would say that the academic code is more administration of the System was left up to the called The Honor System. successful than the social code, given that the students. The Class of 1905 proposed a “com-mittee of five,” who were charged with dealing with infractions, social code is more open to personal interpretation and deals and, in 1925, jurisdiction over the System was given to Students’ with murkier issues,” says Monahan. “There are many situations Council. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that Students’ Council where confrontation can be a lot more difficult than simply appointed an Honor System Committee to deal with violators; asking someone to turn their music down.” “There are a lot of different ways to measure the success of this would eventually separate from Students’ Council in 1968 Haverford’s Honor Code, and in my opinion it passes all the and become the Honor Council we know today. “I started the practice of posting short summaries of the [trial] tests,” says Flug. “Academically, I think the Honor Code creates decisions in hopes that we might create a body of precedents a noncompetitive environment of driven students motivated and shared understanding and expectations,” says Haagen, now by their own capabilities and ideas. Socially, the Honor Code a professor of law at Duke University. “The summaries omitted gives us a language and vocabulary for a common set of values that we all share and exhibit every day.” names and gave only very limited factual detail.” The Code guarantees that once students graduate from The Honor Code is still not perfect; it’s a work in progress. There have been crises of confidence in it and years when it Haverford they’ve learned more than just French or physics or didn’t pass on first attempt at plenary (either for procedural philosophy. They’ve learned responsibility and citizenship and reasons or for actual concerns with the Code). In 1973, for exam-how being a trustworthy, concerned and respectful community ple, students couldn’t reach a quorum, partly because of the member makes every community stronger. “I cannot imagine life at Haverford without the Honor Code,” says Erin Heward Thurston ’98 . “Its tenets of trust, concern and respect go to the heart of how the academic and social community are organized and make The Center for Academic Integrity’s director , Teddi Fishman, estimates that there Haverford the wonderful, special place are hundreds of honor codes in American higher education. Schools from the all-male that it is. It affects everything! We left Hampden-Sydney College to the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin to service our backpacks in the DC lobby. We academies like West Point have some sort of code in effect on their campuses. Haverford’s, decided when, and often where, we however, is remarkable for its age, its breadth and its student governance; few American took our exams. It was fine to drink institutions have codes that are older, guide social behaviors and are completely student run. or not to drink. And we all looked out The College of William and Mary, for example, has had an honor code since 1779, when for each other. We were a community, it was created at the urging of then Virginia Gov. Thomas Jefferson, but it only governs not just a student body.” HONORABLE MENTIONS academic matters. Princeton University’s student-run honor code, which only covers in-class examinations, dates back to 1893. Bowdoin College has two codes, a social code and an academic one, both overseen by its deans’ office. And religious institutions like Brigham Young University have codes that focus on the social aspect of campus life, regulating behavior very specifically (such as prohibiting facial hair and coffee and commanding students to live “a chaste and virtuous life”). More similar to Haverford’s Honor Code are the codes at Davidson College, which governs both social and academic affairs and where infractions are judged by a student honor council, and the University of Virginia, whose student-run Code of Honor, which dates back to 1842, covers acts of lying, cheating or stealing. AUTHOR’S NOTE: Much of the historical information about the Honor Code comes from the 1982 report Appendix II: An Historical Perspective on the Honor Code ; “Making the Best Possible Haverford Man,” the thesis of Katherine Sedgwick ’99; and William Ambler’s Haverford Honor System: The First 35 Years (1897-1931) . 40 HaverfordMagazine

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