Campus / News / May 13, 2014

Two new Honor Code amendments approved

Two new amendments to the Honor Code are set to go into effect that would give the Honor Board greater flexibility in deciding punishments and create an alternate method of dealing with academic dishonesty that would avoid a full Honor Board hearing for less serious offenses.

These amendments are based on the recommendations of the Honor Code Review Committee and were recently approved by the Academic Standing Committee before going to Student Senate and the Honor Board, both of which also voted to approve the amendments. They are the third of three waves of amendments that have been proposed and mostly approved to update the Honor Code.

Traditional violations such as plagiarism and cheating on exams will still be dealt with by a full Honor Board hearing, but certain lesser offenses can now be handled with “informal resolutions.”

Informal resolutions will take place at the request of the faculty member and will take place between a co-chair of the Honor Board, the faculty member and the student. They will only be allowed for a student’s first offense and if the student is willing to plead guilty.

The student will have the right to request a full Board hearing at any time before the process is complete.

This has several goals, including increasing faculty agency in the process, creating an incentive for respondents to admit their mistake and to decrease the burden on the Honor Board.

Many schools similar to Knox are moving toward informal resolutions. With a campus of this size, resolving the issue between faculty and student allows for a better relationship, as the student is likely to come into contact with and be taught by the faculty member again.

The latter amendment gives the Honor Board greater freedom in their rulings. As the system currently stands, a first time offender is given an “F” in the course and a second time results in expulsion from the college. This change would broaden the options for Honor Board depending on the severity of the offense.

This more flexible model allows students who commit less grievous infractions to be given lesser penalties. For example, a student who copied a lab report may be penalized with zero credit on all lab reports and not automatically fail the course as current procedure suggests.

Tags:  academic honesty academic standing amendment honor board honor code Student Senate

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Callie Rouse
Callie Rouse is a sophomore interested in international relations and creative writing. She has been involved in journalism since her sophomore year of high school, this is her second year working for The Knox Student. During her first year working for TKS Callie served as Student Government Reporter.

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May 13, 2014

To be clear, there are already a plethora of penalty options available to the Board. Assigning something other than the standard penalty of an F in the course is called deviating. The problem is that the Honor Code lists the grounds for deviation as “unusually grave extenuating circumstances,” which is not defined. Consequently, every iteration of the Board defines the term a little bit differently. This is problematic.

So I’m just curious if that phrasing has either been changed or concretely clarified. Because otherwise, the issue hasn’t been resolved.

May 14, 2014

I agree; we should be clarifying language, certainly not reducing penalties or stigma on cheating. You straight-up copied a lab report? I hope that’s simply a journalist’s example. That is pretty serious, and should result in the standard penalties for serious offenses. Sound scary? Well it should. One could argue that there is a world of difference between accidentally citing something wrong and straight-up copying, well, anything. The latter is definitely, unequivocally the sort of offense people should be forever removed from Knox the second time around, and changing that or reducing the penalties in any way would be a slap to the faces to decades of Knox grads.

May 18, 2014

This article, and its lack of details, raises more questions than it answers. Anna and Johnathan have made some great points, and I have much to say on this subject as well. I wish this article had the whole story.

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