Note: To kick off this year’s review of the Honor Code, two lectures were held this week by Dr. Tricia Bertram Gallant, Academic Integrity Coordinator at the University of California at San Diego.
As the Honor Code turns 60, Monday’s lecture “60 Years and Beyond” was held with an eye toward revising the code, which is undergoing review.
The lecture, the first of two given by Dr. Tricia Bertram Gallant, the Academic Integrity Coordinator at the University of California at San Diego, was attended by about 35 students, faculty and staff (some of whom also sit on the Honor Board). It was designed to be a discussion to start the Honor Code review, with Gallant as the mediator.
Gallant started by giving some background, including national statistics on cheating and numbers from a survey administered to this year’s Freshman Preceptorial students.
Gallant said she would refrain from making recommendations for changing the code. But she did make one exception, arguing strongly against the use of punitive language that would be found in a court of law, namely “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“You shouldn’t have standard,” Gallant said. “It’s not a standard that colleges and universities use. It’s way above what’s expected and necessary, and my advice is that the first thing you want to do is to start looking through the code and striking out anything resembling a court of law.”
She said language like that is not conducive to learning and sounding like a court of law would lead actual courts to treat the Honor Board as such, therefore raising the standards.
“So unless you have lawyers in the process making sure it’s being run like a court of law, you want to get rid of that stuff,” Gallant said.
But she said that is her only strong recommendation, and the rest of the changes to the code should be determined by the campus culture.
Following are some other concerns raised by members of the audience during the lecture.
According to Instructor of Journalism and Anthropology/Sociology David Amor, there is some cultural pushback against the idea that students should be “self-policing” in terms of the code and reporting violations.
Amor also asserted that plagiarism is a more complex issue than simple cheating when it comes to looking at intent to cheat versus ignorance.
“In my experience, ignorance is the overwhelming reason why people make citation errors,” Amor said.
Associate Dean of the College Lori Haslem said faculty grapples with making a distinction between when violations can be used in class as a teachable moment and when they should be reported as violations.
Senior Honor Board member Michael Kaminski brought up the code’s instruction to cite when in doubt, and he posed the question, “What constitutes my own idea?”
Director of the Library Jeff Douglas proposed that the faculty consider the issue of the Honor Code as it relates to assessment.