Columns / Discourse / April 5, 2017

Honor Board is a necessary part of academic life

We come to college knowing that we are going to grow intellectually. However for many, it takes some time to realize how much of our learning resides outside of a classroom. This learning is much more personal than any peer or professor could teach. Serving on the Honor Board has taught me how lucky Knox students are to study in a safe environment where they are able to develop intellectual curiosity while simultaneously instilling integrity and respect for their work and the work of others. College is a perfect opportunity to put in honest, hard work and get immediate rewards.

Since it was founded nearly 70 years ago, Knox’s Honor System has played a vital role in our institution. Whether students realize it or not, the “Honor Code” is present in their everyday lives. Students abide by the code by being honest friends, maintaining a positive work ethic and sense of integrity within the classroom, by not cutting people in the stir fry line in the Caf and, obviously, individually completing school work and giving credit where credit is needed.

It has come to the Honor Board and Academic Standing Committee’s attention that many students and faculty do not understand the full purpose of the Honor Code, and further, the purpose of the Honor Board. Understandably, coming to the Board for a case of alleged academic dishonesty is intimidating. However, it is also a necessary and fair process. I believe I speak on behalf of the members of the Board when I say that we serve to teach students the importance of integrity in an academic environment before they enter the “real world,” where consequences are much more drastic.

As many know, the Code has undergone several changes over the past few years, and we have worked hard to deviate from the Code’s traditional three-strike system. Depending on the egregiousness of the case, a student may be brought through an informal or formal resolution. From there, a variety of penalties may ensue depending on the severity of the academic dishonesty, number of times a student has been brought to the board, and if the student would benefit from campus services like the CTL or Library Reference desk. The current Board works hard to implement both a punitive and rehabilitative function, so that students learn from cases of academic dishonesty and are less likely to come before the Board again.

I know my fellow Board members are working hard to dissolve the fear that students and faculty have toward the Board. We are willing to work with professors and students to make sure the Honor Code upholds Knox’s growing expectations of academic integrity, and continues to ensure that our community values the unique privilege that the Honor Code gives its students.

From here on out, I hope that students and faculty will not fear or distrust the Board, but instead use it as a resource. Board Members are resources to clear any grey areas in terms of what is considered academic dishonesty, and serve as a support system to teach students that receiving a bad grade on honest work is better than the consequences that result from academic dishonesty.

Bonne Matheson

Tags:  column discourse honor board honor code opinion

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