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Eleven new students have been selected to serve on the College’s Honor Council next year, at a time when the adjudicating body has deliberately decreased its public presence.
The Honor Council—the College’s first student-faculty disciplinary board that hears cheating cases—debuted last semester with pomp, matching t-shirts, and a Facebook campaign. Last spring’s inaugural application process had its own poster marketing campaign. However, this time, selection of new members has taken on a much quieter tone.
According to Brett Flehinger, Honor Council Secretary and Associate Dean for Academic Integrity and Student Conduct, the shift is meant to ensure that individual members obtain the necessary training prior to seeking public attention, especially in the board’s nascent stages.
The newest student appointees to the Honor Council have already begun training as they prepare to join the current undergraduates who will remain on the Council. Flehinger said the Council has spent large part of the current year focusing on a “brand new process” and that once the Honor Council begins to function with greater ease, it will shift focus back to publicity.
“It's taken a lot of energy, a lot of focus, and we’ve been very conservative in wanting to make sure that that’s where we put the bulk of our attention,” Flehinger said. “In the future, as that becomes something that is second nature, we can start to reach out and connect with the community, and start involving the community and engaging on a more public level.”
Nathaniel R.F. Bernstein ’17, a veteran Honor Council member, wrote in an email that the body also hopes to build an institutional memory between the current and upcoming academic years.
Following the massive 2012 Government 1310 cheating scandal, administrators have emphasized campus-wide discussions about the importance of academic integrity. The Honor Council and its attached set of policies— the honor code—emerged on campus with vitality.
In addition to their matching attire and Facebook page, Honor Council members have taken a public role in advertising the Council’s work in the hopes of spurring a “culture change." They also attended orientation events, course lectures, and dining halls last semester to speak with students about academic honesty and integrity.
Though the Council has not widely broadcasted its membership transition, new members remain enthusiastic and optimistic about what their tenure on the Honor Council will hold.
“I feel very fortunate and honored, and I’m very excited to see what we will do,” Angela Yi ’19, one of the Council’s new Student Academic Integrity Fellows—who serve as liaisons to students navigating the Honor Council process—said.
Bernstein echoed Yi’s optimism and said he is “really enjoying getting to know the new Honor Council members.”
New members will officially join the Honor Council at the start of the 2016-2017 academic year.
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