Honor code needs to carry weight

Disciplinary processes must remain transparent under a student honor code.

Student Government is coordinating with university officials to institute a student honor code that would be separate from the Student Code of Conduct, which governs most aspects of student behavior. The new honor code would deal with academic honesty.

Such a code would be developed and reviewed by some representatives of the student body, as reported in “Honor code may rule academics” on page 2.

While attempting to add more student input to the regulation process is noble, both TSG and the university need to ensure that any honor code system would be created with the greatest possible transparency to the student body.

The Student Code of Conduct system currently in place is too broad in its definitions of purely academic rules and regulations, inclusing those regarding offenses such as plagiarism and cheating.

As written, the Student Code of Conduct also offers little in the way of a clear system of punishment for violations. While it outlines the disciplinary process and the hearing system, the actual punishments that can be handed down by the university are largely up to the discretion of those deciding upon each individual case.

The first order of business for an honor code would be to spell out clear definitions of terms like plagiarism, as agreed upon by both members of the faculty and student representatives. Then, to avoid the ambiguity that muddles the SCC system, violations must be investigated in an approved manner with possible sanctions spelled out beforehand, instead of left to the discretion of a disciplinary body that acts out of the public’s sight.

Student Body President Darin Bartholomew said that Temple’s honor code would likely be similar to that of the University of Pennsylvania’s, in which the rules are decided upon by students but upheld by the university. In any case, the honor code must be clear, consice and easily accessible to students.

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