Reviewing the Honor Code

How many clauses does the Honor Code have? What are they? Take a minute and think about it.

It turns out that only a small number of students really knows them all, as we found out last spring when a majority of the student body voted to append the Sunset Clause to the Honor Code, which states that unless the student body ratifies a new Honor Code, it will be abolished and OSL policies will be instated in its place. This amendment was intended to serve as a motivator to the college at large to start thinking about whether or not the Honor Code still reflects the values of current classes. This is not to say that something is wrong with it. The intention is to figure out how to encourage the student body to feel ownership of the Honor Code.

Earlier this year, Lillian Tseng (‘13), Oren Zadik (‘14), Chris Joyce (‘15), and Victoria Preston (‘16) were appointed to spearhead the effort to review the Honor Code. We then met and agreed that we would not change the Honor Code just for the sake of changing it. We would instead aim to primarily foster discussion of the clauses and raise awareness of the Honor Code in general. If it comes to our attention that certain clauses of the Honor Code needed to be modified or rewritten, then we would involve the entire college in the process.

There is no way that four committee members will be able to speak for all 384 of you, but we certainly want to hear from all of you. This will require us to be a little creative, of, but we plan to reach out to you. We’ve already co-hosted an event with OPEN and had a kickoff party to gather community feedback. We hope to host many more events and co-host with clubs and organizations that appeal to different groups of people.

In the meantime, these are questions that are on our mind now that we’d like you to consider:
We want the Honor Code to reflect the values of the Olin community at large, but for legal and logistical reasons, faculty and staff cannot be bound by the Honor Code. Although they were consulted when the Code was first written, they hold no decision-making position on the Honor Board now. What can we do to both raise awareness of the Code among faculty and staff and change it to be equally relevant to every member of Olin community?

How can we improve the way we communicate with each other? Many past honor board cases have arisen as a result of poor communication. We live in such a small community and collaborate on so many projects that good communication skills should be the norm, but this is often not the case. Should the Honor Code include a clause about being proactive with communication?

The Do Something clause has always been the odd one. What does it really mean? How do you interpret it? Does it work as a stand-alone clause or should it be incorporated into the subtext of the other clauses?

These are only a small subset of all the issues facing us as a community right now. You should sign up to the discussion list, to make your opinions heard or even just yo be informed. If you are a club president and want to co-host an event with us, feel free to contact any of the committee members.

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