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On My Honor: EC’S Adjusted Honor Code

“We are investing in this community of integrity”- Dr. Lisa Boehm

At Emmanuel, cheating and plagiarism has been a recurring issue, particularly in the past few semesters. In order to retain Emmanuel’s integrity, as well as the students, the school updated the honor code. This has been instated to make sure students and faculty are more aware of what is going on.

“We had no major procedure before and we had students come in saying they were accused of cheating but with this new procedure it helps give the students more structure and a chance to defend themselves and report it,” explained Dean of Students Dr. Joseph Onofrietti.

Students should expect to see this honor statement on course syllabi and in the student handbook, as well as the Emmanuel website. Every student will sign one for every class.

“The sciences and nursing were already making students sign it,” said Dr. Boehm. “Other departments started doing it too. You don’t have to sign it every time it is up to the professor where to assign the policy and where students sign. We’d rather feel trusted and not un-trusted.”

Emmanuel’s new honor code derives from already existing models.

“We spent a whole year going over it, looking at honor codes from like institutions and flagship schools,” said Dr. Onofrietti. “Our best one we saw was from the University of Virginia. This new policy will help students think about and be more aware of rules and regulations and hold you to its consequences.”

Since students asked for an honor system in 1985, it has been discussed many times. Most recently, it was revisited in 2009. During the 2009-2010 year, a committee of students, and faculty drafted the community code.

“It’s been written on paper before but it has never been implemented,” said Dr. Onofrietti.

In 2013, another group was formed with student members and faculty members. “We went back and forth about having students on the board and we decided to have some faculty. It’s a learning experience for all of us and we will see how it goes this semester.” said Dr. Onofrietti. “We looked at the other two policies and what he put into place. There’s now an Academic Integrity Board or A.I.B., and there are five students on it chosen by the SGA and three faculty.”

Before 1985, Emmanuel never had an honor code.  “In 1985 the S.G.A AD HOC Honor Code students brought up a case to have an honor code stating specifically what Emmanuel wanted and they wanted to take a pledge on it,” said Dr. Lisa Boehm, the Senior Associate Dean and Professor of History. “We are investing in this community of integrity.”

If a student is caught cheating and/or plagiarizing, he will receive an Academic Integrity Report form or A.I.R.

“The student signs it to say they received it. It could trigger a hearing from the board, but the board can decide the number of sanctions and degrees of how to review the violation,” said Dr. Boehm. “It can be community service, a lowered grade, or even expulsion.”

If a student is convicted of cheating, the student will have two weeks from receiving the A.I.R. form to challenge to the case. Both Dr. Onofrietti and Dr. Boehm wanted to make sure the students were given a chance to voice their side of the story. It is a fairer way to meet both the professor and student’s needs on academic integrity and a way to find a common ground.

“Once you have graduated we shred the A.I.R. forms,” said Dr. Boehm. It doesn’t remain forever on your permanent record, however, it is something you will remember and will regret.  The implementation of the revised honor code is indicative of the ever-growing, ever-changing nature of Emmanuel. It serves as a reminder that students and faculty are expected to uphold a high level of academic integrity.

Even at Convocation this year, the main topic was about honesty and intellectual integrity. Guest speaker and author Dan Ariely discussed how honesty is the most important policy. He gave a few stories in which people were tested on their honesty and it went to show that even the most honest people can lie sometimes. It didn’t mean they weren’t good people; it is just depending on situations and circumstances everyone lies.

As he mentioned to us about his book The Honest Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie To Everyone Especially Ourselves, he discussed how he’d conduct experiments testing the truth of participants. He even said at the beginning of his experiments participants signed an agreement form or pledge stating that they would be truthful about their answers. It brought up a good case since after the participants finished it turned out that most had lied a little.

Editors Note: After an email from Dr. Boehm the editors decided to make a few post-submission changes.

Posted by on September 24, 2013. Filed under Around Campus,Breaking News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.