and redefine it. They say that you can get ogether and discuss the problem, but once you discuss the problem you've got he solution, even ifyou didn't sit down and work it out step by step together;' she said. "It's so hard to draw the line." Professors increasingly require some level ofcollaboration among students as a part of their classes, arguing that this helps tudents prepare for the work force. But standards for what constitutes "acceptable" group work vary widely from department o department and instructor to instruc- tor. English students are encouraged to edit each other's papers but can't rewrite sentences. Lab partners are supposed to write experiments separately in some courses but not in others. Business stu- dents get individual grades on assignments they worked on in groups all semester. History students are sometimes encour- aged to divide long lists of event identifi- cations to make studying for exams easier,
but in other courses no mention is made
of whether it is acceptable. Is it OK to ask
your friend who is fluent in Spanish to
proofread your Spanish 3 essay? Ifyour
professor tells you to study for a test in
groups, how do you keep your answers to
essay questions from sounding silnilar?
The issue ofgroup work is near and
dear to the hearts of many in the wake of
the computer science cases, where it was
central to the dispute. Like Trinh, many
of the students involved in the case main-
tained that they thought they were doing
the right thing by working together and
that Coggins told them they could collaborate on the assignment. Coggins, how-
ever, called this story a plot devised by his
former students to evade the Honor
Court charges, and he noted that many
other students worked alone on the pro-
granl. If students truly were confused,
they should have asked hinl, he said.
In theory, all students should consult
their professors if they aren't sure about
whether something might be an honor
code violation. But many students say
they would not do so, either because they
might be seen as a "rat" or because they
worry that consulting a professor would
come across as an admission of guilt.
"I have seen a lot ofexanlples that are
borderline," one senior said. For example,
she said, many students take classes based
on recommendations from friends who
may still have copies of exams given in
previous semesters - and many professors
don't change them significandy. "Students
know each other. You have friends, and
they have friends, and exams get photo-
copied and passed down the line. But I've
never had a professor sit down and say,
do not look at copies ofthe old exams."
Yet neither she nor anyone else she knows
has ever spoken to a professor to ask
whether such study aids are acceptable.
In addition to hazy definitions ofcode
violations, students get litde guidance
about the system itself. All freshmen and
transfer students attend an orientation
program called C-TOPS. Although it
includes information about the honor
code - as well as other aspects ofUni-
continued from page 35
1936 - A freshman exposes a
cheating ring headed by a graduate student that was in existence
for more than two years. More
than 150 students, including the
president of the senior class and
members of Phi Beta Kappa and
the Golden Fleece, are implicated.
UniverSity President Frank Porter
Graham '09 insists that the
Student Council address the
matter; eventually 51 students
are dismissed, solidifying the
council's disciplinary role.
Spring 1946 - UNC's first written
student constitution is adopted.
1962 - Enforced secrecy of honor
system hearings is attacked in
April 1969 - Chancellor J. Carlyle
Sitterson ' 31 and Student Body
President Alan Albright ' 70
appoint a judicial reform commit-
tee "to make a critical reassessment of our campus judicial
processes:' The report becomes
the Instrument of Student Judicial
Governance. The proscribed
behavior became known as the
Code of Student Conduct. Unilateral actions by faculty are forbidden. The Faculty Committee on
Student Discipline is renamed to
the Committee on Student Conduct and includes six students and
six faculty or administrators.
May 1974 -After more than five
years and 19 drafts, the final
Instrument is ratified; it takes
effect in October. This is the system in place today.
1978 - The "rat clause" is
eliminated;students no longer violate
the honor code if they do not
turn in someone suspected of
cheating. Formally stipulated suspension is the normal sanction for
first academic violation; over previous two decades, the courts'
norm was probation.