THE HONOR SYSTEM
more educational and less punitive.
"How are we teaching them that cheat-
ing is wrong by sending them home for a
semester? Where's the learning process?"
said Don Appiarius, assistant dean of stu-
dents before recently leaving UNC."You're
not training someone by sending them
away. You're just changing the location."
The Honor Court is the only institu-
tion that has the power to change a faculty
member's grade. Many faculty members
resent that, said Faculty Council Chair Sue
Estroff. And for every faculty member who
worries whetl1er the court will be too
harsh on a student, there is another who
worries that the student-run court will not
comprehend the severity of the case and let
the student off with a slap on the wrist.
"From a faculty member's point of
view, it's not worth the effort," Tolle said.
He said that at least in his field, it is obvi-
ous to faculty that cheating has taken
place but that court members don't know
enough about the material to make a
determination based on the evidence that
is usually available.
The length of the process is another
reason that some on the faculty shy away
from using the system. The average case
takes at least two months to go through
the Honor Court process, even in
in tances where a student admits guilt, as
in Weldon's case.
"I would not go through the honor
code system [again]. I would lower the per-
son's grade myself, and r would not partici-
pate," Coggins said after the trials were
over. Solloway said he has heard many variations of that same statement over the years.
"The fact that so many faculty do not
observe it ... it's like when you have a 55
mile per hour speed linllt and everyone is
driving 70," Moeser said. "It tells you that
you need to change the speed limit.
When people ignore laws, sometimes
because they're poorly written, then
sometimes we need to change the laws."
Spelling out reforms
How and what to change about the
honor system remains a hot topic on
campus. Most agree that a better and
more consistent way ofeducating students
and faculty about their responsibilities
under the honor code is in order. But
many advocate broader reforms, including
separating conduct violations from aca-
demic violations and modifying the
makeup of the court so it is not entirely
run by student volunteers.
Conduct violations - everything
fi'om fighting to stealing to printing more
than one copy of a document in a Uni-
versity computer lab - comprise 40 per-
cent of the court's caseload. Many
administrators and professors argue that there is
How ACCUSATIONS BECOME VERDICTS
~I students at UNC sign an honor pledge before each exam promising that hey have not"given or received unauthorized aid." This pledge is the foundation of the honor code. The code itself, along with the campus
code governing nonacademic matters, requires 37 pages to explain all the procedures of the honor system. (The publication is called the Instrument of Student
Judicial Governance, also known as the "Instrument.")
Most accusations of instrument violations are sent to the student attorney
general, who investigates and decides whether to pursue the matter. The attorney
general appoints students as defense counsel and prosecution, who gather
evidence, prepare statements and call witnesses at the hearing. It takes an average
of two months to schedule the hearings, which typically last four to five hours.
A committee of five students presides at the hearing to determine guilt and
assign sanctions. In cheating cases, suspension is the typical sanction considered.
It may be modified due to mitigating or aggravating circumstances, generally
reducing it to probation or increasing it to longer suspension or even expulSion.
In other Honor Court cases, such as conduct violations, broader sanctions
ranging from censure to expUlsion are possible.
Students convicted can appeal to a University Hearings Board made up of two
faculty members and two students and chaired by the vice chancellor for student
affairs. A further appeal can be made to the chancellor, but, according to the court's
procedures,"only appeals based on violations of basic rights or expulsions:' Such
appeals can go as far as the UNC Board of Trustees and, finally, the UNC System
Board of Governors. Sanctions are suspended until the appeals process is completed.
The system runs on student volunteers, who put in long hours in addition
to their regular class loads. The dental, medical and law schools, the graduate
school and the general undergraduate population each have a separate attorneys
general and Honor Court staff.
- Lani Horae '0 I (MA)