ONIBUDO: Honor Should Let Informed Retraction Die – The Daily Rider

The University’s honor committee is no stranger to controversy. During the last decadessingle sanction has been the subject of much debate, and last fall the Committee faced damning allegations of misconduct. Honor has at times felt disconnected, misplaced and anything but beneficial to our collective well-being – the previous committee even regularly failed to reach a quorum. In March I wrote a opinion piece highlighting recent history vote which reduced the sentence for an honor sentence from permanent expulsion to a two-semester furlough. While in this article I remained generally optimistic about what the vote signaled for the future of our honorary committee, I write today with genuine concern about the direction in which the current committee is heading.

At the first meeting of the new mandate, the honorary representatives voted to pass a revision the Committee’s rules of procedure aimed at reviving the relevance of the Informed withdrawal. Previously, when the penalty for guilt was permanent expulsion, the IR offered students the opportunity to admit guilt and avoid permanent expulsion. However, this version of the IR became moot after students voted to eliminate the possibility of permanent expulsion altogether by supporting a two-semester furlough for convicted students. New the statutes stipulate that there are now two types of notations that can be placed on a “guilty” student’s transcript. Students who waive a lawsuit – by admitting their guilt while passing the IR – will see the temporary mention “Voluntary suspension of honor” placed on their transcript until they return to the University after two semesters. More controversially, students who choose to have a trial, but are ultimately convicted, will have “Involuntary Honors Suspension” permanently placed on their transcripts – even after their two-semester expulsion. The honorary representatives should have let the IR die. These revised bylaws – based on the Committee’s misconception of what it means to be an honorable student – ​​will do far more harm than good.

To justify the revision of the regulations, a representative said “the philosophical importance of having something that distinguishes the IR and the guilty verdict is an investment in a system where we believe people can be honorable.” While it is true that it is admirable to admit wrongdoing and make amends, this statement and the Committee’s vote fails to take into account the variety of valid reasons students may have for taking their case to court. . One obvious reason is that for a student to be convicted, their offense must be considered “significant” by a panel of their peers. Even if a student admits guilt, they may not think their transgression was significant. Thus, they may want a student jury to decide on the matter. Every student accused at the University has the right to a trial – students should not have to risk being permanently labeled as a cheater, liar or thief to exercise this right. Our Honor representatives should invest in a system that does not punish people for exercising rights that are clearly granted to them by Honor’s own constitution.

Another problem with the new regulations is that they have the potential to exacerbate existing inequalities. When you mark someone’s transcript with the words “involuntary honor suspension,” it’s not hard to see how you could jeopardize that student’s employability, especially coming out of college. . Even if this is an intended consequence, I fear the impact will be felt disproportionately. While wealthy, well-connected students would likely still find ways to get into good jobs after graduation, the same cannot be said for their less-resourced, low-income classmates – who are all already fight an uphill battle. While the former may be able to look to family or friends to vouch for their personality and help them find jobs, the latter won’t have the same kind of insider access. What is honorable in adopting rules that could disproportionately affect the poorest among us?

One might wonder why the honor committee is so determined to keep the IR intact in the first place. A world where IR is irrelevant and where students are thus given the freedom to explain their situation to a panel of students – without threatening to be permanently branded – is not only plausible, but arguably ideal. . The problem is that this realm is set in a world where Honor exists as an institution committed to understanding nuance and placing behaviors in their proper contexts. Our world is the exact opposite. The honor system lack nuance and care little about placing behaviors in their proper contexts. To me, this rulebook revision underscores Honor’s misguided presumption that people and their behaviors can be neatly placed in boxes – honorable and dishonourable, good and bad.

I ended my last opinion piece by saying that our honor committee still needs some serious reforms. I find that to be truer now than it was then. The recklessness of the recent RI review demonstrates that we cannot just change the way the Board works piecemeal – we must fight to transform the philosophy that underpins the whole system. An honorary committee committed to serving people — not some hollow ideal — would have simply let the IR die. This is why we must elect representatives committed to serving us, not an old institution and the outdated way of thinking it represents.

Nathan Onibudo is a point of view writer for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at [email protected]

The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. The columns represent the opinions of the authors only.

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