The Argument of the Honor Code in School Systems Having an honor code at a school generally varies by the belief system of that school and the surrounding area. However, a concise and proper honor code is something that can help the academic, social, and personal well-being of students and the community surrounding them (Stanford University). To prove this, three points will be brought up. The first point discusses an article relating to the New York Times. The article speaks of how the academic honor code is slowly fading away from many schools, and why this can be a problem for the students’ overall well-being.
The second point is an analysis of honor codes from many prestigious colleges and universities. These academic honor codes will be compared to each other and related to the success rate of their students. The third and final point will discuss the student newspaper opinion of the Harvard Crimson. Multiple articles were written by the Harvard Crimson to discuss the topic of the honor code, all of which supported the implementation of the academic honor code. The opposing argument will also be discussed.
Specifically, an article in the Washington Post relates to how schools should remove any type of honor code in their system. This viewpoint will be analyzed and disproven by lack of evidence towards the topic. So to begin, an article by the New York Times will be discussed (Cheung). Jessica Cheung of the New York Times focuses on how the honor code is slowly diminishing from many schools, specifically on that of Middlebury College. She states that a survey was conducted the spring before her arrival, and that thirty-five percent of students at the campus agreed of breaking the honor code they had signed (Cheung).
This had created a much tighter handle on the proctoring of students there, where the professors were forced to focus more on whether a student was cheating or not. The honor code at Middlebury focuses on students reporting if they witnessed cheating. However, a survey was completed, which stated that sixty-three percent of students would be neutral towards cheating while the rest would report it (Cheung). Another survey was done that stated about seventy-five percent of students would not object to professors proctoring exams. These students had said that they believe it would diminish cheating and allow students to follow the honor code.
This allowed for many individuals to say that the peer proctoring part of the honor code should be removed (Cheung). However, not all honor codes are as simple as the one at Middlebury, where it mainly enforces peers to find cheating. The University of Virginia states that once you are found cheating once, you are expelled. However, this type of honor code punishes students more than it helps them understand to not cheat (Cheung). Having an honor code like this makes students more scared for when they have exams, than wanting to succeed at the exams.
But there are very supportive styles of honor codes in play at many other schools. At Haverford College, one student was caught cheating and sent out a campus-wide apology. This type of honor code shows that not just one student is affected by breaking it, but that the whole community is (Cheung). This creates a feeling of wanting to succeed in a legitimate way. As Cheung stated at the end of her article: “The honor code is a model of a world I wish to live in: one of honesty, personal responsibility, learning for the right reason, choosing right in a moment of temptation.
These are the very deepest and most literal things we ask a school to teach us. If all this dies, what else can survive? ” Like Cheung stated, the honor code is something that should define how you live through your scholarly life and through your everyday life (Cheung). Many colleges also feel the same towards having an honor code for this reason. Throughout the United States and the World, there are many schools that follow and enforce an honor code. Three of the most well-known schools to do this are the University of Notre Dame, Young Harris College, and lastly Haverford College.
To start off, the University of Notre Dame has a simple honor code that enforces students to not cheat and follow proper academic conduct (University of Notre Dame). The reprimand from breaking academic conduct is a single reprimand which states that the student cannot withdraw, or stop, taking the class they “cheated” in. However, if the honor code is broken a second time, the student can be dismissed from the university. This type of honor code seems severe, but it allows the student to correct their mistake of cheating the first time with roughly no consequences (University of Notre Dame).
This allows for an improvement by that student, which will reflect to the whole campus. The honor code at Notre dame allows for students to correct themselves, as does the one from Young Harris College. Their honor code states that if a student is found breaking the honor code, three separate bodies can punish a student: the faculty, the Division Dean, and the Honor Council (Young Harris College). Each have similar powers to each other, however neither the faculty nor the Division Dean can eliminate the student from the school.
They can give the student a failing grade for their assignment or make then completely fail the course (Young Harris College). The Honor Council can recommend the removal of the student. After multiple honor code violations, the student can be removed from the school (Young Harris College). While all of the punishments are rather severe, they also allow for the student to learn and correct themselves, as that error will stick with them throughout their college career. However, the honor code of Haverford College is different from both of these schools.
It does not punish the student, but instead makes them have a moral standpoint in their decision to cheat (Haverford College). As spoken about earlier, one student at Haverford decided to send out a campuswide apology. This shows that the honor code does not have to reprimand the student in terms of their school work, but allows them to have a responsibility as a community member (Haverford College). The idea of cheating and preventing it can be expressed through a statement by Abraham Lincoln, “you cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today” (Lincoln).
The Harvard Crimson also expresses the use of an honor code similar to the previously discussed ones. Harvard University is known for its amazing academic success throughout multiple generations. However, it, like many other schools, has cheaters. This supported the establishment of an honor code at Harvard roughly two years ago (The Crimson Staff). The honor code itself was created with two points in mind. The first being a paper that students sign to affirm their honesty and integrity. The other was to create a joint studentfaculty “honor board”.
The purpose of this honor code at a school like Harvard was to keep the integrity of the students (The Crimson Staff). By signing a paper saying they will not break the honor code, students are making sure that they are being moral with both themselves and their community. This creates a psychological drive for the students to support academic honesty and integrity that many people strive for (The Crimson Staff). The Harvard “honor board” is also different from other schools’, as it includes students on the board.
This allows for transparency on the student body and when judgement is done by someone’s fellow peers, it can deter potential cheaters (The Crimson Staff). However, the Harvard Crimson believes that the moral vision of this honor code is not clear enough. They states that the honor code does not establish what the standards they expect of students are. It has also not been explained by the administrators who support it (The Crimson Staff). The Harvard Crimson continues to speak of how neither the text of the code nor the messages around it seem to stress what honesty and integrity truly is.
While the Harvard Crimson does not fully support the current honor code, they believe if the code defines its moral vision and how it is important to students, then it will be more powerful in the community (The Crimson Staff). Overall, the honor code can be a strong, influential device that can sway whether a student cheats or not. Especially if the honor code is supported in a highly prestigious school such as Harvard University. However, the honor code can be meaningless if there is a stronger reason to not support it. As Sun Tzu had stated, “know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories” (Tzu).