Meet the Special Plenary Committee!

By Ari Kim and Michael Weber

With Special Plenary quickly approaching, the newly-formed Special Plenary Committee (SPC) has been hard at work to help write potential resolutions and reach out to the student body to facilitate discussion about changes to the Honor Code. The 10 students on the committee, which is co-chaired by Emily Chazen ’18 and Hanae Togami ’19, represent all four class years, and bring different visions and ideas for the Honor Code. SPC has begun writing Honor Code resolutions and they encourage as much student feedback as possible in the writing and editing process. They hold regular office hours which they announce in class Facebook pages, and also held an open discussion for international students on March 29. They will publicize more venues for discussion leading up to Special Plenary.

As of this writing, SPC has shared four potential resolutions with the student body by email. Each can be accessed via a view-only Google Document, where students can give feedback and discuss with one another in the document comments. The four resolutions address the academic code, the social code, confrontation, and the establishment of a Day of Community Reflection [note from SPC Co-chairs: the Day of Community Reflection is not an updated or rebranded version of the Community Day of Engagement, which passed in a resolution during last fall’s plenary, but was rejected by President of the College Kim Benston]. On Monday, April 2nd, SPC will begin collecting signatures in support of each resolution via Google documents and in-person at the Dining Center.

Below are profiles for eight SPC members, sharing their reasons for joining and the changes they hope to see in the Honor Code.

Emily Chazen, Class of 2018, Co-chair (she/her/hers)

Chazen cares deeply about the Honor Code and sees it as a vital mechanism that “shapes, relates to, and responds to the concerns of the Haverford community.” She has primarily been working on alternatives to confrontation and a new version of the Community Day of Engagement, which was a resolution that failed to pass in the 2017 Fall Plenary.

Hanae Togami, Class of 2019, Co-chair (she/her/hers)

Togami saw the Honor Code both fail and help community members while she was a sophomore representative on Honor Council. She hopes to change language surrounding confrontation in order to “remove much of the responsibility of confrontation from the shoulders of marginalized identities on campus.” She has reached out to affinity and community houses on campus, and like other committee members, has helped draft and edit resolutions.

Alex Stern, Class of 2020 (she/her/hers)

Stern wishes to change the structure of Plenary to make it more accessible and hopes to make more explicit the “nuanced overlaps between the academic and social codes.” She has kickstarted a project to provide a livestream of Special Plenary for members of the community for whom previous plenaries have been inaccessible.

Devin Louis, Class of 2018 (he/him/his)

Louis hopes to see many changes in the Honor Code, including an updated confrontation system, a raised quorum at plenary, more formal powers for the Community Outreach Multicultural Liaisons, and better established academic standards. He has formerly served on Honor Council, and saw the committee as “one of the most tangible ways to address the many problems we have in the student body, like most people’s extreme apathy towards the Code.”

Trevor Larner, Class of 2019 (he/him/his)

Larner believes that the Honor Code has been failing the community, particularly students of marginalized identities, but still feels that the code is an effective tool to address those issues. He has been in contact with faculty and staff to see “increased cohesion between the social and academic codes that requires [all members of the community] to be responsible for their actions.”

Soha Saghir, Class of 2021 (she/her/hers)

Saghir wants to give back to the community that has “opened its arms” to her – she finds it her “ethical responsibility” to look into issues surrounding the Honor Code and be a part of the solution. She is a part of the International Outreach subcommittee, which has been gathering international students’ perspectives on the Honor Code’s shortcomings and how to address them.

Sarah Svetec, Class of 2019 (she/her/hers)

Svetec applied to SPC after frustrations with the apathy towards the Code at the recent Spring Plenary, and hopes to provide insights as a student who cares about the Code, but “doesn’t have a lot of experience or specific knowledge of it.” She has been reaching out to athletic teams and organizing logistical aspects of Special Plenary.

Riley Wheaton, Class of 2020 (he/him/his)

Wheaton is currently the Honor Council Librarian and hopes to bring “perspective on precedent, a deep understanding of the constitution, and a lot of Honor Council experience” to the committee. He has been reaching out to affinity groups to gather insight on how the Social Honor Code can be changed to better serve and protect students of marginalized affinities, as well as contacting non-students who have vested interests in the Code, such as administration.

Two committee members, Eyasu Shumie ’21 and Daisy Zhan ’20, were unable to comment.

Special Plenary will take place Sunday, April 8th at 5 p.m. in the Gooding Arena inside of the GIAC.

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