Message from Kim Benston Regarding Digital Plenary

The Clerk is republishing this message, which President Kim Benston emailed to students earlier today. 
Dear Students,
 
As Provost Fran Blase clarified in her recent email, the Honor Code that was ratified at Special Plenary––produced in good faith, but also in haste––contains in its Academic portion several passages that raise significant concerns about the legality of procedures and about loss of academic freedom.  Unfortunately, I cannot sign that specific version of the Code into effect. But thanks to intensive work by the Special Plenary Committee, Honor Council Co-Chairs, Students’ Council Co-Presidents, the student body (via forums and the amendment process), and many faculty, you are facing the opportunity to ratify a revised Honor Code that embodies the spirit and most of the substance of the Code that was ratified on April 8.
 
The Academic Code you now vote on is not so much a compromise between student and faculty positions as it is a collective affirmation of vital objectives.  The faculty, despite having needed to raise key issues of law and academic experience, shares with students a commitment to fostering healthy learning environments where every student can thrive.  The last three weeks have witnessed from all parties an outpouring of dedication to that goal.
 
In the fall we will intensify work that is already under way.  As Provost Blase noted at the end of her email, I have asked her to lead a team of faculty, students, and staff to recommend specific ways we can advance our classroom experience in keeping with the ideals set forth in the recently ratified Code.  The revised Academic Code on which you are about to vote highlights objectives that ultimately cannot be accomplished by the Code alone but must be achieved through the dedicated work of studentsand teachers.
 
With your first version of a new Honor Code, you advanced our discussion of these important issues.  The Special Plenary Committee is presenting you a revised Academic Code faithful to the vision of the learning community you called for on April 8.  This is a moment for reflection––for considering how your ideals and goals, which are those of the College, might be served by your participation in this week’s digital Plenary.  You face an important collective decision this week, so I urge you to pause, however briefly, from your other work to vote with care.  
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Kim

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