Additional reporting by Andrew Eaddy
Students at Haverford are no longer living under the Honor Code, at least for the time being. As of 6 p.m. on April 18, the Honor Code expired, and the administration has implemented “interim academic and social procedures” to take its place.
According to the Students’ Constitution, the Honor Code expires six weeks after failing to be ratified, and that means time ran out today. Although students ratified a new Honor Code at Special Plenary to replace the now-expired one, the President has not yet accepted it, so there is a window of time where the campus is Code-less. President Benston has until May 7 to decide whether or not to accept the new Honor Code.
“Because the new Code contains several passages of serious concern to me and to many faculty, particularly in the Academic portion, I cannot in good conscience approve the new Code until faculty have had an opportunity to express their concerns and deliberate on the best way forward,” President Kim Benston wrote to students via email. He added that the faculty will talk more at their meeting tomorrow, but the amount of time he will take to make his decision after that remains unclear.
Emily Chazen ‘18, one of the Special Plenary Committee (SPC) Co-Chairs, said that SPC will also be taking part in the discussions with faculty today.
“While I respect the decision made by the administration and understand the need for more time for reflection, I have my qualms about the document they’re looking to put in place,” Chazen wrote via email. “I hope that the Special Plenary Committee can be a valuable resource for faculty and administration as they look to make this lofty decision, and it is my firm hope that the new Honor Code is accepted by the President as soon as possible.”
The “interim procedures” brought forth by the administration outline how academic and social issues will be handled moving forward. It states that “faculty have the option to give in-class exams or take-home exams; either may or may not be proctored.” Final exams will be self-scheduled, and faculty can decide whether or not to make them proctored.
The document also establishes a new panel to handle potential violations of the academic procedures. The panel, consisting of a Dean, faculty member, and student, will be charged with gathering statements from people involved, holding a hearing, and coming to a “statement of violation/non-violation,” which Provost Fran Blase said is a typical procedure at similar institutions.
As for social issues, the “interim procedures” call on students to “maintain the standards of trust, concern, and respect that have characterized life under the Code.” Students are encouraged to “engage with the individuals or groups whose behavior they believe to be inconsistent with these values,” and are referred to the Deans to handle issues that cannot be resolved among students.
“It might be a little more complex, but I hope it doesn’t disrupt our normal rhythms” on campus, Blase said of the new procedures.
The announcement made last night also has ramifications for Honor Council, which has started to wind down their work.
“To the best of my knowledge, trials that are currently in progress would continue, but everything else will be halted,” said Arlene Casey ‘19, Honor Council Co-Chair. “I’m not positive what happens to cases that have been sent to trial, but haven’t begun yet (though I believe those will also either be put on hold or turned over the administration).”
Some students are not accepting the new procedures so easily. Kevin Liao ‘18 has written and distributed a pledge, and those who have signed it agree to abide by the pre-Special Plenary version of the Honor Code – despite the fact that it expired today – and pledge to continue to utilize Honor Council.
Students have also planned a sit-in outside the President’s office to protest the administration’s decision to implement interim procedures, and to voice their support for the new Honor Code, as well as the reinstatement of the old Honor Code in the time being.
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