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Splenary 2023: A Photo Recap

Sunday marked the first Special Plenary (“Splenary”) at Haverford since 2018. Splenary was well attended, with the line of students waiting to enter snaking around the GIAC and extending all the way to Gummere, a sign that the student body would have far less trouble reaching quorum than they had two Sundays prior. Unlike prior plenaries, this special plenary never lost quorum.

The doors opened at noon. Students filled the gymnasium, and reached quorum within 40 minutes; the delay was mainly due to the need to count students coming in the door.

Despite reaching quorum relatively quickly, students soon hopped onto their laptops to complete homework that they otherwise would have been doing on a Sunday afternoon, which interfered with the Wi-Fi. Students’ Council advised multiple times that students use their data instead since they needed to host students on Zoom with accessibility concerns. Coming into Splenary, one major question was how many students would attend in person as opposed to on Zoom: two weeks ago, a significant majority of students attended virtually, which hampered engagement with the resolutions. After multiple requests, students closed their screens, and Splenary began with an exciting performance by the student dance group Bounce.

Another unique aspect of Splenary was the return to informal paper voting for the majority of the event. Electronic voting, though precise, had slowed down the voting process in the past because of the heavy load it placed on the GIAC Wi-Fi. Thus, non-controversial issues like the rules of order were approved quickly and efficiently.

The first resolution, which had failed at the prior Plenary due to a lack of votes, was brought up again for consideration at Splenary. Written by Emily Almgren ‘24, Sarah Campbell ‘24, Joey Carol ‘25, and Janani Suresh ‘23, the resolution, among other things, proposed to remove the ability of Honor Council to recommend separation from the community as a punishment for Academic Code violations, and sought to strike the word “trial” from the Code entirely. The resolution passed with a relatively strong majority by informal paper vote.

The second resolution also sought to amend the Code with a restorative justice framework; however, it was rejected by students. This resolution would have had Honor Council relinquish its ability to decide on punishments of violations; instead, they would facilitate discussions between the parties through a Mediated Restoration Model (MRM). Additionally, this resolution proposed the addition of three Diversity Representatives on Honor Council. Students voiced concerns in the Pro-Con debate that the resolution gives away too much power to the administration.

The last item on the docket was voting to ratify the Honor Code. Since the event was branded as an attempt to save the Honor Code, students were hopeful and expectant that the Code would be ratified since the attendance was never in real danger of going below quorum, according to Students’ Council.

After the event, StuCo Co-President Abdul-Rasaaq Shittu ’23 said that he was not surprised by the large turnout: “I think people understood what was at threat. You could see that with the engagement in the Honor Code conversation.”

His counterpart, Lisette Pham ’23, agreed. “I think we did a good job stressing the urgency of this event,” she said. “It went smoothly, and I’m glad. It shows people actually care.”

Whether Splenary reignited passion for Haverford’s long-standing consensus-based institutions is still an open question. However, what we do know is that the Honor Code lives on another year.

Special thanks to Seawon Park ’25 and Zhao Gu Gammage ’25 for contributing photos for this article.

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