Faculty Senate to review code

Pending approval from the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association may soon launch an honor code system, which has been in the works for two years. The SGA Honor Code Task Force, which has met weekly since its inception in the spring of 2006, gave presentations to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the entire Faculty Senate during dead days last semester.

“Once we create a plan that the Faculty Senate finds agreeable, we might run a pilot program to get a feel for how the honor code system would operate,” said Richard Rigby, a senior biology and chemistry major.

Nowell Donovan, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said, “The most important thing that can come out of a well-designed and strongly implemented honor code is that it emphasizes the concepts of bravery, honesty, responsibility and leadership in all of us.”

The group’s goal is for cheating to decrease and integrity to increase, said Justin Brown, chair of student affairs.

The honor code’s significance to professors is also being considered.

“No one is arguing that academic misconduct is acceptable,” Rigby said, “so having a means to deter cheating, without negatively affecting the professor-student relationship, is a flower in every professor’s bouquet.”

Currently, the Honor Code Task Force is evaluating 128 schools listed in U.S. News & World Report’s top schools in America, which includes such universities as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton and MIT, to see what within their honor codes is working.

“At some schools, it is the case where students can overrule the dean and can give the most severe punishment,” Brown said. “This is not an approach we are looking at for TCU.”

At the meeting, possible initiatives discussed included printing an honor pledge on syllabi, blue books and tests, finding speakers and organizing honor-code-related events, like integrity seminars and working with First Year Experience to educate new students about the honor code were discussed.

The Faculty Senate had also requested clarification of a diagram showing the process students and faculty would go through to deal with an honor code violation.

The alterations to the diagram are supposed to be finalized by this week’s meeting, but the initiatives are subject to change.