Princeton Sophomore Won't Sign Honor Code

Short Takes

For the first time ever, a Princeton University student has registered for classes without premising to comply with its mandatory honor code.

Wade Randlett said he refused last fall to sign the 92-year-old requirement because he didn't like the stipulation requiring undergraduates to turn in fellow students seen cheating.

Since 1893, all Princeton students have had to sign a statement before they register saying they understand and will abide by the code-which allows students to take the examinations unproctored in return for their promise not to cheat and to report other students seen doing so.

Dean of Princeton College Joan Girgus told The New York Times earlier this week that an "administrative error" was to blame for Randlett's being allowed to register without signing the statement.

After a recommendation from Princeton's Honor Committee, Girgue decided Randlett would be allowed to remain at the university but would have to take his exams separately in the presence of a university official.


The committee "felt it was unfair, perhaps even illegal, to make Randlett sign," after he had already enrolled, said A. Walton Litz, academic adviser to the committee.

The Times reported that administrators did not notice Randlett had not signed the statement until he himself told them.

Randlett, a sophomore transfer student from the University of California at Berkeley, said that he knew the honor code's two provisional before he enrolled. "It sounded good until the last part [requiring students to turn in cheaters], which I didn't like at all," Randlett said. "So I didn't sign it," he added.

Randlett explained that he wanted to sign a compromise with Princeton saying he would promise not to cheat but wouldn't turn anyone else in. Yet he had not told the university before he registered about his objections to the code or his intention not to abide by it.

Under the honor code, Girgus told the Times, "students as a community are responsible for their own and their peers' academic integrity." She added, "I don't think that anyone who witnesses a clear violation of the code can be freed of the obligation to report."

In a 1983 survey by the student newspaper, however, 55 percent of the respondents said that they wouldn't turn in a friend for violation the code, and 33 percent said that they wouldn't turn in a strength Daily Princetonian officials said.

Another Princeton student, who was suspended for cheating, is not using the university, claiming is part that the honor code is a violation to the public policy of the State of New Jersey, said Thomas Wright, the university's general council.