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Honor Code Draft Ready for Student Feedback, Faculty Discussion

Dean Says ‘Target’ Implementation Date is Fall 2015

By Madeline R. Conway and Steven S. Lee, Crimson Staff Writers

The Academic Integrity Committee has approved for student feedback a draft of what could prove to be Harvard’s first-ever honor code, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Faculty Council will discuss the issue at its upcoming meeting Wednesday, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris confirmed Monday.

Writing in an email, Harris added that he expects the honor code will then be discussed at the first monthly Faculty meeting of the semester on Feb. 4. The “target” date for the implementation of the honor code is fall 2015, Harris later wrote, adding that there was “too much to put in place” to implement it in 2014.

The full Faculty’s Feb. 4 discussion would come roughly 10 months after the Academic Integrity Committee first proposed a five-point honor code last April, and several months after a smaller subcommittee began drafting the code’s language in the fall.

The Academic Integrity Committee’s April proposal called for, among other points, the creation of a judicial board, populated by both students and faculty and distinct from the Administrative Board, that would hear cases of academic dishonesty. It also proposed that students be required to sign a “declaration of integrity” on major assignments and exams.

Academic Integrity Committee and drafting committee member Terah E. Lyons ’14 said, and Harris confirmed, that the completed draft of the honor code contains three main “tenets” of last April’s proposal—the honor code’s actual language, the integrity statement, and a judicial board, now called an “honor board,” populated by students and faculty.

The Academic Integrity Committee will hold a series of meetings across campus over the next week to solicit student feedback on the honor code. The first meeting, one of four scheduled, is slated to take place Tuesday night in the Adams House Conservatory.

“We really want everyone to be honest,” said Sietse K. Goffard ’15, a member of the Academic Integrity Committee and the Undergraduate Council vice president. “That’s the whole point...of an ‘honor code,’ for everyone to be very open and candid about what they think.”

In addition, Goffard said that he expects that the UC will vote on the honor code in the next “couple of weeks,” calling that vote “crucial.”

One of the upcoming student feedback meetings will take place in the House that another top College administrator calls home. Cabot House Co-Master Rakesh Khurana, who last week was named the next permanent Dean of the College, sits on the full Academic Integrity Committee and is also a member of the smaller committee that drafted the recently-completed code.

Though the Academic Integrity Committee was first convened in 2010, to some, the committee’s efforts took on greater meaning in the aftermath of the Government 1310 cheating scandal, Harvard’s largest cheating case in recent memory. Administrators announced at the beginning of the fall 2012 semester that the Ad Board was investigating roughly 125 students for possible plagiarism or inappropriate collaboration on a take-home exam. Ultimately, roughly 70 students were required to temporarily withdraw from the College in connection with the case.

—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.

—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StevenSJLee.

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