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Faculty Will Discuss Proposed Honor Code at Faculty Meeting Tuesday

By Dev A. Patel and Steven R. Watros, Crimson Staff Writers

Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will discuss a proposed student honor code, the passage of which would require students to make an affirmation of integrity, at their monthly meeting on Tuesday, according to a report from the Academic Integrity Committee obtained by The Crimson on Monday.

The faculty’s approval of the affirmation, as well as a number of other proposals packaged with the statement, would mark the end of a nearly four-year-long process of researching and drafting a potential honor code. Tuesday's presentation by Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris marks the latest discussion of the honor code at Faculty meetings, which was previously discussed twice before in the past year.

The new policy, which would go into effect in the fall semester of 2015, would require students to make this affirmation at a frequency determined by the Dean of Harvard College, according to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.

Interim Dean Donald H. Pfister said in an interview with The Crimson on Friday that there are two considerations to weigh when determining the frequency in which students would sign the honor code, a decision which would be made by incoming Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana.

"In particular, Pfister said the decision should hinge on the body of research on honor code affirmations as well as the nature of an individual course and its assignments.

Additionally, the proposal before the Faculty on Tuesday establishes an Honor Board that would review cases of potential academic dishonesty. At least half of the board would be composed of undergraduates, with the remaining seats filled by faculty members, administrators, and graduate students who have served as teaching fellows.

Undergraduates would be nominated for a position on the board by members of the faculty, staff, or other students, with the Dean of the College making the final selection through interviews.

The proposal also recommends reforms to sanctions for cheating and other violations of the honor code, including an option to refer the case back to the instructor for in-class punishment, “to assure that the fullest range of educational responses is available to the Honor Board,” according to the proposal.

According to its website, the Administrative Board’s current policy allows the body to scratch a case, take no action, “admonish” a student, place a student on probation, or require the student to temporarily withdraw. In extreme cases, a student may be dismissed from the College by the Faculty Council after a referral from the Ad Board.

The outcomes of all of the cases heard by the Honor Board in a given year would be released annually, according to a detailed supplement on the new body provided to members of the Faculty.

The proposal also recommends the creation of a another role for students—a peer-to-peer advising network that would work with students in potential violation of the honor code. A student accused of breaking the affirmation of integrity would have the option of speaking with such a peer adviser.

—Staff writer Dev A. Patel can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @dev_a_patel.

—Staff writer Steven R. Watros can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SteveWatros.

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