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Integrity Committee Prepares to Assemble Honor Council

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

As the College prepares to radically change the way it adjudicates cheating cases, the committee that first proposed the reform is gearing up to choose and train members of a student-faculty judicial body that will address academic dishonesty.

The Academic Integrity Committee advanced a proposal for the College’s first honor code this spring, over a year after Harvard adjudicated its largest cheating scandal in recent memory. The proposal, which was approved by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in May, calls for the creation of a student-faculty judicial body, distinct from the Administrative Board, to hear cases of academic dishonesty.

The honor code, and the judicial board it will create, are scheduled to go into effect next fall. Brett Flehinger, interim secretary of the Ad Board, said that the nomination process for positions on the body—which administrators are now calling an “honor council” instead of an “honor board”—will launch before the end of this semester.

Flehinger, who sits on the Academic Integrity Committee, said he expects that some House and resident deans will be members of the honor council. The deans currently serve on the Ad Board.

Michael C. Ranen, the freshman resident dean of Ivy Yard and also an Academic Integrity Committee member, said the committee will focus this year on developing procedures for the honor council and determining how students will be chosen to serve on it.

The committee is also tasked with finalizing details about the statement students will sign to affirm their commitment to the honor code, as well as considering what disciplinary sanctions the honor council will hand down, according to Ranen.

“There’s a lot to do this year,” he said.

Those selected to serve on the council will go through a rigorous training process, which Flehinger said the Academic Integrity Committee will soon develop.

“The logic has always been that training has to be robust...and intensive,” Flehinger said.

Acknowledging that serving on the honor council will be a “major commitment,” Ranen said that the Academic Integrity Committee may face some challenges as it begins to recruit students for the council.

“Getting students who really care about it and trying to identify those students is not easy,” Ranen said. “We’re trying to identify those students who find this interesting work and want to be a part of the conversation.”

Undergraduate Council Vice President Sietse K. Goffard ’15, a student representative on the Academic Integrity Committee, said the group tentatively plans to reach out to students through postering and email. The UC is also planning to publicize the honor council to students.

“We hope students will be excited about it, but also take the idea of an honor [council] really seriously,” Goffard said.

The Academic Integrity Committee’s first meeting of the semester is scheduled for Sept. 16.

—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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College AdministrationGov 1310 Cheating ScandalCollege NewsHonor Code