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Honor Code Affirmation Legislation Details Frequency

The Academic Integrity Committee came together in Straus Hall's Common Room one last time Tuesday night to give students the opportunity to discuss and provide feedback on the newly drafted Honor Code.
The Academic Integrity Committee came together in Straus Hall's Common Room one last time Tuesday night to give students the opportunity to discuss and provide feedback on the newly drafted Honor Code.
By Karl M. Aspelund and Meg P. Bernhard, Crimson Staff Writers

Undergraduates would be required to make an affirmation of integrity when they register and be asked to do so during final exams and on final papers and projects—including theses—should members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences approve proposed legislation on the College’s first-ever honor code.

In addition to these requirements, faculty members would be “encouraged to ask students to affirm their awareness of the Honor Code on assignments when appropriate” when the honor code goes into effect in the fall of 2015, according to the document, which was distributed to faculty members last week.

The document, dated Feb. 13, does not offer a standardized affirmation of integrity for the entire College, but offers a suggested statement for faculty use: “I attest to the honesty of my academic work and affirm that it conforms to the standards of the Harvard College Honor Code.”

The Faculty is expected to vote on the affirmation statement in April, ahead of the honor code's implementation, which will create a new student-faculty judicial body to hear cheating cases and overhaul the College's approach to handling academic dishonesty.

In 2014, members of the Academic Integrity Committee solicited student feedback on a proposal to create the College's first honor code.
In 2014, members of the Academic Integrity Committee solicited student feedback on a proposal to create the College's first honor code. By Shunella Grace Lumas

Incoming freshmen would also be required to submit a “brief personal response” expressing their reflections on the College’s honor code after they accept their offer to attend the College, according to a version of the proposal to be presented at Tuesday’s Faculty meeting that faculty members shared with The Crimson. These individual responses, which students would discuss with their Peer Advising Fellows or academic advisers, would be available for students to view periodically during their time at Harvard.

At the end of each semester during reading period, all undergraduates will receive an email about the honor code, which would include their personal statement “if possible."

In 2015, sophomores would also be required to respond to a prompt asking them to give advice to freshmen about academic integrity based on experiences they had during their first year at Harvard.

Freshman resident deans would also discuss academic integrity and the honor code at Harvard in their regular speeches during freshman orientation.

Business School researchers who study similar types of affirmation in academics and professional life were consulted during the drafting of the proposal, according to the document.

The full FAS faculty approved the honor code in May 2014 and specified that Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana would “bring to the Faculty Council a recommendation regarding the nature and frequency” of the affirmation, which was the subject of faculty debate last spring. However, at the Faculty Council’s meeting on Feb. 11, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris brought such recommendations to the group for vote on behalf of the Committee on Academic Integrity, Harris wrote in an email.

—Staff writer Karl M. Aspelund can be reached at karl.aspelund@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @kma_crimson.

—Staff writer Meg P. Bernhard can be reached at meg.bernhard@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @meg_bernhard.

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CollegeCollege AdministrationFASFAS AdministrationAcademicsFacultyFront FeatureCollege NewsFaculty NewsNews Front FeatureHonor CodeHonor CouncilAcademic Integrity