Council Proposes Honor Code Revisions

The Honor Council and Committee on Academic Integrity voted to take to referendum several revisions to Emory’s Honor Code. Among the potential changes to the Code are clauses that would prevent electronic devices during exams, increase the College’s jurisdiction over students post-graduation and allow expedited hearing procedures in certain cases.

Following a year and a half of discussion and drafts, all articles of the Code except for articles one and eight were revised to introduce new policies and clarify existing policies, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Education and Honor Council Director Jason Ciejka said. Ciejka announced the revisions to all College students in a Nov. 11 email.

To develop the revisions, the Honor Council and the Committee on Academic Integrity worked with the Faculty Advisory Board of the Honor Council and the Office of the General Counsel, Ciejka said.

Once Ciejka approved the proposal, the Honor Council voted to pass the revisions. According to Ciejka, any change to the Code needs a two-thirds majority vote from the Honor Council in order to pass. The ballot was open online to members of the council from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5, Ciejka said.

Students whose primary degree is from the College will be able to vote on the proposed Honor Code Dec. 5 to 6. An email will be sent to all eligible voters with instructions on voting, which will be online. The results will be announced in a College-wide email Wednesday, Dec. 7.

In the revisions, article three of the Code clarifies the College’s jurisdiction in cases involving students who have graduated. If a case of academic misconduct were reported after a student had graduated, the revised Code would give the College dean the discretion to open an investigation and potentially revoke the student’s degree.

With the addition of two new sections, the proposed changes to article four include a policy that explicitly prohibits the use of electronic devices during student assessments. It also contains a new testing policy that would provide protections, at each instructor’s discretion, for the security and integrity of exams. Potential protections include assigning seats, restricting large bookbags or bulky clothing and requiring students to remove items unrelated to the exam from the testing room.

The proposed changes are not intended to drastically change the Code, Ciejka said. Instead, the revisions are intended “to codify the current practices of the Honor Council, clarify any ambiguity or points of confusion in the current code and modify language to stress that this is an academic, not a criminal process,” he wrote in the email.

Assistant Director of the Honor Council Blaire Wilson added that in addition to clarifying the Code, it was important for the council to consider the “changing digital landscape.” In addition to modern technology and the fact that the old honor code didn’t explicitly address the use of electronic devices, there were multiple faculty members and students who said the code needed clarification, Ciejka said.

Honor Council Chair and College senior Lauren Dietter said that having policies that are clear and reliable is a key to a good Code.

“The Honor Code, for a lot of us, is a thing that we trust,” Dietter said. “It’s something that, for me, walking into an exam, means that I can take an exam and not have to worry that somebody else in the room is going to have an unfair advantage over me.”

The Code was last amended in 2012.

Information sessions for those with questions will be held today at 6 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. in Atwood Hall room 316.

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