The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday January 30th

Students Air Honor Court Concerns Online

UNC's student judicial system is this month's topic of online discussion on the Freshman Central Web site, a site launched in January to help freshmen adjust to campus life.

Freshman Web site Co-chairman Matt Tepper said the idea for this topic, which is generated by council members monthly, came from an Honor Court forum hosted by Chancellor James Moeser last week.

Concerns about UNC's judicial process surfaced last fall when computer science Professor James Coggins brought 24 students in his spring Computer 120 class before the Honor Court for cheating. Some students have since been acquitted in appeals courts.

A faculty committee is slated to review the Instrument for Student Judicial Governance, which outlines UNC's student judicial process. Faculty Chairwoman Sue Estroff said last week that she hopes to have a proposal in six months.

As of Tuesday evening, 14 messages had been posted on the site. While most submissions agreed that the particulars of the Honor Court have not been successfully explained to the student body, there is heavy debate about whether the system should be run by students.

"(Students) are old enough to sit on criminal courts that can condemn someone to a death sentence for murder, so I think we are certainly competent enough to decide if someone should get suspended for plagiarism," read one posting submitted with the username of "Todd."

But other participants argued a student-run judicial system could prove detrimental to UNC. "The fact that (the Honor Court) is run by students presents the danger of inexperience, bias and injustice," read one posting submitted by "Ohalawa."

Tepper's Co-chairwoman Rebekah Burford said she hopes the online forum will show University officials that students are interested in campus issues.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dean Bresciani said that he was not aware of the online discussion, but that said he was pleased to hear students are engaging in conversation about the topic. "I think this is a provocative issue and that freshmen should have just as much interest in this issue as other students on campus."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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