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The Daily Tar Heel

Going courting: Student Congress should work to allocate Honor Court money separately because of its vital purpose

It’s time for members of Student Congress to start thinking about what they’ll be doing over the summer. Writing legislation to change how the Honor Court is funded should be at the top of their priority list — right along with working on their tans.

There’s no time left this year for Congress to work on nuanced legislation like that. They’ll be busy confirming executive branch appointments.

But Honor Court funding is an issue that merits members’ attention once the confirmation process is finished.

During the annual budget process earlier this semester, the Honor Court almost lost its funding. That was because of an error on the Honor Court’s end, and Congress had to make an exception to the rules just so the Honor Court could continue to be funded.

The Honor Court should never be in danger of losing its funding. The court should pay closer attention to the Student Code in the future. But it also shouldn’t have to compete with other groups for student fee money.

The Honor Court should have its own student fee, separate from the student government fee.

A $1 student fee for the Honor Court seems reasonable. That would require a student referendum, so Congress should work to get it on the Homecoming ballot in November.

We normally don’t advocate for fee increases. But the Honor Court, unlike the Association of Student Governments, is essential to our tradition of self governance at the University. The money stays on campus, and the court provides students with a judicial process to resolve integrity issues.

Just because the court would be guaranteed funding does not mean it should be unaccountable. Congress should make sure the fee referendum — or other legislation — requires the court to follow the Student Code’s spending guidelines.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Honor Court is an important institution and should always be funded.

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