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The Daily Tar Heel

Silence helps no one: Trust in UNC's honor system is dependent on transparency about its process

We understand that it’s a pretty tough time to be running UNC’s honor system.

With the delivery of the findings of academic investigation into violations by student athletes to the undergraduate student attorney general, so too come the eyes of local, state and even national media.

In a sense they can’t win — whatever happens, some will see the honor system in a negative light.

If student athletes are found guilty and cannot play, there may be lasting financial consequences for the University. If no charge is filed or there is no finding of guilt, it may be seen as a whitewash.

But in light of the challenge, we hope Student Attorney General Sarah Core will be forthcoming in explaining the process to the student body and University community.

Obviously there are privacy considerations in order to protect accused students.

But a general lack of transparency about how the judicial system operates increases confusion and reduces confidence in the honor system.

The situation calls for discretion and good faith on the part of all of those involved.

Honor system leaders shouldn’t be afraid of engaging with the community. We all want the same thing: to restore integrity to this University.

And educating and informing the public about the workings of our rare student-run honor system is in students’ interests and helps the University.

In fact, it’s the job of public officials — even if they are students, as in this instance — to operate with transparency.

In the past, undergraduate student attorneys general have promoted UNC’s honor system by establishing dialogue with The Daily Tar Heel and other news organizations.

Open communication is crucial to the respect for, and continued success of, UNC’s honor system.

The public has access to the Instrument of Student Governance online — 20,000 words with much about responsibilities ­— but it doesn’t replace explanation from our leaders about how the various hearing options happen in practice.

This is about ensuring that our cherished student-run honor system functions successfully and is understood by those it affects — especially when the nation is watching.

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