Is anyone else not really sure how UNC’s honor system works?
Sure, we’re used to signing honor pledges and are told that the system has been student-run for 130 years.
And there’s a lengthy “Instrument of Student Judicial Governance” with lots of rights and responsibilities (a constitution of sorts for the honor system) that one can read online.
But what exactly happens to those accused of breaking the rules? What punishment meets which crime? And do accusers and accused generally leave satisfied that justice has been served?
The answers to all of these questions matter: we’re talking about a system that allows students to throw other students out of the University, and that imposes judgment for offenses varying from plagiarism to rape.
With less than 200 cases in each of the last few years, the vast majority of students at the University will never go before the Honor Court.
The budding inquirer is understandably excluded from Honor Court proceedings, since the University has a legal duty to each student to protect the privacy of their educational records.
So this leaves the honor system’s student leadership with a responsibility to educate and enlighten the campus on a system which takes place behind closed doors. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
As the football debacle developed last fall, Sarah Core and Travis McElveen (then student attorney general and Honor Court chairman, respectively) maintained a stoic silence about all things honor system.