Last week, the University provided an initial glimpse into possible changes to the honor system. Though this review did not come from the recent controversy surrounding the system, the same rules should apply. It should take care to uphold the honor system’s tradition of student self-governance, and its recommendations are a reassuring first step.
The recommendations, which will be presented to the Faculty Council in October, call for improved communication, increased faculty involvement and independent sources of funding. That lattermost goal deserves particularly close attention, as the University must take care to ensure that the system is financially independent from faculty and administrators.
A key recommendation calls for permanent funding for the honor system’s operations not dependent upon the student activities fee.
As a symbol of student self-governance, it is important that the honor system not be beholden to any organization for its operational funding. However, the system must currently apply for funding from Student Congress, like any other student organization, in order to operate.
Given the important function the honor system performs in the academic mission of the University, system leaders should not have to divert their attention from critical matters to keep the lights on. But this is exactly what has happened in years past.
In 2010, the honor system was almost defunded over confusion about its treasurer. While the honor system did ultimately receive funding, it was at a level only slightly more than half of the $20,325.69 that was requested.