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Faculty Council may cosolidate UNC's many separate graduate Honor Courts

UNC’s Faculty Council is poised to vote on a graduate-level honor system reform — one that is long overdue, proponents say.

The proposal, if approved, would consolidate the separate honor systems of the graduate and 3professional schools into one overarching system.

The existing system is composed of six separate Honor Courts, one for each of the professional schools and the graduate school, each with its own attorney general and honor court chairman.

The new system would have only one attorney general and court chairman. Each individual school would contribute deputy leaders.

Though not radically different, the new plan would be more efficient and less vulnerable to mistakes, Assistant Dean of Students Melinda Manning said.

Under the existing system, it is difficult for court members to gain experience due to the number of individual cases that pass through each school.

“A professional school can go an entire year without seeing a single case,” said Kelley White, graduate student attorney general. “But you learn by doing, and if you don’t do it, then you won’t know how everything is supposed to work.”

A more centralized system would benefit from collective knowledge from all the professional schools, said Jonathan Sauls, dean of students and honor system task force member.

“By consolidating and leveraging experience from all different communities, we would have a consistently proficient court system,” he said.

Smaller professional schools also had trouble finding enough volunteers to staff their court, said Amanda Claire Grayson, incoming undergraduate student attorney general.

“It was difficult to find people who didn’t have knowledge of the student’s case or didn’t have class with the student later on that would affect their judgment on the case,” she said.

With a larger collective pool of court members, each school would still have representation, though not exclusively, she said.

The future of the proposal hinges on the Faculty Council’s decision at this afternoon’s meeting — but Graduate Student Assistant Attorney General Chelsea Corey said she doesn’t worry that the proposal will be turned down.

“In a sense, we’re just implementing something formally that we’re doing informally already,” she said.

“The passion is exemplified already in that we all came together and created this proposal. There’s a lot of interest in carrying this forward.”

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