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UNC's honor system has yet to see reforms from a task force

As the University debates changes to its student-run honor system, outgoing Student Attorney General Jon McCay said he is worried.

It has been months since the creation of the honor system task force to implement reform, but McCay said he has yet to see tangible results.

And as review of the honor system advances, an absence of outcomes could prove detrimental to a system that has already had images problems with students and faculty.

“My fear is that if the task force isn’t focused on specific issues — as opposed to just an overall, generalized evaluation of the system — then we’re going to get reforms that may not address the root issues that started the review in the first place,” he said.

McCay said he would like task force members to target specific issues, like advising on new educational sanctions and providing expertise on which cases the system should hear.

But Jan Boxill, chairwoman of the faculty and the task force, said the group has made progress by dividing into subcommittees — one that will work on immediate issues and one that will evaluate the honor system more holistically.

Many of the goals of the short-term subcommittee are already in progress, she said.

The subcommittee has already developed a proposal to establish one honor system for all graduate and professional schools — an initiative that will be voted on at Friday’s Faculty Council meeting.

Efforts have also been made to make the system website more user-friendly and to invite faculty to serve on the appeals board.

Future goals include evaluating honor system sanctions and creating a faculty-student resolution system, which would allow students, faculty and honor system members to come to an independent agreement.

“We don’t want to move too quickly for something that is so important and tradition-bound,” Boxill said.

Dean of Students Jonathan Sauls said it is necessary to be meticulous to ensure success for the future honor system.

“Moving slowly means we’re taking a careful look at everything, instead of throwing up isolated recommendations and tweaking things that don’t address underlying issues,” he said.

McCay said honor system members also bear responsibility.

The honor system outreach wing has created Honor and Integrity Week, an annual outreach drive hosted this week to raise awareness about the importance of the Honor Code.

“We’ve developed events and initiatives that will allow us to encounter the student population in ways that don’t normally allow us the opportunity to interact with them,” McCay said.

Morgan Bolling, honor system outreach coordinator, said the week will promote increased transparency of the honor system, but other initiatives are necessary.

“One week a year is great, but it’s just a stepping stone,” Bolling said. “The honor system can do so much more with an entire year.”

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