The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 2nd

Honor system task force looks at possibilities for change

Reform of the University’s honor system is still in its early stages, but administrators and student leaders say the scope of the changes will be broad.

The honor system task force, which was created in the fall to reform the system, will divide discussion into three categories: the system’s history, attitudes about it and peer systems.

At Monday’s meeting of the task force, members said many aspects of the system are on the table for change, with an emphasis on simplification.

Katie Turner, administrative assistant in the Office of Faculty Governance, said the system needs to enhance transparency.

“What we’re talking about is academic integrity, getting people to buy into the system,” Turner said.

During the next two weeks, members of the task force will look at procedural issues.

Amanda Claire Grayson, the incoming student attorney general, pointed to the example of types of misconduct that need to be addressed by both the Honor Court and campus or town police.

“With conduct cases, there is a concurrent criminal case,” Grayson said. “That can cause an honor system case to be delayed as long as nine months.”

Dean of Students Jonathan Sauls said simplicity is important.

“It has been added to repeatedly, but rarely do we take anything out,” he said.

Sauls said he is interested in examining honor systems at UNC’s peer institutions, some of which include the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan.

“Tradition itself is not a reason to keep something,” Sauls said. “That’s our struggle. There are things to be done differently.”

The subcommittee will examine attitudes on campus about the honor system. A 2009 survey of faculty found 49 percent of faculty definitely or probably would refer a case of academic misconduct to the honor system.

“The more we can educate, the more we can instill a culture of honor and vice versa,” Grayson said.

Action is already being taken to modify UNC’s honor system. On Friday, the Faculty Council will vote on a proposal to establish one honor system for all graduate and professional schools.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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