The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday June 4th

Changes to come to Honor Court

Students arrested by Chapel Hill police could soon see a new way in which their potential Honor Code violations are handled by the Honor Court.

In a meeting Friday, members of the Faculty Honor System Advisory Committee discussed ways students might be charged by the Honor Court for conduct issues brought against them by Chapel Hill police in cases where not all information is released to the University.

Authorities will often withhold factual information regarding student arrests when there is a potential that the court procedure could be compromised due to the defendant having access to privileged information.

For instance, police might not always release information regarding a student’s behavior or blood alcohol level when he or she has been arrested for driving while intoxicated.

The committee members all agreed these ambiguous charges can leave the Honor Court in a difficult position.

“Should we just defer to the fact that the police charged a student with this? Is this enough to warrant a charge decision? Or do we need further information?” Student Attorney General Amanda Claire Grayson said.

Committee members voiced differing views on the subject.

Deputy Student Attorney General Henry Ross said he thinks the Honor Court should charge students with Honor Code violations even with a lack of information because authorities have set procedures for arrest.

But Erik Hunter, judicial programs officer for UNC’s honor system, said he thinks getting all details from the police before charging a student with an Honor Court violation is necessary.

“They are looking for us to take action, as 90 percent of the time the sentences will be reduced to something else — but it’s not our job to run the criminal justice system,” he said.

Although some committee members said having the arresting officer testify in Honor Court is unnecessary, chairwoman Donna LeFebvre disagreed.

“If the officer were not brought in, it would violate a student’s right to review evidence and cross-examine a witness,” LeFebvre said.

Timeliness has also become an issue in Honor Court hearings, whether due to a backlog in criminal court hearings or the student making the choice to delay the case.

In addition to causing backlogging within the Honor Court, students with unresolved Honor Court charges against them can’t graduate or have their transcripts released.

The committee hopes to set a policy to resolve these issues next month.

“We have to give accused students the benefit of the doubt,” Hunter said.

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