On our honor
Published: Friday, March 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 8, 2013 00:03
Administrators and Student Government are forming a new committee to write an honor code for Lafayette. In its 187 years, Lafayette has never had an honor code.
Student Government President Michael Prisco ‘14 said an honor code would allow students to govern themselves, rather than having their discipline controlled by the administration. It would also create the overarching ideal for the Lafayette student.
“It gives students more control over their own lives here at college,” Prisco said. “It kind of creates the values and ideals that Laf…is trying to create. It reinvents that sense of community, and honor, and respect, and whatever values we want to attribute to Lafayette.”
The honor code would come into place in three phases, Prisco said.
“The first phase is kind of like exploration: what is an honor code, what other institutions have them, what did they have in their honor codes?” Prisco said.
The second phase is drafting, where StuGov reaches out to the rest of campus for feedback. “Lots of open forums,” Prisco said. “Stuff of that nature to really hammer out the nitty-gritty details of what we want our honor code to be.”
The third phase is a final review. “That’s a fascinating part,” Prisco said. “It’s where we really see what we perceived and desired in action.”
Student response to the creation of a Lafayette honor code has been overwhelming positive, according to Prisco.
He believes students want an honor code because they want to govern themselves. Instead of being punished by the administration, one would appear before a jury of peers for not adhering to the honor code.
“The overall consensus is that we do [want an honor code],” Prisco said. “[I’ve met with] every single sorority except for Tri Delt, and every fraternity except DU and DKE.”
Along with athletic organizations, fraternities and sororities have voiced support for a new honor code system.
Some administrators hold different views.
“I would say that personally I have mixed feelings about an honor code,” Vice President for Campus Life Annette Diorio said. “I have seen institutions where they are very powerful and work well, but it requires a commitment from students to be willing to hold each other accountable.
“Students have an enormous influence on the behavior of their peers and whether or not there is an honor code to me isn’t really the issue but the willingness to hold each other accountable is critical,” Diorio added.
President Daniel H. Weiss, who will not see an honor code implemented during his tenure, feels differently than Diorio.
“I think, in general terms, an honor code is a wonderful idea,” he said. “Academic communities like Lafayette should take very seriously how it thinks about personal integrity and responsibility.”
Weiss believes Lafayette could handle the change.
“If it’s successful… then you would see diminishment of conduct cases—ideally, if people are regulating themselves better. I think it’s a great idea,” Weiss said. “We’re not even at the starting line yet.”