University honor code undergoes revisions

Alexis M. Johnson, Staff Writer

Francis Marion University students will have the opportunity to learn and to make their voices heard about the university’s plan to revise its honor code on Monday, Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. in the University Center, Room 218.

The honor code, which went into effect during the fall semester, is now undergoing revisions to better fit student needs. All students are encouraged to attend the meeting in order to learn about the revisions that may be added to the code.

The meeting serves as one link to the chain that will help to finalize the code. The chain consists of the ad-hoc committee, meeting before and immediately after the student meeting, and is followed by separate meetings of the Student Government Association (SGA) senators, the faculty senate and the general faculty.

Although the idea for an honor code was initially proposed by FMU President Dr. Fred Carter, the ad-hoc committee was responsible for drawing up the original document.

The ad-hoc committee, chaired by English professor Dr. Kenneth Autrey, consists of six faculty members and five students. The faculty represents various disciplines and organizations.  Two of the students are SGA officers, two are SGA senators and one is president of the University Programming Board.

In addition to receiving information about the current honor code, students who attend the meeting will learn about revisions for the new code and will have the chance to tell the committee their likes, dislikes and suggest new revisions for the code.

With newly gathered critiques from the students, the ad-hoc committee will draft a new version of the code for SGA senators to vote on.

If the newly revised honor code passes the student senate, it will then be sent to the faculty senate.  If the code passes the faculty senate, the general faculty will vote on the honor code and, presuming there is a general consensus, it will be put into effect.

The new honor code will differ from the code established in the fall because it will consist of one complete document covering both academic affairs and student affairs.

“We’ve combined the academic code of conduct with the student code of conduct,” Cody Simpson, SGA treasurer, said.

The purpose of combining these two documents is to make it easier for FMU students to understand both the academic and professional behavior that is expected of them.

Honor codes, which are found in universities nationwide and date back to the late 1700s, are growing in popularity among institutions that do not currently have one.

Their primary function is to make sure students are conducting themselves in a civilized and responsible manner and are showcasing academic integrity while attending the university and even after they graduate.

According to the FMU honor code, students stand to benefit in various ways.

One benefit is that it “promotes responsibility and civility among students.”

Another benefit of the honor code is that it “creates a supportive peer environment that affirms honesty and discourages cheating.”

Besides helping one another to behave in an honest manner, students are encouraged to report any acts of dishonesty that they may notice.

Yet another benefit is that the code “lasts beyond graduation, encouraging a lifelong adherence to the honor code.”

According to Simpson, graduating from a university with an honor code will impress potential employers because they will know the student was expected to conduct him or herself in an honest, professional and responsible manner, three traits key for success in any job.

“It will set you apart from others,” Simpson said.

Simpson wants to make sure all FMU students attend the meeting and that all student organizations are represented as well.

He also said that he wants to make sure that students are aware that because the newly revised honor code is a work in progress, the meeting will serve as a sort of mediator in getting the code passed. Students hold the power in deciding whether or not the current honor code is revised and put into effect.