HAC hosts faculty panel to discuss honor

This week, students experienced a reminder of the pledge they made as freshmen at FASET when the Honor Advisory Council (HAC) sponsored Honor Week.

Every fall, Tech’s incoming freshmen pledge to uphold the Institute’s Academic Honor Code. For some students, this first exposure to the Honor Code is often their last. HAC’s goal with Honor Week is to remind students of that pledge as Finals Week rapidly approaches.

“Everyone gets really stressed…we thought this would be a really good time to do it,” said Anna Skipper, the HAC Chair.

On Wednesday, HAC sponsored a question and answer panel with professors and administrators, giving students the chance to ask questions about student integrity. Participating in the panel were Senior Vice Provost Andy Smith, Director of Undergraduate Studies Dana Hartley, Associate Dean of Students and Interim Director of Student Integrity Cara Appel-Silbaugh and professor in the School of Mathematics and Integrity Committee Chair Tom Morley.

“It’s a great opportunity to talk to people you usually don’t get to see,” Skipper said.

Communication, according to the panel, is the biggest issue in improving campus wide integrity. Students frequently are unaware of details involving Honor Code violations, the sanctioning process, and their rights throughout.

“The challenge is communication,” Hartley said.

The panel addressed not only student Honor Code violations, but issues with faculty’s handling of violations as well, particularly in how professors have often failed to report Honor Code violations in their classrooms. While failure to report used to be a serious issue, efforts to educate faculty on the process of reporting a violation has helped this problem to be diminished.

“It was well known that it was quite common,” Morley said.

HAC members, through Honor Week and the Faculty Panel, hope to remind students of the pledge they agreed to and show them resources available when faced when challenging academic ethical issues.

Some students view cheating as a necessary evil of going to a school as difficult as Tech.

“Not that I’m condoning cheating, but there are some classes that are so hard, almost no one would be able to pass without a little help,” said Jana Rossouw, a first-year ARCH major.

HAC members and the members on the panel agreed that the breaking of the Honor Code is often not a premeditated act.

“Most incidences of academic dishonesty are of the moment,” Morley said.

Skipper said HAC is always available.

“We know that this is a stressful place… we’re students too. We want to advise you on these issues,” Skipper said.