This year Allegheny celebrates the 50th anniversary of its honor code, a system designed for students to ensure academic integrity at the college.
The Honor Code Committee is currently made up of 12 students from the sophomore, junior and senior classes as well as Dean of Students Joseph DiChristina.
The Honor Committee Education Chair Kushtrim Miftari, ’15, describes the honor code as a way to promote academic integrity throughout the student body and a privilege student’s receive in the classroom.
“The honor code isn’t something that makes cheating easier,” said Miftari. “It’s something that professors and the institution gives trust onto that you won’t cheat and so as part of the honor committee I want to help educate people and help promote academic integrity and its importance. The code provides so many benefits to the student body and honestly we have no alternative, and I think most students at this school believe in the code and believe in academic integrity and upholding it. There’s no reason to vote no for the code. It doesn’t harm anyone.”
Every three years an honor code referendum is put before the student body to approve or disapprove the honor code. For any action to be taken, a majority of the student body must vote.
This year’s voting opened on April 9. After the initial voting period ended and no majority was reached, DiChristina sent out a second email on April 14 to inform the students of an extension to the voting period.
The voting extension proved to find the majority vote.
“The referendum did pass 954 to 75,” DiChristina said in an email. “We had to keep the vote open for part of this week as the honor code constitution calls for a majority of students in the three rising classes to participate before we can count the vote.”
If the honor code referendum did not reach a majority vote in favor of passing, many of the staples of what makes Allegheny unique would have been eliminated. For example, professors would proctor exams and students would not be allowed freedom to find their own space within the academic building while taking an exam or final, which many students find helpful during the test-taking process.
“It’s kind of nice not having a professor breathing down your neck when you’re taking an exam and having the freedom to move about the building and do your thing,” said Abby Conlon, ’16.
Some students were surprised at how long it took to reach that majority vote.
“I mean it’s been around for so long and it’s not really a detriment. I think it’s kind of nice and gives us freedom, so I voted,” said Conlon.
Next year, the Honor Committee plans on enhancing student accountability in terms of academic integrity and increasing education of the student body. Results from the survey on academic integrity that was presented earlier this semester will also be shared next fall.