On Jan. 26, the Colorado College student body voted and approved revisions to the school’s Honor Code. Students were first notified about the proposed changes at the beginning of Block 4. The new changes aim to provide clarity and transparency for students about the Honor Council’s process and guidelines.
The primary change to the Honor Code was adding flagrancy to the Code’s list of potential violations. Flagrant violations are ones that exhibit a blatant disregard for the code and for Colorado College’s standards for academic integrity. Additionally, “falsifying Information” (i.e. lying to a professor, lying to the Honor Council during investigation, faking data or sources) is now categorized as a flagrant violation.
The revisions were spearheaded by Mayss Al Alami ’17, Stephanie Kelly ’18, and Brittany Camacho ’18, according to Alison Baird, the Honor Council’s Officer of Recruitment. Outreach efforts intended to inform the student body of the changes prior to the vote were led by Kate Schroeder ’19.
Mark Scaggs ’18, co-chair of the Honor Council, was also involved in updating the code. “[The revisions] were proposed because Council members wanted to underline the importance of flagrancy in the Honor Code, and additionally felt the need to underline infractions like lying to professors to gain an advantage as a blatant disregard of the code,” said Scaggs. Scaggs also noted that the changes were initially proposed early in the 2016–2017 academic year, indicating the lengthy process involved in updating the Honor Code.
The changes have been, and continue to be, communicated to both the faculty and the students. “In the weeks before the vote to revise the code, we made sure to advertise the implications of such changes through posters and tabling,” said Scaggs. On the day before the vote, students on the Honor Council also walked around with informational handouts encouraging the student body to participate in the vote. The Honor Council plans to continue their outreach campaign regarding the updated Honor Code in the new semester. “We hope to include a presentation to faculty as well as a dialogue luncheon with the student body,” Scaggs said about their plans for the next steps following the vote.
With the new changes in effect, it is important to identify how they will impact both students directly involved with the Honor Council and the college’s population as a whole. “For the average student, the most recent changes in the Honor Code add some much-needed transparency to our investigative process, and are much clearer about the definition of flagrancy,” said Scaggs. “In addition, the revisions eliminate unnecessary steps in the code.”
The new revisions have removed a step in the process of identifying flagrancy, thus expediting a student’s hearing. Scaggs noted that the removal of this step does not detract from students’ advocacy process.
The updated Honor Code aims to help in the Honor Council’s investigation process while also ensuring that it gives the student body is given definitive explanations of terms and standards. The updated Honor Code helps “to clarify one of the more serious violation types to the student body. . . [and to] solidify student accountability and faculty–student trust,” said Scaggs. Though the process to put these changes into effect was extensive, they ultimately aim to foster a more concrete understanding of the Honor Code and council by the general student population.