“When students hear information about academic dishonesty from their fellow students, it has greater impact than when it comes from administrators,” said Gary M. Pavela, a former director of academic integrity at Syracuse University who has also consulted with other institutions about their disciplinary processes. “If you have a student talking to other students about academic integrity, that’s when you begin to change your culture.”
But Lake said that student representation in the disciplinary process often only works if a campus culture centered on integrity already exists.
For some, an honor code—a policy formally trusting students to uphold ethical standards without policing—would set the stage for even greater trust of students, as judges in the disciplinary process.
Stanford University has long had an honor code, and in 1997, it replaced its disciplinary board with one that included students. The justification: all members of the university community governed by the honor code should have a role in enforcing that policy.
Biology professor Richard M. Losick said that he thinks that Harvard would benefit from both an honor code and student representation.
“It would put the responsibility on students for their own behavior,” he said, adding that as a student at Princeton, he felt the honor code inspired honesty.
At Harvard, the Committee on Academic Integrity, first convened in fall 2010, is currently debating instituting an honor code.
Last week, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris, who chairs the committee, wrote in an emailed statement that the committee is not yet ready to release any information about its discussions. But in the wake of the Government 1310 scandal, some have called for Harvard to turn these talks into policy.
And as the honor code talks continue and the student government lobbies for a student role with the Ad Board, one long-time observer of Harvard’s disciplinary process still sounds a harsh note of pessimism.
“Right now, the administration has total control of the Ad Board. As soon as you put students on, you don’t have total control,” Silverglate said. “Until there’s a major shift in Harvard’s culture towards openness, I don’t think there’s going to be a student on the Ad Board.”
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