UT may change honor code after Powers’ review

David Maly

The University may see changes to its honor code when President William Powers, Jr. reviews a recently completed report on its effectiveness.

UT officials created a University Honor Code Task Force this past spring in order to evaluate the effectiveness of UT’s honor code and recommend any necessary changes. The task force is made up of faculty, students and administration and is overseen by the Academic Integrity Committee, an organization that works to increase the visibility of the honor code and promote integrity on campus.

Linda Golden, Honor Code Task Force chairwoman and professor of marketing administration, said the report was delivered to Powers last week, and what comes next will be up to him. Golden refused to release any details about the report or background on the task force.

Adopted in 2004 by UT President Larry Faulkner, the current honor code reads as follows: “The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness and respect toward peers and community.”

Until recently, all UT students learned about the honor code during orientation. This year, officials sent out the honor code to students to read as a part of their pre-orientation assignments.

Michael Morton, journalism senior and president of the Senate of College Councils, said the main issue that led to the task force being created was lack of student knowledge about the honor code.

“[The University] has done surveys and gotten student opinions on the matter, and the fact is that not a lot of students know what our honor code is or that we even have one,” he said.

Morton said the general goal of the report is to increase student involvement and increase the effectiveness of the honor code.

“It was just realizing that academic integrity required a stronger presence than it now has on campus,” he said. “The task force has taken a lot of steps to make sure that we are increasing the availability of the code, including looking at the student misconduct process and possibly revising the code itself.”

Andrew Clark, international relations and global studies junior and a member of the Honor Code Task Force, said the task force is more than an organization working on policy; it’s a symbol of UT’s dedication to integrity.

“The honor code is critical, because it serves as a guiding principle at our institution,” he said. “It serves as a standard that all students should uphold, and I think the creation of this task force is great because it shows that this code is still so important to UT.”

Peter Wong, a computer science sophomore and co-chair of the Academic Integrity Committee, said the honor code’s importance to UT is vital, making the work of this committee extremely important.

“The honor code is the standard that students abide by,” he said. “Whenever they’re engaged in academic activities throughout campus, in their daily routine or elsewhere, it’s a set of values and ideas that really strengthens why we’re Longhorns and why we’re at UT.”