UT Senate finalizes new honor code


Taylor Barron

Senate of College Councils President Michael Morton, Academic Integrity Committee co-chairs Peter Paul Wong and Shahana Momin, Policy Director Josh Fjelstul and Vice President Andrew Clark present legislation piece S.R. 1203 in support of a new honor code for The University of Texas at Austin.

Lazaro Hernandez

The Senate of College Councils adopted a proposal for a new University honor code Wednesday, a move that organization president Michael Morton believes will increase academic integrity at the University.

The new honor code will read: “As a student of the University of Texas at Austin, I shall abide by the core values of the University and uphold academic integrity.”

“This is something that students are going to be held to, and it’s going to be something that they as students in the University of Texas at Austin will live by,” Morton said. “This is forming how the culture will be in the University in terms of academic integrity.”

UT President William Powers Jr. first introduced the idea to implement a new honor code last spring semester when he established an Honor Code Task Force to investigate the effectiveness of the current honor code in the University, Morton said. Powers said in June that he wanted greater student involvement in the creation and implementation of the new honor code.

“One thing needed was more student involvement in the implementation, or what you might call enforcement, of the honor code,” Powers said. “I think a lot of universities have student panels and groups that help complement the honor code, and it seems like a fruitful idea.”

Senate reached the final wording of the new honor code Oct. 11 at a president’s committee meeting, taking student input into consideration, Morton said.

“Students were divided in terms of those who wanted the code to be very actionable and those who wanted a more positive tone for it,” Morton said. “So that is where we came up with the compromise for this honor code, which is both actionable and accomplishes what we wanted but also has a more positive tone for students.”

The current honor code was adopted in 2004 by former UT President Larry Faulkner. The honor code reads: “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.”

Peter Paul Wong, co-chair of the Senate’s Academic Integrity Committee, helped write the new honor code proposal with other members of the committee. He said replacing the current honor code is necessary because it is difficult to implement.

“It is very hard to say when someone is violating the current honor code, because it is not really a statement that is strong or has a particular action to it,” Wong said. “It is very vague and very narrow, and it is not as specific as the one we proposed.”

Senate will submit the new honor code to Powers for final approval.

Printed on Friday, October 19, 2012 as: UT Senate files new honor code