Letter to the Editor: Updating the Honor Code

To the editor:

We’re writing in response to your report on the School Senate’s dialogue of proctoring to make clear our view on why the school needed to act now and to encourage the Undergraduate Senate to work with the school on enhancing educational integrity.

During the last 3 years the “C-12” committee composed of 5 college students, 5 college and two directors have labored tirelessly to review the Judicial Constitution and Honor Code. The committee was given the express objective of discovering a compromise amongst undergraduate college students, graduate college students and college. To that finish, the C-12 carried out intensive outreach each inside and outdoors Stanford, and used that info to craft modest compromise proposals. These proposals are true steps ahead to enhance educational integrity within the classroom and assist college students be taught from their errors, fairly than be unnecessarily punished. All stakeholder teams which have thought of the proposals have adopted them, with one exception: the Undergraduate Senate, who rejected the Honor Code proposal. Undergraduate representatives instructed the Senate that college students discovered a proposed research of proctoring unacceptable. 

Below the mutually agreed C-12 procedures, the Undergraduate Senate’s rejection of the C-12 proposal ended the C-12 course of as regards the Honor Code, and positioned the whole Stanford group at an deadlock. The school wish to work with college students to enhance educational integrity. Nonetheless, the Undergraduate Senate’s rejection of the modest Honor Code proposal from the C-12 signifies that they fail to understand the dire state of educational honesty on campus and are refusing to compromise to enhance the state of affairs.   

The state of affairs, each on and off campus, is dire, and with the arrival of latest know-how may be anticipated to worsen. As an illustration, the School Senate heard two weeks in the past a few distant examination in a required CS class which turned out to be tougher than anticipated, and the place there’s proof that 30-50% of the scholars cheated. Evidently as extra college students heard in regards to the dishonest, some felt they wanted to do the identical. This drawback shouldn’t be distinctive to Stanford. In exit surveys carried out by the Harvard Crimson and the Day by day Princetonian, roughly 20-30% of seniors at these establishments admit to having cheated. Regardless of the causes, the established order is essentially incompatible with Stanford’s values and can’t be allowed to proceed. This can be a view extensively held among the many college: a number of of the school who voted in opposition to our movement to proctor exams agree that the present state of affairs is unsustainable. 

Maybe most troubling, our present insurance policies and local weather put trustworthy college students in an especially troublesome place: It is extremely arduous to face by your ideas once you see classmates that cheat achieve a bonus.

To be clear, we aren’t blaming college students for the present educational local weather. The school have failed and we owe the scholars higher. Proctoring is one step in direction of the school reclaiming our duties. After all, we don’t wish to spend our time proctoring or partaking with time-consuming judicial proceedings. The view that ‘the Honor Code makes this the scholars’ drawback’ has allowed the school to neglect our duties for too lengthy. All components of our group should step up if we’re to create a local weather of true educational integrity.

Breaking with 100 years of custom was not a step taken calmly. However it’s clear that the School Senate was working effectively inside its authority and effectively throughout the spirit of earlier collaborations with college students for shared educational integrity. The Honor Code was constructed on norms of scholars monitoring one another. For instance, in 1955 the ASSU Honor Code Examine Subcommittee made a robust assertion on the duty of scholars to observe to make sure integrity. For no matter purpose, this duty seems to have languished. In accordance with the C-12 report, within the final 3 years solely 2 of the 720 studies of Honor Code violations got here immediately from college students. After all some studies have been constituted of college students to instructors first, however it’s arduous to reconcile these numbers with any substantive stage of scholar self-monitoring. We’re instructed that the C-12’s outreach classes confirmed that overwhelmingly college students don’t wish to monitor one another. There was extra consensus on this than on whether or not the school might or might not act as proctors.

Permitting proctoring is definitely not the tip of the story. As was mentioned within the School Senate, it appears doubtless that a lot dishonest occurs in settings aside from in-class exams. We have now rather more to do. Whether or not they select to let the proctoring proceed within the Autumn or favor to return to the research of proctoring proposed by the C-12, we urge the undergraduate management to have interaction with the issue of educational integrity, as the scholar representatives on C-12 did so successfully. What concepts do the scholars have to stop dishonest? What affirmative steps ahead do the scholars wish to take? College students are most likely finest positioned to give you sensible and efficient methods, in what should certainly be our shared curiosity in making certain educational integrity at Stanford.

Justin Grimmer, Professor of Political Science
Juan Santiago, Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Richard Taylor, Professor of Arithmetic