However, the reach of the Honor Committee extends only to academic fraud that takes place during examinations in the classroom. Jurisdiction on academic papers, problem sets and take-home tests falls under a separate body, the Committee on Discipline (COD). Unlike the Honor Committee, the COD is composed of faculty members and University administrators as well as students. While the COD does a satisfactory job of handling cases regarding academic work, a split-jurisdiction system is not the most effective framework in which academic regulations can be upheld; instead, the Honor Committee should take on the responsibility of handling all Honor Code infractions.
Academic standards are no different for in-class exams, take-home tests, problem sets or papers; the same academic integrity is at stake if any of these are completed illegitimately. Peer institutions reasonably provide responsibility of all academic infractions to one committee. Princeton’s arbitrary division of responsibilities between two entities has caused confusion among the student body about how academic regulations are truly upheld. Such confusion demonstrates a current weakness in the school community’s understanding of the system and detracts from the fundamental ideal of students responsibly regulating their own academic conduct.
Having a unique, student-run body that deals with all academic violations would make the Honor Code clearer and would preserve and strengthen student self-regulation. Having one body deal with all instances of academic integrity would result in greater transparency of how cases are handled. This transparency could be further increased through the release of aggregated data and statistics to students. Such data would aid students in understanding and refining the Honor Code.
We find no compelling reason to believe that the Honor Committee would be unable to adequately uphold current University regulations pertaining to out-of-class work. This increase in jurisdiction ought to be accompanied by an increase in the size of the Honor Committee so that the present membership is not overburdened by the larger number of cases.
Above all, entrusting the Honor Committee with the responsibility of handling all academic work would reflect the student body’s ability to self-govern as a community of growing scholars, thus returning the Honor Code and Honor Committee to their original status as symbols of student responsibility, trust between faculty and student and academic and personal honor.
Evan Larson and Xiang Ding recused themselves from the writing of this editorial.