Honor Committee endorses reform proposal

Proposal replaces random student juries with elected representative panel, introduces informed retraction option for accused students

The Honor Committee voted Monday afternoon to support the Restore the Ideal Act. The act includes an informed-retraction option, which would allow students to admit honor offenses after a report has been filed against them and return to the University following a yearlong suspension. It also calls for honor trial juries to be comprised of only elected Committee representatives.

The proposal, formerly titled Back to Basics, passed 25-1 following weekly discussions among Committee members since last semester. The proposal needed 18-of-27 votes to pass.

The proposal requires a three-fifths majority in the general student body election at the end of February to go into effect.

After filing an informed retraction students would be required to take a one-year leave of absence from the University.

The proposal also creates a panel of elected Committee representatives, who will be trained to serve as jurors in honor trials.

“Our purpose is to find a true solution to what we are facing, and the combined informed retraction and jury reform can achieve that,” Honor Committee Chair Stephen Nash said.

Architecture School representative Kaitlyn Badlato, a fourth year, was the only Committee member to oppose the proposal. She said the use of the entire student body as a jury pool for trials prevents isolating the Committee to the fourth floor of Newcomb Hall.

The Committee reviewed four separate recommendations from the Honor System Review Commission in an attempt to reform the system in 2001. “Our committee is one of the first in a long time that has strongly endorsed a needed solution to the problem all students realize,” Nash said.

The act will go into effect April 1 if approved by the student body, Nash said.
The Committee plans to launch a campaign website — honor2013.com — in an effort to engage students through large presentations and meetings with student leaders.
Nash expressed optimism about the proposal.

“As someone who wanted to join honor since coming to U.Va. and hearing about it at convocation, I truly think that this is a significant day for honor,” Nash said. “It’s a day when our committee has stood up and said that we’re going to take responsibility for this system, and we should not be satisfied until honor is a strong and crucial part of every student’s experience.”

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