Honor elects 2015-16 executive board

All races contested, subcommittee chairs yet to be determined

The University Honor Committee elected its executive board for the 2015-16 academic term this weekend during an Honor Committee retreat at Graves Mountain Lodge.

Third-year Commerce student Faith Lyons was elected chair, third-year College student Russell Bogue was elected vice chair for trials, third-year Commerce student Avery Rasmussen was elected vice chair for investigations, third-year Architecture student Caroline Herre was elected vice chair for education and second-year College student Vj Jenkins was elected vice chair for community relations. The executive board members will assume office Apr. 6.

Each of the five elections was contested. Three candidates ran for both the positions of chair and vice chair for trials.

Current Honor Chair Nick Hine, fourth-year College student, said candidates gave a speech and answered questions from the newly-elected Committee members, who then voted on the new executive board positions.

“The chair elections took nearly seven hours, while the Vice Chair positions each took around two or more hours,” Hine said. “I facilitated the chair election, and Faith, the chair-elect, facilitated the vice chair elections.”

The three student-sponsored referenda that were passed last month were prominently discussed at the Retreat over the weekend.

“One thing that became very clear throughout weekend, in light of the referenda, is that we are committed and excited to change the way we talk to students and the way we gather input,” Lyons said. “When I ran for chair, it was on everyone’s mind to make this a big part of the term.”

Rasmussen agreed that the reforms stipulated in the referenda could pose difficulties for the new committee.

“We are going to be challenged in deciding how to proceed and we are going to have to change how our system looks in the future,” Rasmussen said. “This committee is going to be involved in shaping how Honor will look in the coming years.”

The referenda includes the possibility of adopting a multi-sanction policy which would replace the single-sanction policy currently in effect.

“I think this year is a big year for Honor and a big year for our University in how we handle the referenda — how we use the feedback from students will make a big difference,” Lyons said. “With the referenda, we have to include something regarding multi-sanction next spring, and that could be a huge change.”

The newly-elected Committee members also stressed the importance of becoming more engaged with the student body and University community.

“Some of the challenges we will face are old ones we inherit from previous Committees,” Bogue said. “How do we reach out to students who feel either alienated by or apathetic about the honor system? How can we better engage these students and make them feel ownership over this system?”

Rasmussen echoed Bogue’s concerns about whether students actually feel they have a vested interest in the honor system.

“Students purportedly elect their Honor representatives but how many students actually feel represented?” Rasmussen said. “I’m not sure students feel ownership over the system… We are really going to have to focus on engaging the students and communities.”

Herre said she looks forward to working with all Committee members in order to further the Committee’s influence in student and academic communities.

“I think the passion for honor and everything it can be really came through over the weekend, and I am excited to keep this spirit going for the whole year,” Herre said. “I think in my position, I will be working very closely with the vice-chair of community relations to continue to build relationships in communities where honor has not been as present and will be working with every member to do more in other schools outside the College.”

The Committee has yet to elect internal subcommittee chairs, and the date of these elections has yet to be determined. Subcommittees include the faculty advisory committee and the policy and procedures committee.

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