Honor Committee continues discussion of proposed Informed Retraction reform

Committee discusses fairness, roles of vice chairs in working with students


Christopher Benos, a fourth-year College student and Committee member, said the importance of  Committee vice chairs is ensuring that every student going through the Honor process has a fair experience. 

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

The Honor Committee continued discussion Sunday of a proposed reform to the Informed Retraction process. The proposal was introduced to the Committee last weekend by Devin Rossin, a fourth-year College student and Honor Committee chair. 

The new proposal would allow students to include multiple singular offenses under one IR, even if the offenses occurred under different contexts. 

Under the current IR system, a student who has been reported to the Committee for an alleged Honor violation is permitted to admit to their offense and take a full two-semester leave of absence. An IR can only cover one alleged offense unless multiple offenses are clearly linked by a “single nexus of events.” 

Rossin said that he believes the current IR process is “unnecessarily restrictive” and that much of the existing language is arbitrary, expanding on his statements last week that the proposal was conceived to help facilitate a fairer process within Honor. Additionally, Rossin said that students should be given the opportunity to come clean on any and all offenses they may have committed during their time as a University student. 

Much of the Committee’s discussion about the proposed reform revolved around how to make the reform as fair as possible and how vice chairs would operate in order to increase fairness and establish a foundation of “good faith” for students going through the IR process. 

Christopher Benos, a fourth-year College student and Committee member, spoke about cultivating a fair system through the proposal and the importance of vice Committee chairs in ensuring that every student going through the Honor process has a fair experience. 

“I think the Committee has a consensus that the intent behind this proposal is positive and looks to make the system simpler and fairer,” Benos said. “A large part of discussion has revolved around adding much more coherent and explicit standards for how the vice chairs will evaluate … [making] sure that every student has the same opportunity to have the same kind of IR and [Conscientious Retraction] from year to year.”

Law student and Committee member Owen Gallogly also spoke to the importance of the vice chairs in ensuring fairness during the process.

“The discretion of the vice chairs and whether they’ll be able to, basically in their sole discretion, accept or reject IRs in which the reporter does not sign off on their amends is a pretty important one,” Gallogly said.

The Committee did not make any formal decision Sunday about the IR reform process but agreed to continue discussion of the potential changes at their next meeting. 

The Committee briefly discussed upcoming University elections, which will be held Feb. 21-23. Voting booths established in conjunction with University Judiciary Committee and University Board of Elections will be established at numerous locations throughout Grounds to increase voter turnout.

The Honor Committee's next general body meeting will be held in conjunction with the University Judiciary Committee Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

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