Honor Committee approves bylaw changes

Incoming Committee sees altered chair positions, language

nshonormbronfin086

The approved changes will go into effect August 1, 2015.

Marshall Bronfin | Cavalier Daily

The Honor Committee voted Sunday night on five proposed bylaw changes, all of which were approved.

The first proposed change was to add a record management and retention article, which puts forward that any case materials relating to any case that is dropped, dismissed or found “not guilty” must be destroyed. The case materials to all other cases will be retained.

The second proposed change was to change the definition of the role of vice chair for community relations to expand and better clarify the responsibilities of the position.

The third change was a clarification of informed retraction and the status of students’ degrees after their two-semester leave of absence is over. The new language states that after a student returns from his or her leave of absence “general faculty will confer such degree, subject to the satisfaction of any other applicable academic and/or University requirements.”

The fourth proposed change was to add that once a report has been made to the Committee, it cannot be retracted by the reporter.

The final proposed change was to add a motion to return to investigative panel under pre-trial conference, which was not previously allowed.

The Committee then voted on several wording changes in order to reduce adversarial or inaccurate language. It approved changes including rewording “trial” to “hearing,” “evidence packet” to “case packet” and “jury panel” to “student panel,” all without significant dissent.

The word “counsel” was changed to “advocate” or “investigator,” and “verdict” was changed to “decision.” Both of these decisions were met with greater dissent — four and seven Committee members disagreed with the approved changes respectively.

The Committee also voted on changing the terms “guilty” and “not guilty” to “responsible” and “not responsible,” but the measures were not passed.

Honor Chair Nicholas Hine, a fourth-year College student, said the use of “guilty” and “not guilty” better conveys the purpose of the Honor Committee.

“The way that our system is set up means that each verdict is pretty cut and dry, and the proposed wording makes this murky,” Hine said. “The new language is a little euphemistic.”

On the other hand, third-year College student Martese Johnson, vice chair for community relations, said he felt comfortable with changing the wording to “responsible” and “not responsible.”

“This new wording takes away some of the seriousness and scariness, which I think is a good thing,” Johnson said.

Lastly, the Committee passed all proposed revisions to procedures for psychological hearings on honor offenses. The changes include reorganizing the order of the process, adding new requirements — such as the submission of the expert assessment to the dean within 30 days of the initial meeting — and other small language and formatting changes.

All passed changes will go into effect Aug. 1.

related stories