The Cavalier Daily
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Vote for Option 2

The non-binding pursuit of a multiple-sanction honor system should not be controversial

This spring, students will vote on two amendments to the Honor Committee’s constitution. One of them pertains to the single sanction and contains two options, one which affirms the single sanction and another which grants the committee the power to “impose lesser sanctions,” allowing for the establishment of a multiple sanction system. Although we as an editorial board are divided in our views of the single sanction, we share the belief that Option 2, which would allow for the possibility of such a system, is the right choice for students.

If Option 1 passes, then nothing changes except for the formal inclusion of the Conscientious Retraction and Informed Retraction in the single sanction clause of the committee’s constitution. Alternatively, if Option 2 passes, then there would no longer be a constitutional barrier to a multi-sanction system, though the change would not formally implement such a system. The committee would then form an independent review commission composed of various members of the University community who would rewrite the existing Honor by-laws to recommend a system with multiple sanctions.

Introducing a change as significant as a multiple sanction system cannot happen overnight. If the committee were to implement such a system it might require several years to do so, as has been the case with other schools’ honor systems, according to the committee. If the student body passes Option 2 of the amendment, then this transition will be much easier, as the independent review commission will rewrite the by-laws as necessary in order to create the structure to support a system with multiple sanctions.

Additionally, while this outcome would not necessarily mean that the committee will adopt a multiple sanction system, it would bring us a step closer toward envisioning what such a system could look like at the University. Per the committee, if Option 2 were to pass, then there would be “extensive polling of the student body to determine what type of multiple-sanction system students prefer.” This information would be valuable in understanding how our peers would want a multiple sanction system to operate if the committee were to adopt one at the independent review commission’s recommendation.

With the struggle to maintain institutional memory in our student organizations, given our high student turnover rate, every time the single sanction comes under scrutiny future committees will come upon the same barriers: a need for research and time to organize and implement a new system. Option 2 would allow this current committee to get that process underway for future ones. We owe it to future students of the University to make this shift easier should they decide they want this system.