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Honor Committee to potentially update Informed Retraction policy

Despite choosing new dorm representatives, IR Working Group reviews procedures of the two-term leave of absence

<p>The working group's recommendations won't be ready until the end of the semester, and West expects to review them in more detail during the spring semester.</p>

The working group's recommendations won't be ready until the end of the semester, and West expects to review them in more detail during the spring semester.

Over the past two weeks, the Honor Committee has been discussing plans to possibly update the Informed Retraction policy.

An Informed Retraction, which is an extension of the Conscientious Retraction, allows accused students to plead guilty to charges brought to them by the committee. The students must take a full two-semester leave of absence as well as admitting guilt to all affected parties.

“The IR Working Group was formed at the beginning of the semester to study the current policies and procedures pertaining to the IR and to consider ways to make the IR as fair and effective a policy as possible,” Honor Chair Matt West, a fourth-year College student, said.

The group will continue to work throughout the semester and see if reforms need to be made for the IR and how it is used by the Honor Committee. They plan to submit a report to the committee by the end of the semester, West said.

“In this report, the group will propose reforms to the IR that the Committee will then consider early next semester,” West said. “It isn't possible to say what their final proposals will be at this time, but some will likely explore ways to make the IR a more expansive option for investigated students.”

West also said the working group’s goal is to study how support could be improved for students that have submitted and completed an IR. This review includes the evaluating of the by-laws that dictate whether students can submit an IR for more than one offense.

Currently, students may only submit an IR once for a single Honor offense during their time as a student.

The committee also wants to look at its role in the IR process and how certain groups are affected by that process, Sarah Wyckoff, third-year College student and vice chair for investigation, said at the meeting.

“Something that we are talking about is different student groups and how they are affected by the IR,” Wyckoff said. “Essentially this is talking about high areas where it may not be proportional and then possible solutions moving forward as well.”

An example of these affected groups was brought up by Corinne Thomas, fourth-year Commerce student and chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee, in the form of students in special programs.

“One of the students disproportionately affected by the IR was brought up at the last faculty meeting,” Thomas said. “One of the professors expressed the concern about students who have nontraditional timelines with their programs. For example, the professor has a nursing student who is in a three term program, so it’s fall, spring and summer. Summer is counted as a full academic term in their program, but because the IR did not recognized summer, she was set back even more in her program.”

The IR Working Group review will not be complete until the end of this semester with decisions on possible changes not being brought to the table until next semester.

The committee also introduced its new dorm representatives for the academic year. This included 28 first-year students who were selected through an application process to represent their dorms.

“The application was meant to be really short with a couple questions — which is about really important information about Honor as well as some open ended questions about what it means to be a representative,” Caroline Herre, an Architecture graduate student and Honor representative, said.

The new representatives will going through a training session this coming week and will then be allowed to start their positions full-time in their respective dorms.