The Cavalier Daily
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Honor Committee endorsements

The Editorial Board endorses nine Honor representative candidates

This year, nine candidates running to be Honor representatives for the University sought endorsements from the Cavalier Daily: five candidates for the College, one for the Curry School, one for Batten School and two candidates for the Engineering School. Of these candidates, the Cavalier Daily has elected to endorse Christopher Benos, Jeffrey Warren, Sarah Killian, Devin Rossin and Amy Dalrymple from the College; Al Ahmed from the Curry School and Lucie Oken from Batten.

Benos has previously chaired Honor’s Outreach Committee and has consistently been committed to reaching out to international students and students of color. He believes that a diverse collection of student voices in Honor is necessary to set feasible goals and to make any changes to the current system. This is in indirect reference to the most recent attempt to amend the Committee’s constitution. Benos believes the fact that the 58.8 percent vote to the recent multi-sanction amendment led to nothing but discussion is a sign that something needs to change. Benos came into the University with an optimistic outlook on the single sanction system. However, he realized not everyone has the same resources and that international, transfer and athletic students are disproportionately affected. Benos wants to hear the different perspectives and to open discussion and critique, in order to have tangible facts to work towards an effective multi-sanction system. Additionally, he wants to get faculty more involved with the Honor system and to be more educated and engaged, especially because professors are students’ main source of information.

Warren stood out for his extensive service as an advisor and investigation coordinator, positions which have helped him become a senior support trainer. Along with this deep institutional knowledge, Warren critiqued Honor as traditionalist and often out of touch with the views of students. In response to these issues, Warren has worked to diversify the support officer pool, and he wants to see Honor promptly take stances on matters like hate speech. Warren believes that Honor can become a more trusted, better integrated organization by supporting social movements important to the University community. In addition to seeking out a more diverse membership, Warren wants to expand membership among first- and second-years to improve case processing and ensure that the Committee continues to have experienced and well-trained upper-class members. With a strong belief in Honor as an important moral institution at the University and demonstrated commitment to making the Committee more diverse and representative, Warren would be an invaluable addition to the Honor Committee.

Killian has been involved with the Honor Committee since her first year at the University and has since decided to address certain issues in Honor including transparency, justice, education, outreach and representation. Killian impressed us with her emphasis on keeping both students and faculty informed about the Honor process as well as what is to be discussed during the panels. She believes that if students are aware of the agenda, they will be more engaged and more proactive about issues regarding Honor. In regards to Informed Retraction, Killian notes that international students and undergraduates of lower socioeconomic backgrounds are disproportionately affected by the IR and believes the system should work towards finding a solution to the problem rather than simply addressing it. Killian’s willingness to make sure student voices are heard as well as to maintain the integrity and respectability of the Honor system is what earned her the Editorial Board’s endorsement.

Rossin impressed us with his extensive hands-on experience in almost every part of the Honor system having taken on 21 cases as a support officer in addition to organizing education events and coordinating first-year outreach. He emphasized the need for Honor to take stances on relevant social issues, and he hopes to bring Safe Space or Green Dot training to all Honor representatives. Rossin pointed to several areas where he has perceived a lack in Honor’s outreach and mediation efforts, including with minority groups and Greek life. Repeatedly, Rossin noted the need for making dialogue and education translate into tangible policy. In particular, he sees the need to assess how Honor impacts international students with visas, as well as policies on contributing mental disorders. Rossin’s platform centers around bringing increased power to the student body. On the question of a multi-sanction system Rossin said he will support the choice of the students, and he also expressed support for lowering the majority threshold to 55 percent. To ensure Honor’s full commitment to a diverse student body, Rossin wants to initiate regular meetings and education events for the recently formed Community Relations and Diversity Advisory Committee. He critiqued the committee’s slow start, and stressed the need for internal accountability on diversity. A vocal advocate for Honor as the moral backbone of the University yet an outspoken critic of the organization’s need for increased transparency and student engagement, Rossin will work to turn current concerns about Honor into meaningful policy decisions.

Ahmed described a gap between Honor and the Curry School, and he is dedicated to expanding Honor’s educational efforts. Having served for two years as an Honor dorm representative, Ahmed brings substantial knowledge of effective methods for education and student outreach. While Ahmed lacks case-processing experience, his public relations efforts as a dorm representative and his strong stance on increasing student engagement would make him a strong representative for the Curry School.

Oken brings almost two years’ experience as a support officer and joined Honor after perceiving issues with the organization’s transparency and connection with students as a first-year. Describing other Batten students’ view of Honor as resistant to change, Oken hopes to find more avenues for feedback between Honor representatives and their respective schools. Oken believes in the importance of bringing outside perspectives to Honor, and wants to improve active outreach to minority groups through community liaisons and regular meetings of the Community Relations and Diversity Advisory Committee. These proposals align with Rossin’s, and Oken noted that she and Rossin both want Honor to be an ally to students with a more active role in the community overall. Oken questions the fairness of current policy on contributing mental disorders, specifically the way in which students cannot identify their disorder as evidence in a trial. Oken takes a nuanced view of the single sanction, having supported it before taking on a number of cases which made her see the potential benefits of a multi-sanction system. With an overall message of increasing transparency and making Honor more receptive to the concerns of students, Oken would bring a critical and constructive mindset to the Honor Committee. Oken demonstrated a clear desire to bring Honor into conversation with Batten students who view it as inaccessible and out-of-touch, and she would be a strong Honor representative for the Batten School.

Dalrymple did not directly engage with Honor during her first year, but was a support officer during her second year. For this reason, she understands the inner workings of the Committee. Dalrymple has a similar opinion to Benos in regards to last year’s 58.8 percent vote on the multi-sanction amendment. She feels that percentage cannot be ignored. As an Honor representative, Dalrymple feels that it would be her responsibility to make sure that she prioritizes the student body’s desires over her own, and that those desires are put into action. She describes the Honor community as one that cannot stay stagnant, needs change and must evolve as the student body evolves. In order for that to happen, Dalrymple feels that Honor needs to become more transparent and open to students. This transparency would be in the form of weekly town hall meetings where previously unheard students can voice their opinions.