Honor Committee representative introduces additional admissions IR proposal

The bylaw change would allow students to admit to additional offenses beyond what they have been reported for

Honor Committee representative Owen Gallogly introduced an additional admissions informed retraction proposal at the Committee's Sunday meeting. Kate Bellows | Cavalier Daily

At the Honor Committee meeting Sunday evening, Owen Gallogly, a Law student and Honor Committee representative, proposed to change the informed retraction bylaws to allow students to admit additional offenses under one informed retraction, or IR.

The IR allows a student who has been reported for an Honor offense (lying, cheating or stealing) to admit guilt, make amends with involved parties and take a two-semester leave of absence. Currently, if an accused student takes the IR and then is found guilty of a separate Honor offense, he or she must leave the University permanently.

The bylaw change would allow students taking the IR to admit to additional offenses, such as having cheated on another test in the same course.

“The idea of the additional admissions language is so that now the student will, when they are reported to Honor and they get their IR letter, which tells them what they’ve been reported for and explains the IR process to them, they would be able to admit to not just the things they’ve been reported for, but also additional offenses,” Gallogly said in an interview. “For example, ‘I’ve been reported for cheating on tests 1 and 2, I also want to admit I cheated on test 3.’ That would be able to be included in their IR.”

Gallogly, who was one of the drafters of the original IR, said the change is meant to address both philosophical and practical concerns with the IR.

“Philosophically, we tell people it’s to come clean and make amends, but actually, it’s a limited opportunity to come clean,” Gallogly said. “Practically, we wanted to address the concern that reporters, either knowingly or unknowingly, might subsequently discover additional offenses or hold offenses back and only report a certain number, which would limit the student’s ability to take the IR for all those offenses.”

If the bylaw passes in Committee, Gallogly said, a student will be able to take the IR for all offenses committed and not have to worry about the actions of the reporter.

“I’m going to discuss them with Committee next Sunday,” Gallogly said. “I’m not sure how much pushback, questions or concerns, or amendments we’ll have to have, but I would like to have them passed by [winter break].”

The bylaw has been finalized and reviewed by legal counsel. If it passes, the change will not be in effect until April 1.

“What we’ve been doing with all our bylaw changes is postdating them, saying all the changes we make will go into effect April 1,” Gallogly said. “That way we can consolidate them in one new set of bylaws and not have to update them every day and wonder which set of bylaws controls which case.”

Before Gallogly presented his proposal, Phoebe Willis, a Law and Darden student and chair of the Honor Audit Commission, introduced a three-page preliminary report on the Honor system. HAC, which has been working on the report for more than a year, presented the preliminary findings in preparation for the Popular Assembly, which kicks off Monday with a town hall.

“The Commission has focused its conversation around three key problems that the Honor system faces, identifying various contributing factors to those problems, and offering potential solutions which might begin to address those factors,” the preliminary report read.

The three problems are categorized under “Representation,” “Community of Trust” and “Buy-In.”

“Representation” addresses minority representation in the support officer pool and perceptions that the Honor system has a disproportionate negative impact on minorities at the University. “Community of Trust” deals with students’ view that the community of trust mistakenly only applies to the Honor system. “Buy-In” covers student belief and knowledge of the Honor system.

“We do have survey data that will back up a lot of different things,” Willis said. “The final report is coming at the end of the semester.”

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