DEEKENS: Shall Honor Live?

 As a part of The Cavalier Daily’s 130 year anniversary, we are republishing articles from our archive. This article originally ran in The Cavalier Daily Nov. 18, 1943. 

In the past few months a distressing change in attitude of the student body towards its Honor System has become painfully evident.

An increasing lack of both confidence and interest in the proper enforcement of the code seems to be the outstanding manifestation of this change. This trend towards mistrust and indifferences has its principal origin in the everchanging University conditions which have accompanied the War.

The growing belief among many students that it is useless to report to the Honor Committee a breach of honor by a Navy trainee has no basis whatsoever— for the Naval officials have cooperated to the fullest extent in removing from the University those trainees who have been found guilty of an honor violation.

We, like so many other American colleges, have seen the composition of our student body altered far more frequently than in peacetime, the result being a continuing scarcity of upper-classmen in the College. In normal times it was this group upon whom was placed the greatest trust in perpetuation the effectiveness of the Honor System. It was their all-important task of providing adequate orientation to University life and traditions for the first year men. They, too, were looked upon to set the example for enforcing the code.

The problem of adapting new students to the Virginia “way of life” has grown proportionately as the number of upper-classmen has decreased. The latest result is the failure of nearly four-fifths of the class which entered on November to sign the usual statement of their acceptance of our code of honor.

To the new College officers who are to be elected next week we shall leave the task of providing proper instruction in the tradition of honor for new students. But to no single group can we afford to leave the task of enforcing our ethical code — for only by the combined and concentrated endeavor of the entire student body can we hope to perpetuate the Virginia Honor System.

Transcribed by Audrey Fahlberg

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