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Honor Committee provides semester review and future agenda

Honor members highlighted the Committee’s most notable accomplishments thus far and provided insight on plans for spring semester

<p>Lillie Lyon is a fourth-year College student and chair of the Honor Committee.</p>

Lillie Lyon is a fourth-year College student and chair of the Honor Committee.

Honor’s Committee Chair Lillie Lyon, Vice Chair for Community Relations Lucy Krasker, and Vice Chair for Hearings Alex Spratley  reflected on the Committee’s policy changes and main events throughout this past semester. The members also outlined their goals for the upcoming spring semester. 

Lyon, a fourth-year in the College, noted the implementation of the internal disciplinary proceedings disclosure policy to be one of Honor’s main achievements this semester. This policy requires Committee members and Support Officers to disclose information to the Executive Committee in the event that they are involved in a University disciplinary or external criminal proceeding. 

“The goal of this policy is to hold members of the Honor Committee and Support Officer pool accountable, ensuring that we’re made aware when behavioral concerns arise and are taking timely and appropriate action,” Lyon said.

Honor also hosted its biennial Popular Assembly Nov. 6 through Nov. 10, an event which was meant to encourage communication and transparency between the University’s student body and the Committee. Vice Chair for Education, Mary Beth Barksdale, organized a series of events that took place throughout the week. 

The Popular Assembly began with an open invitation to a meet and greet with Committee members and community leaders on the South Lawn. Other events included a debate on the sanctioning of U.Va.’s Honor System, a faculty dinner and an open-invite meeting. The Executive Committee deemed the Popular Assembly a success.

A fourth-year Commerce student, Krasker noted the expansion of the Committee’s co-sponsorship budget from $10,000 to $15,000 this semester. The Committee has partnered with nearly 20 University organizations to help sponsor events and plans to continue to expand and diversify the list in the future. 

Also new this semester, Lyon and Krasker implemented a policy into the Committee’s co-sponsorship guidelines that allows a follow-up, educational event to take place after Honor’s cooperation with another organization.

“We strive to build relationships with organizations we co-sponsor,” Krasker said. “Adding this Honor education event in the process increased our knowledge impact, maintaining relationships after the event has passed.”

Spratley, a fourth-year in the College, emphasized the division of the Support Officer Pool as another notable effort of the Committee this semester. Support Officers serve the Committee as investigators, advisors and educators, providing counsel and managing case processing. Now, Support Officers will be trained for just one of these three roles, further specifying their responsibilities to the Committee. 

“I think this change is hugely beneficial,” Spratley said. “It allows for more specialized recruitment, training and experience, which I think will improve our case processing.”

Executive Committee members expressed agreement that one of the biggest challenges Honor has faced this semester is a lack of the proper amount of time necessary to confront all of the issues the Committee wishes to address. 

Lyon accredited this issue to the policy making process, acknowledging that “policies can take a substantial amount of time to develop, refine and implement.”

Despite the constraints of their one-year term limit, the Committee has several plans for the upcoming semester. Particularly, the Committee plans to address questions surrounding the Committee’s jurisdiction in the event that a non-degree-seeking-student commits an honor offence. 

In addition, the Joint Cases Working Group is set to present proposals to the Committee next semester, regarding how the Committee should approach cases that involve multiple offenders. Spratley conveyed the importance of this project in light of the increased number of joint cases the Committee has recently received.

Lyon expressed her satisfaction with the Committee’s progress thus far.

“I am very proud of what we have achieved this far in the term, and I think we have struck a good balance between continuing to progress and ensuring that we’re giving each proposal the proper time and attention,” Lyon said.