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Honor Committee discusses ways to increase engagement for the upcoming student referendum, approves new co-sponsorship

School campaigning efforts will include free bagels and a coffee tab

The next Honor Committee meeting will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Trial Room of Newcomb Hall.
The next Honor Committee meeting will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Trial Room of Newcomb Hall.

The Honor Committee met Sunday to discuss campaigning strategies for the constitutional referendum and vote on a pending co-sponsorship with the Batten School. The referendum — which will be voted on in student-wide elections today through Thursday — outlines a multi-sanction system, the first in the Committee’s history. 

Following this, the Committee moved into school updates, where each school shared their plans to campaign for votes in the upcoming student referendum. 

The Constitution — which was passed internally by the Committee during the Feb. 14  meeting — contains a number of changes, the most notable being sanctions which include but are not limited to a two-semester leave of absence, expulsion, education and amends. These new sanctions will be applied on a case-by-case basis.

Other changes include separate student panels for determining guilt and sanctioning, as well as the decision to uphold the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of guilt. In order for the new constitution to take effect, at least three-fifths of the voting population must vote in favor, as long as 10 percent of the student body votes in favor of such an amendment. 

Voting will take place online through the voting software BigPulse, from 10 a.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Thursday and results will be released Friday. 

Committee representatives from each school will help host events to encourage overall student participation in the referendum. 

The Student Bar Association at the School of Law plans to share a statement drafted by second-year Law Rep. Daniel Elliot, who is supporting the referendum and urging Law students to vote regardless of opinion. The Engineering Student Council will be giving out free bagels Wednesday morning on Engineer’s Way to students who show the email confirmation that they voted, regardless of the students specific position regarding the constitution. 

The funding from these events comes primarily from the Committee’s endowment. 

The Batten School plans to host a Q&A session Tuesday for students interested in learning more about the constitution. The Graduate College, School of Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences all plan to table at various places across Grounds to encourage students to vote.  

Third-year Commerce Rep. Brianna Kamdou said that The School of Commerce will host an event in the courtyard and the art gallery of the Commerce school to encourage students to vote. 

“We’ll be engaging [students at the event] in addition to reaching out to students through listservs,” Kamdoum said.

The School of Data Science plans to communicate electronically with their students and distribute food before a data science class Wednesday. Additionally, the School of Medicine will also communicate with students through email and participate in tabling.

In addition to talking about efforts to encourage voting, the Committee voted to approve a new co-sponsorship to benefit Batten students. Every academic year, the Committee is allotted a budget from the University to co-sponsor events and initiatives with CIOs and organizations across Grounds. With this budget, the Committee helps fund these events in order to increase awareness of the Honor system.

Currently, the co-sponsorship funding limit is $500 per organization. Any co-sponsorship seeking more than $500 has to be voted on by the Committee. 

Irene Cox, Batten Graduate Council treasurer and graduate Batten student, requested a co-sponsorship of $1,500 at Sunday’s meeting. The funds would go towards a spring dinner and award ceremony for around 300 attendees to honor the contributions that Batten students and faculty have made to the University and the larger Charlottesville community. 

In her proposal, Cox pointed to the importance of strengthening the connection between Batten and Honor, especially in the context of the upcoming student referendum. 

“Regardless of the outcome realized in University elections, our Council is committed to building a better connection with Honor,” Cox said. “We hope a co-sponsored event will engage faculty and students and create greater buy-in to the Honor system.” 

19 out of 26 members attended, meaning the Committee met quorum to vote on constitutional or by law matters.  The Committee motioned to vote on this co-sponsorship, and the co-sponsorship was approved with 18 out of 20 members present in favor.

The Committee also heard updates on hearings and investigations. There was a hearing Sunday in which the student accused was found not guilty. There are currently hearings planned for March 4, March 24 and March 26. There are currently four active investigations. 

The Committee then entered into a closed session from which they did not return. Voting for the student referendum begins February 28 at 10 a.m. and ends March 4 at 4 p.m. 

The next Honor Committee meeting will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Trial Room of Newcomb Hall. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Honor receives funding for its initiatives from the University — the Committee's funding comes from its endowments, not the University. The article has been udpated.