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Honor Committee finalizes date for Popular Assembly, considers confidentiality issues of education sanction

The Popular Assembly event is currently slated to take place from Feb. 5 to Feb. 9

The Committee holds the Popular Assembly event annually to facilitate discussion on and answer questions about Honor.
The Committee holds the Popular Assembly event annually to facilitate discussion on and answer questions about Honor.

The Honor Committee settled on a final date range of Feb. 4 to Feb. 9 for the Popular Assembly and discussed confidentiality concerns of the education sanction at their meeting Sunday. The meeting had 19 out of 27 members present, meaning the Committee could vote on matters regarding the constitution or by laws. 

Hamza Aziz, Honor Committee Chair and fourth-year College student, outlined the Popular Assembly and what it entails for the student body. 

“I think of it as like an Honor week where we're both hosting outreach initiatives and events to educate the University community,” Aziz said. “Also reciprocally hosting events and initiatives to kind of get feedback and perceptions of Honor.” 

The Committee will hold a Popular Assembly event annually to facilitate discussion on and answer questions about the Honor code at the University and the Committee’s role. Prior to the passage of the multi-sanction system, the meeting was held on a bi-annual basis, with the last Popular Assembly being held in the spring of 2021.

The Committee initially decided on a November date, but decided against it due to conflicts with final projects and exams. The Committee then decided to explore options earlier in the spring, before ultimately finalizing the February date range at this week’s meeting. 

The Committee plans to hold various events throughout the Popular Assembly week, including town halls and Honor mock trials. No events have been finalized yet. In order to build upon these event ideas, the Committee opened the floor to any other ideas for possible events. 

Laura Howard, vice chair for hearings and third-year College student, suggested the idea of simulating a class within the education sanction that students can sit in on to understand how the sanction might operate during the Popular Assembly. The education sanction is currently slated to be a seven-week course led by a combination of Honor educators, guest speakers, professors and former offenders. 

“We could have a sanction where you’re in the education sanction for a day,” Howard said. “[Students can see] what the class is like and the conversations [that are being had].” 

The objective of the education sanction is to allow offenders to analyze their personal values and reflect on the Honor system. These classes will be held among a group of sanctioned students, rather than one-on-one, in hopes of encouraging conversation and group reflection on Honor overall. 

The Committee did not make a concrete decision on events, but will continue to discuss the logistics of the Popular Assembly in future Committee meetings. 

Outside of discussion on Popular Assembly logistics, the Committee considered how confidentiality within the education sanction might change the structure of the class 

Fourth-year College student Rep. Jonathan Swap raised the concern of confidentiality issues within group classes of the education sanction. 

“These students are dealing with difficult circumstances and being in a group with other people might not feel very safe or comfortable or conducive to this rehabilitation process,” Swap said. 

Currently, sanctioned students have the option to modify their respective sanctions. For the education sanction, a possible modification may mean choosing to have these classes one-on-one, rather than in the original group setting. According to Aziz, requests to modify sanctions are granted rarely.

William Hancock, Honor educator and second-year College student, disagreed with Swap, citing the value in the conversation aspect of the education sanction. 

“There's that little bit of uncomfortability, but there is [also] that uncomfortability with the broken bonds of the Community of Trust,” Hancock said. “There wouldn't be an easy solution because the course is constructed as a seminar where you're talking through these issues.”

No formal vote was made on the topic, and the Committee will continue to consider this going forward. 

The Committee also heard executive and representative reports. There are currently three active investigations. Three other cases have since been finalized as of Sunday’s meeting. There is also a hearing scheduled for Sunday and another Oct. 21. 

The Committee adjourned the meeting at the scheduled end time of 8 p.m. The next Honor Committee meeting will be held Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Trial Room of Newcomb Hall.

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