The Honor Committee initiated Honor Week with its first event on Sunday, hosting a dinner open to the broader student body. The meeting provided a free Roots dinner for meeting attendees, aiming to foster a deeper understanding of Honor's structure and function amongst the student body. Additionally, the Committee announced the two winners of the Honor Art Competition, a contest featuring submissions that creatively explored the significance of the University's Community of Trust.
Sunday was the first day of Honor Week, an inaugural program designed to encourage students to interact and reflect on the Honor system. The meeting — which was held on its typical day, Sunday, but in a more public format — was designed to invite University students to explore the function and agenda of a typical Honor meeting.
Hamza Aziz, Committee chair and fourth-year College student, read through the meeting agenda, providing additional insights for those unfamiliar with Honor proceedings.
Aziz clarified that the meeting did not involve the usual policy and bylaw discussions; instead, the kick-off dinner was focused on welcoming the community and setting the stage for Honor Week.
In the executive committee updates, Laura Howard, fourth year student and vice chair for hearings, announced that the first hearing of the semester occurred on Saturday and thanked the student panelists who participated in it.
Honor hearing panels are composed of five Committee members and seven randomly selected students. If a student is found guilty by the hearing panel, the five Committee members on the hearing panel then decide what that sanction will be.
Howard also said that the next hearing for the Committee is scheduled for February.
Alexander Church, second-year Engineering School rep., briefly discussed the Honor Week survey results, which were gathered to gauge student opinions on the Honor system. Church said that although he had hoped for a larger response pool, with the survey having only collected 356 responses prior to Jan. 16, the raw data from the survey was generally successful. The University community will have access to the data through a Google sheet, enabling students to categorize responses by factors such as year and school. Church intends to make the sheet accessible by next week.
The Committee then reviewed the results of the Honor Week art competition, a contest that encouraged students to submit pieces of art that they thought represented Honor. Aziz said that the competition, which was organized in partnership with U.Va. Arts, intended to promote artistic representations of Honor. Submissions were anonymized and voted on by Honor representatives. The prize for first-place was $300, while the runner-up received $200.
“[The competition] was organized to help illustrate Honor and the invisible thread that it is, in a visual or literary way. The theme was our Community of Trust,” Aziz said.
Any member of the University community was able to submit an art piece — as long as they were not an Honor representative. Will Hancock, senior educator and second-year College student, won first place in the art competition. Using words from James Hay’s piece “The Honor Men,” Hancock’s poem narrates the journey of a student who violated the honor code and is eventually reintegrated into the University community.
“”[The poem] follows the story of someone who has been forced out of our Community of Trust, and the beauty of welcoming them back in as a community,” Hancock said. “There is something about us kind of knitting this community together and one that accepts people, and brings [them] back in.”
The second place winner was an artistic piece submitted by fourth-year College student Victoria Thompson. Thompson’s piece portrays both colorful and black and white columns, a reference to Honor’s important role in student self-governance.
“[The piece] was a reference to Honor [representing] a pillar of the community,” Aziz said. “We are going to publish nearly all of the submissions on our Instagram.”
Raffle tickets were distributed during the meeting — students will be able to earn one raffle ticket at each scheduled Honor Week event. Winners of the raffle stand a chance to receive two box tickets to a U.Va. men's basketball game, a contribution from Evan Pivonka, special assistant to the Committee. The other possible prize is a one year of complimentary Bodos, offering students $6 for each of the 52 weeks in the year.
The Committee will host a town hall on the new multi-sanction system Wednesday in the Rotunda dome room, and an ‘Honor Run with Jim,’ on Thursday at Madison Hall at 7:30 a.m. Following the run, Aziz will answer questions surrounding Honor referendums. The Committee will reconvene Feb.18 at 7 p.m.