The Honor Council: What it is and its Role on Campus

Are You Living Up to The Honor Code?

honor+council+constitution

Photo by Diamond Huskey

The Honor Constitution details offences, infractions and the process which students can expect to go through. It is upheld and implemented by the student-led Honor Council.

Diamond Huskey, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – Each first year student is required to sign the College’s handbook during welcome week. A portion of the handbook details the standards for academic integrity expected at Bridgewater College. 

Signing the handbook “is pretty much a right of passage and an oath that students are going to do their duty to be academically ethical at BC,” said senior SOAR Mentor Alexis Brown.  

Even though this year it was online, freshmen still must acknowledge to abide by the contract.

The contract is the honor code, and the honor code focuses on prohibiting cheating, plagiarism, and lying in academic matters. If a student violates the contract, a professor may send them to the honor council. 

According to Brown, all first year students “had a session during welcome week where they heard the mission of the Honor Council at BC from the Honor Council Chair Grace Fotis.” 

The student-led Honor Council oversees violation cases sent in by professors. The council conducts an investigation and then holds a hearing to see if the person is guilty or not for their wrong doing. If guilty, the council has the power to recommend the student fails the assignment or, in extreme cases, fails the course or be suspended from the college.

The Honor Council consists of 8-15 current, full-time students who are recommended by the student body president or by one of the honor council faculty advisors: Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Ed Lickey, Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Ben Albers or Associate Professor of Health and Human Sciences Dr. Amanda Campbell.

Each candidate is interviewed, and if they qualify, then they start off in roles of an investigator or a sitting/voting counselor.

The chair of the Honor Council is voted on by the current members of the Honor Council. Members can nominate each other or self-nominate. 

“The chair is a leadership position that comes with a lot of responsibility and the pressure of it has made me hone many skills that I will need in my future endeavors,” said Fotis, who is a senior majoring in Health and Exercise Science. 

For former council member junior Jordan Davis, her duty was part of her responsibilities as a residential advisor last year. Some of the consequences she faced as a member was putting her own classmates on trial.

“I had to ignore the fact that we were the same age or potentially friends when I stepped in the room because I had a job to do,” said Davis. 

According to the Honor Council constitution, “personal honor has been an integral and respected part of student life at Bridgewater College since it was founded in 1880 and is the foundation of the honor code.” 

The importance of the council is to not only hold students accountable for wrong-doings, it also provides students with the structure of self-governance, holding them to the highest standards within our community.

“It is one of the most prominent things I will have been a part of during my time at BC,” said Fotis, who is now serving in her third year of the council.