President approves C-12 recommendations updating 102-year-old Honor Code
The president has provided final approval to a proposal by the Committee of 12 to update the Honor Code by adding new text and definitions to improve clarity, and facilitating a multi-year study on proctoring.
The president has provided final approval to a proposal by the Committee of 12 (C-12) to update Stanford’s 102-year-old Honor Code.
Now official university policy, the two-part proposal includes adding new text and definitions to improve clarity, and the launch of the Academic Integrity Working Group (AIWG) to evaluate equitable practices for proctoring in-person examinations in a multi-year study.
President Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced his approval of the proposal during the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council on Thursday. The Associated Students of Stanford University Undergraduate Senate voted to approve the proposal earlier this week, which allowed the matter to proceed to the president’s office.
Historically, proctoring has not been used under the Honor Code, which was written by students in 1921. Years ago, concerns that the Student Judicial Charter and Honor Code did not adequately address the needs of today’s campus community – such as discouraging Honor Code violations and including a more nuanced judicial process for alleged violations – led to the creation of the Committee of 10 (C-10) in 2019.
The C-10 later became the C-12 and was charged with reviewing and considering changes to the Honor Code, the Judicial Charter, and interpretations to the Fundamental Standard, the latter two of which have been resolved.
The C-12 – made up of five students, five faculty, and two staff – conducted extensive outreach to faculty, students, and other institutions before presenting their proposals on the Judicial Charter and Honor Code earlier this spring.
To be enacted, the proposals required approval by the Board of Judicial Affairs, the Undergraduate Senate, the Graduate Student Council, the Faculty Senate, and the university president.
Three of the voting entities approved the C-12 Honor Code proposal earlier this year, and a previous Undergraduate Senate (UGS) initially voted against it, citing proctoring as the concerning issue.
On April 27, the Faculty Senate approved a separate motion to amend the Honor Code to allow proctoring beginning in the fall, unless the UGS reversed its decision and approved the C-12 proposal. A newly inaugurated UGS membership voted to approve the proposal on Tuesday.
Faculty Senate Chair Ken Schultz, professor of political science, said the debate in the senate on the motion was intense because it was heartfelt.
“Some argued that the faculty had a responsibility to take action on a key matter of academic integrity,” Schultz said in his annual report of the senate. “Others emphasized the tradition of cooperation that we have between faculty and students on the Honor Code, and felt that unilateral action would violate the spirit of compromise that had motivated the C-12 process. Decisions that place important values in conflict are the hardest to make, and as I watched the debate on the floor I could tell that many of my colleagues were torn in both directions by these values, even though the motion passed by a large margin.”
With the UGS vote earlier this week and the president’s approval, the motion is now superseded.
“I am hopeful that this episode will usher in a period of renewed cooperation to ensure the highest standard of academic integrity at this university,” Schultz said. “And while the rift over this matter was uncomfortable, I hope it will permit all parties to move forward with a better understanding of each other’s concerns.”
With the president’s approval of the Honor Code proposal, all of the C-12’s recommendations have now been adopted, and the C-12’s work is concluded.