By Suha Khandker (Special to the Chronicle) Since the start of the fall semester, students received several emails from Hofstra faculty members regarding the new Honor Code that was implemented this semester.
Warren Frisina, Dean of Honors College and one of the co-chairs on the Honor Board, stated that policies on plagiarism and cheating at Hofstra have not changed. He specified that the creation of the Honor Board and Honor Code was meant to “nudge” students who may be inclined to cheat, not to cheat, and that the overall goal was to help raise awareness about Hofstra’s importance of academic integrity.
“If you know anything about Georgetown you know they have an honor code, Haverford . . . honor code. We want to get Hofstra to that level,” Frisina said.
Junior Keegan Bedinger, journalism major, is pleased to see Hofstra taking academic integrity seriously.
“Anything Hofstra does to better their reputation is fine by me,” Bedinger said. “I think that anything that is going to make our school look better is something, I want to be a part of.”
The Code was established along with a new Honor Board, whose tasks include raising awareness of this new policy and promoting academic integrity. Faculty members have encouraged students to “commit to the Code” by signing an online pledge.
Students who pledge to follow the Code agree to “demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior in all aspects of life” and are responsible for any unethical help they receive for their academics. Hofstra students are not currently required to sign the pledge. However, in his school wide email, President Stuart Rabinowitz has stated that committing to the Code will become a requirement for all Hofstra students in the future.
The idea of an Honor Code was first brought up in fall 2009. Provost Herman Berliner gathered a group of administrators, faculty and students to establish the Academic Integrity Task Force. The group prompted discussions among all students and faculty and surveyed students in order to determine whether or not an honor code was needed.
According to the Task Force Report released in March of 2011, there was a sizeable consensus among students and faculty that cheating was a major problem at the University. The surveys suggested that the biggest infraction of academic integrity occurred when students purposely shared information on individual assignments. In conclusion, the Task Force determined that Hofstra should establish a formal Honor Code and Honor Board to help enforce it.
The Honor Board’s prescribed duty is to promote academic integrity through different campaigns and events. The Honor Board is also responsible for making decisions on any appeals involving infringement of the Honor Code. All students have the right to appeal any charges of violation of the Code. If a violation form is filed against a student, the Dean of Students will inform said student. If the student appeals against the violation, the case will be sent to the Provost’s Office. If the student continues the appeal, the final decision of the case will be decided upon by an Ad Hoc appeal committee, which will be made up of three Honor Board members and four non-voting members.
While the Honor Code seems to be a positive addition to Hofstra academic culture some have expressed discontent with it’s intentions.
“I believe the Honor Code is offensive”, said freshman Nick Hargrave. “It assumes we are going to be cheating instead of educating us about cheating.”
In the past week, emails have been sent to all Hofstra students, faculty and alumni and posters have been posted all around campus encouraging everyone to “commit to the Code.” In that time, over 1,000 members of the Hofstra community have pledged to uphold their academic integrity. In an effort to raise more awareness and commit a majority of students to the Code, Dean Frisina also indicated that starting in October, all students will see a pop-up window when logging into their Hofstra portal accounts asking them to pledge to the Code if they have not already.