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"Code of honor" redirects here, for the first season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation see Code of Honor.
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An honor code or honor system is a set of rules or principles governing a community based on a set of rules or ideals that define what constitutes honorable behavior within that community. The use of an honor code depends on the idea that people (at least within the community) can be trusted to act honorably. Those who are in violation of the honor code can be subject to various sanctions, including expulsion from the institution. Honor codes are most commonly used in the United States to deter academic dishonesty.

Academic honor codes

In America, the first student-policed honor system was instituted in 1779 at The College of William & Marymarker at the behest of Virginia's then-Governor Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, who graduated from William & Marymarker with honors in 1762, inked a basic honor system for his alma mater.

replaced Davis on the faculty, proposed that in the future, students sign examinations in the form "I, A.B., do hereby certify on my honor that I have derived no assistance during the time of this examination from any source whatsoever." The idea succeeded with the students. The wording of the honor pledge has changed over time, and the definition of what constitutes an honor offense has evolved as well, at times including matters such as smoking, cheating at card games or insulting ladies. As of 2006, an honor offense is defined as an act of lying, cheating, or stealing, performed intentionally, of sufficient gravity such that open toleration of the act would impair the community of trust sufficiently enough to warrant expulsion of the offender. Despite the evolution of the system over the years, UVA's Honor System is rare in that it is administered entirely by the University's students. Princeton has also maintained an entirely student-run Honor Code since the beginning of their Code in 1893.

However, Jefferson's vision of a student self-governed system remains largely unrealized at other universities. Most schools adopting honor codes limit their application to the academic realm. More comprehensive systems -- not unlike Haverford's and Davidson's-- where students ratify and enforce social and academic codes, are rare.

Today, some of the most notable and most stringent honor codes exist at the U.S. federal military academies--the U.S.marker Naval Academymarker, the U.S.marker Military Academymarker (see Cadet Honor Code), the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the United States Coast Guard Academy. The military academy honor codes not only govern the cadets' and mid-shipmen's lives at the academies, but are deemed essential to the development of military officers who are worthy of the public trust. As such, the codes are not limited merely to academic situations or to conduct on campus; cadets and midshipmen are expected to live by the codes' ethical standards at all times. Furthermore, they may not tolerate violations by other cadets-toleration itself being a violation of the code, with the exception of the Honor Concept of the Brigade of Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, which allows the observer of an honor violation to confront the accused without formally reporting. It was found that this method was more constructive at developing the honor of midshipmen as opposed to a non-toleration clause, which created enemies of classmates and ones true honor, if other than utmost, was not able to be formally remediated when hidden from public view. Under the academies' honor codes, violation of the code is generally dealt with by forwarding the offender for separation, depending on the nature of the offense and how far along in their training at the academy the accused is.

Another school with a very strict honor code is Brigham Young Universitymarker. The university not only mandates honest behavior, but incorporates various aspects of virtuous living: drinking, smoking, drug use, and premarital sex are all banned. Also, the code includes standards for dress and grooming. Men must be clean shaven and men and women cannot wear short shorts or other revealing clothing.

Redeemer University Collegemarker also has a Honor code similar to Brigham Young although there are differences. Redeemer's code includes acts of homosexuality , Fornication and Promotion of non Christian Believes are all enforced whilst on campus.

Enforcement of honor codes differs from campus to campus as well. UVA opts for a student-run honor code which involves student input and is generally limited to academic concerns. Haverford Collegemarker holds an honor code which is ratified (or not) by students yearly and run by an elected body, Honor Council. This code is concerned with an academic as well as a social component, demanding equal respect among students, in contrast to the military academies' focus on hierarchy. Davidson College also holds a dual honor code. An urban legend surrounds the Davidson code stating that a student was put on trial for not reporting an extra can of soda dispensed by a vending machine. Princeton Universitymarker has maintained a student-run Honor Code for over one hundred years, unique in that regard among Ivy League schools. Vanderbilt Universitymarker has also been governed by an Honor Code since its founding. Freshmen students attend an honor code ceremony to protect the traditions and academic integrity of the university. A plaque of the honor code is engraved in the student life center with a quote by once-Chancellor Madison Sarratt, "Today I give you two examinations, one in trigonometry and one in honesty. I hope you pass them both, but if you must fail one, let it be trigonometry for there are many good men in this world today who cannot pass an examination in trigonometry, but there are no good men in the world who cannot pass an examination in honesty." The University of Texas School of Law sets its Honor Code as a first step in the obligation of its students to the legal profession: "All law students are harmed by unethical behavior by any student. A student who deals dishonestly with fellow law students may be dishonest in the future and harm both future clients and the legal profession." In keeping with this approach the honor code in the grand scheme of the legal profession, honor code violations are reported to the State Bar of Texas and the violator's home state bar, thus creating an impediment to licensure. Texas Law is unique in that regard.

Sample Honor Pledges



  • violated the honor code during this examination." - Princeton Universitymarker [88961]
  • "I have neither given or received nor have I tolerated others' use of unauthorized aid." - Valparaiso University [88962]
  • "No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community." - California Institute of Technologymarker
  • "On my honor as a University of Colorado student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance." - University of Colorado
  • "I Pledge that I have neither received nor given unauthorized assistance during the completion of this work." - University of Richmondmarker
  • The Hampden-Sydney student will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do. - Hampden-Sydney College
  • "Sweet Briar women do not lie cheat steal or violate the rights of others. Therefore i pledge to uphold all standards of honorable conduct. I will report myself or all others for any infraction of this pledge." - Sweet Briar Collegemarker
  • On my honor, I have not given, nor received, nor witnessed any unauthorized assistance on this work. - Rollins Collegemarker [88963]
  • I affirm that I will uphold the highest principles of honesty and integrity in all my endeavors at Gettysburg College and foster an atmosphere of mutual respect within and beyond the classroom. - Gettysburg Collegemarker
  • On all my work, my name affirms my Honor. - Harvard-Westlake Schoolmarker
  • On my honor, as a student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work. - Kansas State Universitymarker
  • I pledge to uphold the principles of honesty and responsibility at our University. - Texas State Universitymarker
  • "A cadet does not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do." - The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolinamarker


References



"defeating you in such a way would be lacking in honour"~dinobot

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