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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Honor Council: Everything You Need To Know

Davies Hall, where Honor Council hearings and meetings occasionally take place

Honor Council Overview

Apart from the occasional speech about it during an assembly, the WIS community has been mostly left in the dark about the Honor Council. This guide will cover eveything you need to know about this obscure WIS organziation, from how it first started to what really happens during a hearing.

The Honor Council is a WIS organization made up of selected students and faculty that listens to cases about possible academic dishonesty, which include a lack of citations (proper sourcing for academic work,) or lying. After listening to each case, they suggest consequences they see appropriate to Mr. Marcus. Overall, the WIS community has responded in a positive way to this new branch of the school, but there are still ways that the Honor Council could improve.

“I found Honor Council to be a relatively not bad experience given the conditions.” said an anonymous WIS student* who appeared in front of the Honor Council during the 2018 – 2019 school year for possible plagarism and sharing work.

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Each year, new faculty members of the WIS community are nominated, and new students have the chance to apply. If selected, they complete a term serving on the Honor Council where they attend meetings, participate in hearings, and inform the WIS community about the consequences of academic dishonesty.

“The purpose was to create a more unified approach to dealing with questions of academic dishonesty,” Dean of Students Beta Eaton said.  

History of the Honor Council

The Honor Council was made during a two-year process and the first official year of this organziation was during the 2016 – 2017 school year. The creation of the Honor Council was pushed for by the student community because they wanted a better system for dealing with academic dishonesty and a more personal look at each separate case.

During the 2017-2018 school year, 12 cases came in front of the Honor Council, all involving grades and disciplines. Out of the 12 cases and consequences suggested by the honor council, 11 out of 12 were supported by Mr. Marcus. Half of these 12 cases involved sharing work and papers. The other half involved lack of citations, cheating, and lying.

“Previously the community handbook had said if you were caught cheating or plagiarizing it was an automatic zero for the assignment and it could be sent to colleges. With a student-driven initiative for the Honor Council, it lets each case be looked at individually,” Upper school Dean of Students Eaton said.  

→ What Happens During an Honor Council Hearing

During a hearing, if you’re the student in question, you get to bring a member of the faculty who will vouch for your character. You will then go to a meeting place, usually a classroom, where the hearing will take place. In the meeting place, there are usually four students and one faculty member on the Honor Council. Ms. Eaton is also present during the hearing. The students will talk to you about what happened and make sure the story is correct and you will get a chance to share your story or a statement you have prepared.

The students and faculty member may ask you a few claryfiying questions and then you will get to leave. After you leave, the council talks to your advocate and after, they discuss the hearing and what consequences are appropriate. These suggestions get sent to Mr. Marcus who will sign off on them, and if they are approved an email is sent to the student and their parents informing them about the outcome.

“The students who were in the room were like kind of understanding towards the topic but it was still very intimidating,” an anonymous WIS student said.)

→ How It Could Improve

Since this is only the third  year of the Honor Council, there is still a lot of room to improve. Recently, a new system implemented by Mr. Marcus, limits each member of the Honor Council to a two-year term, as well as creating positions with more power with the experienced members of the organization.

In the future, the WIS community could benefit from the Honor Council being more transparent about what actually happens at a hearing so that students will feel less intimidated if they ever have to appear at one.  A student who appeared in front of the Honor Council during this school year expressed that the hearing was a bit intimidating and that “it felt like you had to say certain things.”

By: Rani Kumar

*This article contains an anonymous source. Our policy for anonymous sources is accessible here or through our homepage.

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