Will Leimenstoll: Honor system working

March 21, 2013 

Honor system working

Your March 8 editorial “Courting trouble” disparaging UNC-Chapel Hill’s student-led honor system mischaracterized the system. Though the honor system is over a century old, it is extremely dynamic. A committee of students, faculty and administrators frequently deliberates changes to the judicial instrument.

The honor system is a vital part of student self-governance with a very practical application. Students have the most to gain or lose from upholding our honor code. It is our safety and security (and the value of our own degrees) that would be at risk if we did not ensure that students adhered to an accepted code of conduct.

Honor system members do not allow personal “rivalries” to get in the way of due process because they are “young.” Members are required to recuse themselves from any cases in which they know the accused parties, and age is not a determinant of personal integrity. If you simply spoke to the honor system leaders at UNC, who are well-respected across campus, your misinformed opinions about competence would cease.

The editorial also claimed that students are not equipped to handle sexual assault cases. We couldn’t agree more. Sexual assault has already been removed from the honor system’s jurisdiction. Students advocated for this change and are grateful that the university is finally implementing policies specific to cases of sexual misconduct.

You would do well to focus on pertinent state and Triangle issues rather than critique student governance in public universities. Leaving confidential cases – about which the editorial board can only speculate – to our students, faculty and staff would be optimal for all.

Will Leimenstoll, Student Body President, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill

The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the editorial.

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