UC Berkeley unveiled a new honor code Monday that aims to promote awareness of the importance of academic honesty in the campus community.
Developed jointly by the ASUC, the Graduate Assembly, the Academic Senate and the deans of the College of Letters and Science, the one-sentence UC Berkeley Honor Code states: “As a member of the UC Berkeley community, I act with honesty, integrity, and respect for others.”
The aim is to spread the message of academic honesty instead of delineating rules against student misconduct, according to a promotional website created by the ASUC.
“The gray areas regarding collaboration, plagiarism, the Internet and so forth are becoming more and more difficult for students and faculty alike to understand,” said Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science Mark Richards in a statement. “The idea is to create a talking point, or a focus for discussion, in each class among students about academic integrity, because it’s not just black and white all the time.”
David Presti, chair of the Academic Senate’s Student Affairs Committee, contrasted the Honor Code with UC Berkeley’s Principles of Community, which are campuswide guidelines for personal and collective conduct.
“The Honor Code is one sentence — one affirmative sentence,” Presti said. “What is in that one sentence is certainly also in the Principles of Community. The purpose of the Honor Code is to have this pithy condensation of these important principles more available for daily reference.”
To promote the code on campus, the ASUC and a committee headed by former ASUC Senator Aviv Gilboa and composed of students, faculty and staff will work to monitor its impact on academic conduct.
“(The Honor Code is) not going to be introduced and implemented in one semester,” Gilboa said. “This is an ongoing process that requires time, not only to introduce but also to implement the Honor Code for all members of the campus community.”
Presti said that the Honor Code’s condensed form makes it easy to place on class syllabi and to bring into lectures and discussions.
Beginning next fall, all incoming UC Berkeley students will be required to indicate that they agree with the Honor Code when they accept their offer of admission. The Honor Code will also be integrated into graduate student orientation programs, GSI training modules and the current CalSO program that offers orientation for new undergraduates.
Discussions about implementing the Honor Code started three years ago. According to Presti, the idea for the Honor Code surfaced during a faculty forum that discussed ways of enhancing both undergraduate and graduate education.
“(The Honor Code) didn’t come out of a cheating scandal or anything like that,” said ASUC President Connor Landgraf. “The motivation wasn’t because of a lack of academic integrity; rather, it came from a goal to be proactive and hold ourselves to the highest standards possible as the No. 1 public university in the nation.”