Honor Council Members Adjust Schedules as Hearings Begin

In the weeks after the College rolled out its first honor code, undergraduate members of the Honor Council—the student-faculty body tasked with enforcing the policy—are adjusting their schedules as the Council hears its first slate of academic integrity cases.

The Honor Council, which is charged with reviewing undergraduate cheating cases, launched this fall along with the College’s new honor code, a product of years of planning expedited by the Government 1310 cheating scandal, Harvard’s largest in recent memory. The Council consists of three separate teams of eight people who will alternate hearing cases. {shortcode-98d1fae30e4476cd3a5bb20727a82bdfea4728ce}

While Honor Council Secretary Brett Flehinger declined to comment on whether the Honor Council or one of its three subgroups has already started hearing cases at meetings, Maria P. Devlin, a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Ph.D. candidate who serves on the Council, said two of the three teams have heard cases.

For some students on the Council, the time commitment so far has prompted them to reevaluate their schedules, but they said the work has not proved too unmanageable. Already, many student members have stayed for additional periods of time on campus—after final exams last spring and before the start of this semester—to conduct training, while others worked as interns this summer for the Council.

Throughout the term, the teams will alternately convene in four-hour weekly blocks on Mondays, according to Devlin. The Honor Council as a whole will also convene periodically for additional training and “calibration,” Flehinger said.


“On average, I probably spend five hours a week, perhaps five to eight hours a week on the Honor Council, so it’s a significant time commitment,” said Jonathan G. Jeffrey ’16, a member of the Council. “I have found my involvement to be very manageable.”

In an email, undergraduate Council member Nathaniel R. F. Bernstein ’17 characterized serving on the Honor Council as a “substantial time commitment.” Bernstein wrote that the obligation affected how he organized his schedule this semester, but added that he believes the Council’s work merits a large time commitment.

Devlin also said the work was a large commitment but said leaders on the Honor Council have been cautious to ensure that the positions do not amount to an “undue burden.”

“Getting an education and being in the classroom is their primary commitment," Flehinger said of the Honor Council members.

Beyond hearing academic integrity cases, the Honor Council, as stipulated in its procedures, will host occasional town halls to “to explain its work and describe matters that have given rise to inquiry by the Honor Council.”

Flehinger said the Council members are planning an upcoming event centered on teaching expectations, and the panel will include faculty as well as undergraduate members of the Honor Council.

—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.

—Staff writer Ivan B. K. Levingston can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @IvanLevingston.