Faculty senate seeks to revamp Honor Council

The faculty senate recently initiated a process to amend the composition of the Selection and Appeals Committee of the Undergraduate Student Honor Council.
The amendment calls for the current composition of two students and two faculty representatives to be changed to two students and three faculty representatives.
Right now, the committee consists of the executive vice president of student government, the provost, the vice president for student affairs, and a student representative nominated by the president of the undergraduate student body government and approved by the Senate.
“This is scary,” said Mike Johnston, student body president. “Since 1986 the Honor Council has been doing very well and has received a lot of compliments, and all of a sudden we are going to lose student representation.”
The appeals committee selects representatives from the undergraduate schools or colleges to serve on the Honor Council and receives and reviews appeals. They also have the power to affirm previous decisions made by the Honor Council, reduce penalties or refer the case back to the hearing panel for appropriate action.
Johnston said that he doesn’t know the reasons why the faculty senate might have to want to amend the composition of the Committee, but said that he speculates it might be related to the case in which sophomore wide receiver Andre Johnson was caught plagiarizing in an anthropology course and given the required one-year suspension laid out by the Honor Council.
Upon appeal, the Honor Council’s Selections and Appeals Committee – made up of the vice provost, the vice president for student affairs and the student government president – reduced his sentence to suspension for the upcoming summer sessions. The decisions of the appeals committee are final.
Johnson’s story began a rash of complaints by faculty and students who felt that student athletes received preferential treatment from UM administration.
“I think the faculty senate might have thought that the Honor Council was inefficient when dealing with this case, but I don’t really know,” Johnston said.
Johnston said that the Student Body Government unanimously voted against this proposed amendment but that their dissent on the matter will not stop the approval process.
According to faculty senate chairman Jane E.Cannolly, on a meeting held Sept. 25, the Faculty Senate voted to put an alternate composition of the committee through the approval process.
Connolly said the committee would consist of two students, two faculty members, and the Provost or his designee, if the proposed amendments are approved.
“In addition, the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Dean of Students shall serve as ex-officio members unless either of those individuals is appointed by the provost as his designee,” Connolly said in a memorandum sent to Dr. Pat Whitely, Vice President for Student Affairs.
Administration could not be reached for further comment on this issue.