Junior Donatella Vacca does not know much more about the University of Miami’s Honor Council than what it says in the Honor Code printed on her syllabus.
“The problem extends to making the campus aware that the Council exists,” she said.
The Council, in fact, does exist and is connecting with students through Academic Integrity Week, which runs until Friday. Throughout the week, students take surveys to gauge their awareness of the Council and share their thoughts on academic dishonesty. Students earn giveaways like T-shirts and stationery labeled with “UHonor.”
Though Vacca claims to have only heard of the Council from her syllabus, Maryam Attia, president of the Council, says the members have made the effort to reach out to students.
“Each member of the Council gives presentations to classes to inform the professor of the Council’s proctoring services and make the students aware of the Code they are to uphold,” she said.
The Council divides its members into four committees: education, faculty relations, events and professional development. The education and faculty relations committees prepare presentations for students and work with faculty, respectively. According to the UM Honor Council’s website, 57 percent of students have admitted to cheating, 90 percent of students believe that cheaters never pay the price, and 90 percent of students say they do not turn in students who are seen cheating. Those statistics pertain to college students across the country.
This lack of honesty is often attributed to the fact that cheating takes places among friends, and the fear of losing the friendship is more important than reporting an abuse of the code.
“Most of the responses can be done anonymously so that even the Council is not aware of who sent the report,” Attia said. “We also have not had any cases where students retaliated against others because of submitted violations…”
Despite Vacca’s feelings about the Council’s role, Tahreem Hasmi, a Council member, believes that the Council makes a difference because it is student-run.
“The Honor Council is student run; it gives a chance for students to feel they can turn to someone,” she said.