The Honor Council’s perspective on academic integrity revolved around violations being more than just cheating on a test or collaborating on an assignment. They positioned that how you conduct yourself at a critical time demonstrates the sort of student you are. This idea even extends beyond one’s academic career; it also represents the kind of person one will be after graduation.
The Vice President of the Honor Council, Nitya Venkat, presented a personal example that explains this approach to the honor code. Venkat is an aspiring medical student who wants to practice as a doctor in the near future. She explained that if she has graduated from medical school and is taking her own patientens, they instill a form of trust in her. This is not just the trust that she provides the right medical care, but it is the trust that she has become a doctor through trustworthy means and has the adequate knowledge to provide professional care. A patient’s trust exists because they assume positive intent, but this faith relies on the integrity of each prospective doctor being kept. Venkat stated that this concept extends beyond just the medical field: it can apply to all professions.
Several members of the Honor Council also provided their unique insight into what the honor code was to them and a breakdown of specific characteristics. One aspect that stood out was the fact that the honor code is nothing new. In fact, it has existed since 1875 and used to just be, “On my word and honor as a gentleman, I have neither given nor received help on this examination.” The Honor Council highlighted the fact that it’s changing and adapting to the times; it has always been used to uphold student accountability. After all, everything a Vanderbilt student does is not just a reflection of themselves but the community that they belong to. That is why it is so important to hold students to this standard.
Overall, the Honor Council advised to never be afraid to ask when uncertain if an action could be a breach of the honor code. Following the honor code ensures that one does not rob themselves or the professors and faculty of the investment made in students.