The University of Richmond Honor Council held its annual Honor Week last week at Jepson Hall, with new programming that included a guest speaker from Harvard University and a business panel on ethics.
The Honor Council carried out its traditional events, with a mock hearing performed by members of the councils on Tuesday, and a screening of the movie, "School Ties," on Thursday to conclude the week's festivities.
Because the Honor Council operates under a two-strike system, the group tries to be both educational and punitive, said senior Lacie Horak, the previous chairwoman for the Westhampton College Honor Council.
During Honor Week 2013 the councils wanted to emphasize the educational component by raising awareness about statutes, what the honor code is and what the honor council does for the community, Horak said. The decision to include a speaker and a business panel came from a growing need to implement programming that would be interesting and relevant to more upperclass students and faculty members, she said.
"We have that outreach obviously during orientation for first-year students, transfer students and international students, so this is trying to engage the wider community," she said.
On Monday, doctoral student Alexis Redding from Harvard University spoke before an audience of about 80 people. Redding, who researches college student ethics, talked about her work but also discussed the 2012 Harvard cheating scandal.
"The recent cheating scandal has been on everyone's mind and we thought it'd be great to hear the inside scoop about it," said senior Matt Powell, who serves as chairman for the Richmond College Honor Council. Redding also addressed the reality of today's achievement culture, which is the idea of putting morals aside to do whatever it takes to succeed, whether that means getting an A in a course or building a resume, Powell said.
"I think it's relevant in all prestigious universities," Powell said. "She had some great insights about how we can combat that culture at our school. She told us that through the admissions process, we should have the tour guides talk more about the Honor Council and continue to make it seem as though it is the cornerstone of our education, which it should be, and is."
It was Horak's idea to bring in Redding, Powell said. With the help of Westhampton College Dean Juliette Landphair, they were able to contact Redding's adviser and arrange her visit to campus. Planning for the guest speakers began last fall, and additional funding to support the new events was received from the Westhampton College Government Association and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, Horak said.
On Wednesday, the Honor Council held a business panel on ethics in the classroom and the business world. The focus of the panel was on how ethics could be applied in the real world, Powell said.
Education chairman and junior Dan Kelly arranged for three professionals to host the panel by reaching out to one of his ethics professors, who put him in contact with Richard Coughlan, director for Richmond's MBA program, Kelly said. Coughlan recommended three Richmond MBA graduates, Patricia Wescott, Stephen Weber and Katie Gilstrap, who easily agreed to participate, Kelly said.
"Honor Week is so much about academic integrity and we wanted to examine integrity after graduation, which we though might resonate with more people," he said. The panelists addressed questions pertaining to ethical dilemmas within the work place, but overall, the emphasis of the discussion was on the importance of trust at all levels of a business, Kelly said.
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Powell said that the importance of Honor Week 2013 was to create transparency.
The Honor Council offered a $300 award to the campus organization with the most members in attendance during Honor Week. Sigma Phi Epsilon won the prize but the fraternity plans to donate the money to the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls, Kelly said.
Contact reporter Mara Lugo at email@example.com
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