The Collegian
Monday, August 15, 2022

Richmond hosts annual honor week

“When people cheat, they’re ruining the whole principle of opportunity, of equality, of achievement and accomplishment,” President Ed Ayers said in his speech at Ukrop Auditorium, which was held as part of UR Honor Week last Monday.

Honor Week is an annual event hosted by University of Richmond Honor Council in order to raise awareness of the meaning of academic integrity and the consequences of cheating.

In addition to Ayers’s speech, an Ethics Panel was held on Tuesday night in the Brown Alley Room as part of the Honor Week events. The panelists were Jeff Harrison, a management professor in the Robins School of Business, and Joanne B. Ciulla, an ethics professor and a founding faculty member of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies.

Junior David Heyer, the Education Chair of the Richmond College Honor Council, was in charge of organizing Honor Week this year. Heyer said he hoped having Ayers as a speaker would attract more student participation during Honor Week. He also hoped the event would build on success from this year in order to become bigger and more popular in coming years.

In his speech, Ayers discussed the significance of scholarly honor at University of Richmond, and talked about how the meaning given to the word “honor” had changed in Virginia throughout history.

At the time Richmond College was created, honor referred to “southern honor,” which was associated with violence and was especially practiced by white men who wanted to protect their reputation, Ayers said.

Today, the word honor within academic institutions is associated with academic honesty and, more specifically, not cheating.

“Honor is not based on your skin color, on your gender, your name, your religion, your wealth, your standing or anything other than your work itself,” Ayers said. “Honor lies not on what you appear to be, but on what you show yourself to be with the tangible result of your mind and heart.”

The university’s honor council consists of an all-student group of women and men who share a common goal of enforcing the honor code and ensuring academic integrity and honesty in the university.

According to the school’s website, the Richmond College Council of Honor was established in 1933 with a mission to educate students on the honor code and academic integrity as well as to adjudicate potential violations of the code.

When a professor believes that a student has committed an honor code violation, the professor may bring the case to the honor council, Heyer said. The council then hosts a hearing with the student and eight council members who evaluate the case.

During the Ethics Panel on Tuesday night, Harrison discussed the importance of the honor council being strict in enforcing the honor code. The panelists also discussed the ethical dilemmas of cheating, the ways cheating has changed over the years, and the responsibility students have to be honest and own up to their mistakes.

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Additionally, both Ayers and the panelists talked about the role technology plays in plagiarism. Today, students face the challenge of remaining honorable and not cheating on papers or assignments despite the easily accessible resources on the Internet.

In his speech, Ayers discussed the role of technological advancements, and recognized that while plagiarism took more time and effort in the past, today it is as easy as copying and pasting.

“We simply cannot lower our standards because technological change has made it easier to violate the fundamental principles of why we are here,” Ayers said.

Contact reporter Maria Eugenia Fernandez at

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