Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Oregon daily emerald. (Eugene, Or.) 1920-2012 | View Entire Issue (April 23, 1952)
WHAT ABOUT AN HONOR CODE AT OREGON?
(lid. Note: The other night
we brought together four per
sons to talk uImiiiI tlie honor
eoile—lean Gould, senior In
huslness, Trunk Neither, grail
Uttte In polltlenl seienee, unit
llenry Ambers unit Merv
Humpton, seniors In political
science. We also asked Mor
ton Kroll, Instructor In politi
cal seienee, to moderate the
Miss tiould and Hampton
represent the "pro” side; Neu
ber and Ambers, the "con.”
The “pro”, representatives are
botlt members of the code com
mittee and Miss Gould studied
for a year under the Stanford
honor system. Ncubcr anti Am
bers take the “con” stand.
A Mature Attitude
ItKOI.I.: VVhiit w<-'re going to
do is present the basic arguments
foi and against and have rebut
tals and general discussion.
OO( U): Our purpose in formu
lating tins plan wus to develop
a more mature attitude toward
the acquisition of knowledge and
to foster a genuine pride in yi<
academic excellence of the school.
15;, lliis we demonstrate' our be
lief that the students of the Inl
vrrslt.v of Oregon do have u bas
ically good character mill that
they can, when given opportunity,
help themselves to stop the cheat
Our ideal is not to stop it, but
we hope to lessen it.
Wouldn't Be Fair
We have reasons for wanting it
to tie instituted ull over the uni
versity at one time. It wouldn't
be fair to think that a person
could go Into an 8 o'clock class
and have the honor system in op
eration there and have the tradi
tion instilled in him to the point
that he would believe in the code
well enough to practice it prop
erly. and then go into a 9 o'clock
and take a test where the honor
code wasn't being used and where
there was cheating.
A person either lias a feeding of
a spirit and a tradition of honor
and It’s either fostered In him or
isn't. We don't feel that It can
lie cut off at 8:50 a.m. and start
ed at any time again later.
People who have gone to a
School and had that spirit Instilled
in them are much less apt to
cheat. 1 honestly believe that they
probably don't if brought up that
way, more than those who have
been under a system where cheat
ing Is the thing to do.
It's basically a belief that the
students when given a chance can
develop this attitude and use the
KKOLL.: In other words, you
feel that the honor code should
he adopted as a whole rather than
Must Give Proof
NEl'BEli: I’m quite pleased to
see Miss Gould assume the neces
sity for defense of the plan be
cause it has always been my
feeling that the proponents of
chnnge have the burden upon
their side. That they are the ones
who have to justify what they
, propose doing.
I start from the supposition
that we have a system which is
working fairly well and before a
change is to come we must have
► a rather concrete demonstration
that the change will be better.
Haven't Proved Case
It's impossible to accept the
' thesis that tomorrow must be
better because it could not be
‘ worse. Therefore I feel that it is
the responsibility of the honor
Both Sides Agree 'Honor' Is Good,
But Differ on Method and Degree
code people to prove their case.
And I feel that they have not
done so in the past, at least not
to my satisfaction, and to the
satisfaction of many others.
The opponents of the honor
rode system are not against hon
or. They are not against this Ideal
dream of a situation in whleh
men will police themselves and
there will l»e no need for men In
blue suits to run uround und
knock them over the head.
It Is a beautiful dream that
some day men can watch out for
themselves, that some day they
can be trusted in ull situations.
Not all men can be trusted, and
not all men, even the best, can
be trusted in any situation.
Man Good or Evil?
It comra down to the theory of
human nature that says that man
is not good or evil. Man is good or
evil according to circumstances
under which he is operating. It is
necessary not only to give
chances for people to manifest
the better side of their c haracter,
but also to put limits upon mani
festations of the worst in human
The honor code proponents
have shown some unwillingness
or inability to see the point of
their opponents. The characteris
tic argument Is to say If this Is
so then this Is so and this fol
lows, and then to forget about the
first its entirely.
If the honor code will eliminate
cheating and raise academic
standards, would you be for it?
There has been no demonstra
tion that it will do either. I am
still waiting for that demonstra
There has been a tendency to
confuse propaganda, or the pre
sentation of one side in order to
get definite' judgment, with edu
The honor code committee has
a responsibility to point out not
only the possibilities for success
but also the danger spots and the
possibilities of failure.
Avoid Vexing Questions
The group has shown a great
willingness to avoid vexing ques
tions. They have been tempted to
go nhead on faith and say the
system must work so it will work,
without meeting some awfully
There has been a tendency to
set up sample arguments, which
in many cases have been easy to
refute and which have been re
futed or passed over. I don't think
that the arguments attributed to
the opposition have done the op
position entire justice.
There Is a tendency toward
legalism, toward the theory that
a system is what is needed. All we
need to do is set up a law and set
up some legal framework and
the thing will work.
You have to pay some attention
to the concrete facts of existence.
You can't establish a panacea by
legislating a utopia that has also
a tendency to say that if anyone
does not go along, that doesn’t
really matter. He can be bypass
ed. I read here from possible ar
gument number six of the code:
“If the students really want
and ask for an honor code it is
believed that the large majority
of the professors will cooperate
in supporting the experiment. Ac
tually, it really doesn’t matteiv
The students can bypass the in
I don’t like the sound of by
passing the instructor. I still
think that is a matter of individ
ual decision on the part of the in
structor as to how he will run his
I do not think that extra legal
enforcement measures or duplica
tion of enforcement measures in
a class Is desirable.
The argument for totality says
that it is unfair. I’m unable to
understand why it is unfair to
have the honor system in certain
circumstances and not in others.
If the honor code Is so good
why not let the people become
convinced instead of passing a
i- - ■
What They Say...
PRO“An Honor code will
decrease cheating, raise the
academic level of the Univer
sity, give the students a great
amount of pride in their uni
versity and make them better
CON:“If the honor code is
so good why not let the people
become convinced instead of
passing a law to coerce the
minority. Why not let instruc
tors adopt the honor system on
their own convictions that it
law to coerce the minority? Why
not let instructors adopt the hon
or code system on their own con
viction that It is good when they
HAMPTON: Mr. Neuber's atti
tude is a very conservative one,
and one we've never l5een able to
fit into our minds.
We're looking at the code from
a very positive standpoint and a
progressive viewpoint. We believe
it a very important step in the
right direction and that its bene
fits will be very measurable if
given the proper time and if the
proper attitude is allowed to build
itself up in the minds of the stu
dents and the faculty.
We’ve proposed a positive rath
er than a negative program; one
which we believe is preventive
rather than punitive. We’re not
interested in bringing students up
to the honor court and seeing that
they’re expelled or seing that
they’re given some sort of a pun
ishment. What we’re mainly In
terested in is installing an honor
code and decreasing, in large
measure, the amount of cheating.
Mr. Ncuber spoke of the exist
ing situation, the status quo,
which he's in favor of as being
all right. I believe that the survey
taken by the discipline committee
would refute that statement.
Forty-seven per cent of the stu
dents polled have cheated at one
time or another. That's a very
sizeable figure and to us it’s im
portant. It demonstrated very
definitely the need for some cor
Will Decrease Cheating
We believe an honor code will
decrease cheating, raise the aca
demic level of the University, give
students a great amount of pride
in their school and make them
better citizens when they have to
face the life of a graduate.
• AMBERS: A couple of basic
fallacies exist. One of them is
that of argument number eight:
"Natural or habitual cheaters
would tend to make efforts to
beat the system.”
That would naturally assume
that there are some that can be
classified as natural or habitual
cheaters and I wouldn’t know
how anyone would go about clas
sifying them as such.
It is largely a matter of moti
vation, this business of cheating.
It all depends on what the stu
dent has to win or lose.
Good Students Cheat
Cheating v/ill be done by both
borderline eases and by people
who have a large motivation for
honor societies and so forth.
Somebody who really wants Phi
Beta Kappa would, if necessary,
cheat to get it.
Another assumption that I
would like to re-emphasize is the
idea of the instructor.
I do not think that an honor
system will work in a university
where the objective testing meth
od is used as largely as here. It
does work at Stanford but it has
worked there under a different
type of program. I don’t mean
because it's a private type of in
stitution and the students have to
pay large sums of money to go
there, but because the whole uni
versity is oriented differently.
The idea there is almost like
that of professors here who use
the open book examination—the
idea that the test is built around
is to keep the students so busy
they will not have time to cheat.
Going along with that, it does
not give them a chance to ob
serve anyone else’s cheating. Out
of all the cases last year at Stan
ford only nine of them were re
ported. Eecause the faculty have
absenced themselves from the
classroom during the examination
in all departments except lan
guage (where they figure an es
say type test will not work) there
were only seven cases of cheating
in the whole school reported by
the faculty and only two by stu
dents. Where the honor system is
used the faculty are not normally
present in the classroom and the
two that were sent up to the stu
dent court by the faculty were
later suspended. The two report
ed by the student body were ex
Another criticism is the idea
that the student will automatical
ly stop cheating when he hears
a pencil tapping.
That's fine, but when does the
peneil start tapping when the
whole exam is designed to keep
the student so busy he does not
have time to cheat and naturally
the other students will not have
time to stop him?
When will the pencil start tap
ping, before the cheating is ac
complished or after it ?
Two football players were sus
pended from the University of
Florida where an honor code is
practiced and also OSC used it for
a period of time and the student
body, not the faculty, voted it out
because it didn't work. The OSC
system is pretty much like the
system here only the exams are
KROLL: We now have the
basic arguments and rebuttals
presented. A good deal of the dis
cussion has centered about the
element of cheating in the honor
system and I wonder whether all
of you consider cheating the most
important reason for the adop
tion of an honor code and whether
there are some other elements
which don't enter in which upon
further analysis might not be as
important in a pro or con argu
HAMPTON: Very definitely.
We believe this is one of the
biggest steps we eould take in
the advancement of student gov
ernment. We would 1m- giving
aeademie achievement to the stu
dents. It would be theirs to watch
and theirs to safeguard.
Ey an increase in their respon
sibility it would tend to increase
the maturity and intelligence of
the average student.
I’d like to point out a mistake
in Mr. Neuber’s argument. He
seems to be a bit bitter about
the statement in the report that
the instructor can be bypassed
anyway. That was unfortunate.
It was not in the report that was
accepted by the senate.
We strongly take into consider
ation the part that the faculty
must play. This honor system
cannot go into effect without the
cooperation of the faculty.
NEUBER: I’m pleased to find
the committee admitting that
they can make mistakes. How
ever, why is student government
itself good? Is student govern
ment necessarily always good or
is good government good, not
necessarily student government?
HAMPTON’: Government is a
necessity. I don’t see how we'Te
going to get along without it un
less we're advocating anarchy.
NEUBER: I don't think anyone
is saying we're going to get along
without it. I'm asking why the
students exercising governmental
powrer is set up as a good. Have
you any proof that student gov
ernment is the best government ?
HAMPTON: What government
would you advocate over student
government ? Isn't it proper that
the students run their own gov
NEUBER: I'm not advocating.
I am questioning.
I am wondering if perhaps in
some situations it may be better
for the faculty to have the final
say. I think discipline is one of
To Become Adults
GOULD: One thing we come to
the University for is to become
adults. Nine-tenths of the people
here come basically as children
and become adults while they’re
here. One phase of college that
helps them to mature is in work
ing with student government and
in learning leadership and also
in learning how to follow along
with their fellow students if they
happen to be followers.
The faculty does have the final
say in this. Any action taken by
the student court can be criti
cized and taken back for review
by the court and in the long run
it can be completely superceded
by whatever the faculty says
through its discipline committee.
The students are just asking
for a chance to prove that they
can run their own affairs in this
line as well as the lines that we
AMBERS: Miss Gould says
that faculty have the last say
anyway and that after the stu
dent court passes on the matter
then it goes to the faculty for
GOULD: No, not necessarily.
It can, though, if the faculty is
critical of the action they still
have the ultimate power.
For Campus Stars
AMBERS: One fact that we,
as students, all realize is the ne
cessity at time for various
“stars” on the campus and it
would bring; up a very interesting"
point that if one of these “stars”'
were brought up for cheating and
suspended by the honor court,
(Please turn to page six)