The Graduate Student Council (GSC) reaffirmed its support for the Faculty Senate’s recent unilaterally approved revisions to Stanford’s Honor Code during the Council’s Tuesday meeting. The motion approved by the Senate last Thursday explicitly permits exam proctoring in the upcoming school year, sidestepping a student vote and ending an over 100-year precedent of “shared governance” on academic integrity between Stanford faculty and students.
Honor Code discussion
The GSC is one of the five governing bodies whose approval was necessary for the University to enact the Committee of 12’s (C12) proposed Honor Code revisions. During its meeting last Tuesday, the GSC voted to approve these revisions, which include commissioning and implementing a multi-year study about “equitable proctoring practices.”
After both the GSC’s and the Board on Judicial Affairs’ (BJA) vote of approval, the proposals were heard by the Undergraduate Senate, where the proposed revisions failed to pass twice.
Last Thursday, after the BJA, GSC and UGS votes had taken place, the Faculty Senate unilaterally approved revisions to Stanford’s Honor Code that would permit exam proctoring starting in the 2023-24 school year, explicitly allowing proctoring explicitly for the first time in 102 years.
GSC member Lawrence Berg, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in chemistry, explained at the GSC’s Tuesday meeting that the current situation leaves the UGS with two options: accept proctoring starting in the fall of 2023 (the revision passed by the Faculty Senate)or adopt the C12 proposal to carry out a two-to-four year long study on proctoring.
“[This] essentially puts the undergraduates between a rock and a hard place on either accepting proctoring immediately or going into this study,” Berg said.
GSC co-chairs Emily Schell, a fifth-year developmental and psychological sciences Ph.D. student, and Jason Anderson, a third-year aeronautics and astronautics Ph.D. student, had also pledged their endorsement of the C12 proposal alongside Berg at last Tuesday’s GSC meeting.
“We were very specific and tailored in our endorsement,” Berg said, emphasizing that the endorsement of C12 is only for the specific issue of proctoring, “with the caveat that [UGS] would be able to opt into the C12 recommendations.”
Schell said that the UGS was “unwilling to come to the table”, so the Faculty Senate took what Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Sarah Church called the “nuclear option” in unilaterally implementing Honor Code revisions.
“It’s not like the Undergraduate Senate said, ‘Let’s not do a study, let’s do something else,’” Schell said. “They literally just said no. No compromise in three years.”
Amira Dehmani, co-chair of the UGS, said the comments of the GSC and Faculty Senate have mischaracterized the process. She disagreed with Schell’s characterization that the UGS was not offering other solutions related to academic integrity.
“The UGS has engaged for the last year with the C12 offering multiple opinions and ideas to academic integrity. We created an entire committee to dedicate time and effort to this issue — I would even argue we spent the most time engaging with them compared to the other stakeholders involved,” Dehmani wrote.
The UGS did not view proctoring as the solution to the problem, according to Dehmani, adding that “faculty should create better and more fair assignments that do not push students to cheat, increase access to TAs and CTL appointments, support mental health and well-being of students, increase on-ramp courses for students coming from schools that didn’t offer them, etc.”
Dehmani said that the Faculty Senate’s vote “lacks respect for shared governance and is not them asking us to return to the table to come to a compromise.” She added that the UGS “would love” to come to a compromise, and plans to engage with the Senate in the next week before voting again on the C12.
“The bottom line is their methods to compromise were ultimatums and disrespect — which I find deeply problematic and would hope the GSC would too,” Dehmani wrote.
Representatives from R&DE were also present at the GSC meeting and provided updates on a Cinco de Mayo dinner event scheduled for this coming Sunday. The event will feature food made by James Beard award-winning chef Iliana de la Vega.
Eric Montell, Assistant Vice Provost for R&DE Stanford Dining, Hospitality and Auxiliaries, informed the GSC that the next food pantry will take place on Monday, May 8.
Berg asked Montell about EVGR Pub’s summer hours. According to Montell, R&DE is currently considering closing the Pub over the summer because it anticipates that there will be less activity on campus. “Some days, even currently, the Pub is not all that busy,” Montell said.
Montell added that R&DE is also considering the opinions of their vendor partner at Ray’s Grill in determining whether or not there will “be enough business for both EVGR Pub and Ray’s to be open.”