Honor code proctoring pilot unanimously approved by Undergraduate Senate

May 24, 2023, 12:05 a.m.

After the previous Undergraduate Senate (UGS) twice voted to reject the Committee of 12 (C12)’s proposed changes to the Honor Code, the newly inaugurated 25th UGS unanimously voted to approve their proposal, which includes changes to the text of the Honor Code and a study into exam proctoring, in its meeting on Tuesday.

The vote came after the Faculty Senate bypassed the UGS’s previous votes in order to unilaterally propose a motion on April 27 that would allow in-person proctoring for the first time since 1921, starting in September of the upcoming 2023–24 academic year.

The UGS’s approval of the proposed Honor Code changes supersedes the Faculty Senate’s historic April 27 motion. Instead, the C12 proctoring proposal allows proctoring only as part of a study for researching exam conduct.

Senator Khandaker Aqib ’25, the sole abstaining vote, said that the UGS’s vote was for “the lesser of two evils,” between a small study into proctoring, as proposed by the C12, and the full-scale ability to proctor, as implemented by the Faculty Senate motion.

“Our hands have been tied in many ways,” Aqib said. “We’ve been pushed into a corner.”

Since the Honor Code was written by Stanford students in 1921, it has been a mutual agreement between students and faculty. Members of the previous (24th) UGS had expressed opposition to the Faculty Senate’s vote to unilaterally permit proctoring in the upcoming academic year, citing breach of precedent and student trust.

Xavier Millan ’26, a student member of the C12, said that the new C12 proposals are preliminary and “the door is open” to incorporating more student feedback. He also said that the changes reduce “snitch culture,” which he said was the responsibility of students to report each other.

The C12, which is composed of five students, five faculty and two staff, researched academic integrity and discipline policies at Stanford for over one year before publishing its proposals and presenting them to Stanford’s governing bodies. The proposals include a pilot study into proctoring and a tiered judicial system.

UGS Parliamentarian Ivy Chen ’26 said that the vote would “kill two birds with one stone” by both restoring the UGS’s relationship with the Faculty Senate and by taking more student voices into account.

After Tuesday’s UGS vote, the C12’s proposals have been approved by four of the five necessary governing bodies: the Board on Judicial Affairs (BJA), the Faculty Senate, the UGS and the Graduate Student Council (GSC). The Faculty Senate’s bypassing motion specified that it would be superseded in the event that the C12’s proposals are approved by the governing bodies. Therefore, if University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne (whose office is the fifth governing body) provides his necessary approval, the Faculty Senate’s motion will be superseded by the C12’s revised Honor Code and associated proctoring study.

Some senators said that they looked forward to seeing the results of the proctoring study, which could help to inform future policies.

“There isn’t a lot of data and tangible understanding of the effects of proctoring,” senator Dilan Desir ’26 said. “I don’t think it’s about distrust of students or the culture on campus, and if it’s perceived that way, I think that’s a communication thing we need to think about.”

Nominations Committee appointments

Nominations Committee chair Matthew Jacquez ’23 said when considering nominations for University Committees, he wanted to “make sure… students actualize change,” are “engaged” and show confidence in leadership “even when challenged.”

The following students were unanimously approved by the UGS to be appointed to general University Committees for a term of one academic year.

The UGS also unanimously agreed to appoint the following students to the Judicial Panel Pool, which oversees honor code violations.

Other business

In the first legislation ever passed by the new Senate, the UGS unanimously approved a resolution authored by Kagurabadza to congratulate the outgoing ASSU executives, Darryl Thompson ’23 and Christian Sanchez ’24.

The UGS unanimously approved $80,000 of club funding for the past two weeks, proposed by UGS treasurer Ishaan Singh ’24.

Caroline Chen '26 is a Vol. 265 News Managing Editor. She is from Chapel Hill, N.C. and enjoys vegetable farms and long walks. Contact cqchen 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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