The Honor and Discipline Committee is a wonderful institution at Williams. Here (pdf) is a copy of its latest report, from the academic year 2012 — 2013.

The Honor and Discipline Committee is made up of eight students, eight faculty, and the Dean of the College. The secretary to the Dean of the College assists committee members with their work, helping to schedule hearings, find rooms and equipment, collate evidence, and maintain records.

Student members are elected by their peers in September. There are two seats per class year. The Dean designates one student as chair. The Faculty Steering Committee appoints eight faculty members, striving for a balance among divisions and a mix of experience levels with the committee. The FSC designates a FacultyChair.

Honor hearings include eight student members, four faculty members (including the faculty chair and the Dean), who act as questioners, advisors, and the recording secretary. Only the students may vote. The faculty members rotate.

Discipline appeal hearings include four students and four faculty, including the two chairs. All members vote. Who is selected depends on scheduling and rotation, not on any other characteristics. As a party to any appeal, the Dean does not sit on the committee.

Comments:

1) I love that only students vote on honor violations. Is this true at other schools? The more responsibility that Williams places on its students, the better their education will be. And don’t think that this means that the Committee is easy on other students. If anything the reverse is true. By all accounts, students are much harsher judges of their peers than faculty would ever dare to be.

2) Is there a reason that faculty get to vote on discipline appeals? Has that always been true? The cynic in me thinks that it is a way for the Administration to minimize the chance that the students will, in a fit of jury nullification, overrule a decision made by the Dean of the College.

3) Note the amazing increase in the number of honor violations in the last few years. There were 31 cases! In 2005 — 2006 (pdf) there were 8. What explains the increase?

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