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Call to Honor ceremony refines university values

September 13, 2012

Flags marked with one of the four defining words of the Elon Honor code line the podium at the Call to Honor ceremony. Photo by Melissa Kansky

As published in The Pendulum:

The prominent four words in the honor code– honesty, integrity, responsibility and respect — encompass the values of the institution, and the Call to Honor ceremony demonstrates Elon University students’ commitment to those principles.

Although University President Leo Lambert leads the pledge to the honor code, students conduct the majority of the ceremony that took place this morning in the Academic Pavilion.

“We knew from the beginning (of developing the tradition) we wanted students talking to students,” said Mary Wise, associate vice president of academic affairs.

Representatives of Student Government Association and an alumnus introduce the honor code to the freshman, symbolizing the continuance of those values throughout one’s education, she said. The students who speak at the ceremony inscribe their name in the Call to Honor book on behalf of their class to show each class’ consideration of their character.

“They sign the book to show what it means to have respect and honesty on a college campus,” Wise said.

Although the book was created in 2006 in honor of the first Call to Honor ceremony, visiting alumni have signed the book, which now holds signatures from graduates dating as far back as the members of the Class of 1936.

The melody from “Somewhere over the Rainbow” welcomed new students arriving at the ceremony. Photo by Melissa Kansky.

“There are quite a few people who didn’t have to sign the book at all, but wanted to commit themselves to the values that it stood for,” Wise said.

The ceremony developed in 2006 in response to the revision of the university’s honor code and serves as a way to honor the message, Wise said.

Prior to currently accepted honor code, the student handbook contained two codes: one for social conduct and one regarding academic morality. The honor codes were characterized by a list of prohibitions rather than an explanation of accepted behavior.

“It was fairly negative, and the students weren’t very happy,” Wise said. “They wanted something more positive and uplifting.”

Nevertheless, the defining four words represent the concepts expressed in the previous document, according to Maurice Levesque, associate dean of Elon College and professor of psychology, who participated on the committees that produced the current honor code.

At the Call to Honor ceremony Thursday, first-year students pledged to uphold the Elon Honor Code. Photo by Melissa Kansky.

“I think (the committees) captured the spirit of what the old honor code had been so it wasn’t so much the creation of something knew,” he said.In 2003, faculty and staff members participated in the committee to study academic integrity and the committee to study the social honor code. Both groups examined the honor code as it was and developed a way to integrate those values into the university’s daily activities. Previously, students only encountered the honor code following a violation of the university’s principles, according to Levesque.“If nothing else, we talk about those more frequently,” he said.

Levesque referenced discussion of the Elon Honor Code during new student Convocation and the establishment of the Call to Honor ceremony as a means of reaffirming students’ inheritance of these values. Furthermore, incorporation of the honor code into course syllabi also produces a more deliberate way of thinking about academic integrity, braiding it into the learning process, he said.“Students may not recognize it, but (the concepts) affect every day we are in the classroom,” Levesque said. “I hope it affects the way they interact with each other outside of the classroom, and I want them to be positive and affirming.”

For a timeline of the development of the Elon Call to Honor Tradition, click here.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 15, 2012 2:39 pm

    Melissa, you are a steady reporter who really understands the way to put together an interesting news piece. You know how to get the voices of the people into your work!

    I would like everyone in our class to have a discussion of the use of parenthetical references in direct quoting. There are a few reporters – including you – who use them too often. They are not a part of reporting as a general rule but they seem to be a part of the style of some Pendulum reporters. In the Mary Wise quote at the top it is probably unnecessary. In all of the quotes – as long as you were gathering details in interviews with these people – you could follow the “if you showed it” rule, which is: If you showed the quote with the few extra words inserted to the person you are quoting and asked them, “Is this what you said – is it OK this way?” and they answered “yes,” then it is OK to add a minimal number of bridge words or to fill in words that they, in the course of the conversation, assumed you already knew them to be saying or referring to without repeating themselves to you. There’s nothing in parenthetical use in this story that could not have been written sans parentheses.

    You have some little copy editing fixes you should check out – for instance, you spelled “new” as “knew.”

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