Honor Code Pledge: "On my honor, as a University of Colorado at Boulder student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance."
CU-Boulder students initiated the idea of an honor code in 1998. Students were frustrated with the lack of academic integrity on campus. They felt that a student-run honor code would help curb academic dishonesty while building the campus community.
An honor code committee consisting of representatives from the student body, the faculty, and the administration was formed at CU-Boulder, including Eric Lentell, junior, and Trey Lyons, first-year law student, as co-chairs. Faculty and staff committee members included Vice Chancellor Ron Stump; Elease Robbins, dean of students; Michael Grant, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education; Jim Sherman, assistant dean in the College of Engineering and Applied Science; Tom Sebok, director of the Ombuds Office; and Diane Sieber, assistant professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Members attended several conferences on academic integrity in 1999 and in the fall of 2000, including two conferences presented by the Center for Academic Integrity.
Following the conferences, a website was developed with information and ideas about the proposed Honor Code for the University of Colorado Boulder. Information was also included in the 2001–02 university catalog, which stated, “A student-run Honor Code is expected to be implemented in fall 2001. The purpose of the Honor Code is to establish a community of trust within the colleges and schools by addressing acts of academic dishonesty.”
Honor Code committee members met with a variety of groups in fall 1999, spring 2000, and fall 2000, including Boulder Faculty Assembly, Council of Associate Deans, the Chancellor's Executive Committee, UCSU Legislative Council, United Government of Graduate Students, Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils, Residence Hall Association, business and engineering student governments, the Alumni Association, and the Parents Association.
A campus newspaper, the Carillon, published by the Department of University Communications, printed a story in November 1999 on the Honor Code and the initial steps being taken by the committee to explore the feasibility of developing an Honor Code system for CU-Boulder. The Carillon also ran an article on the special student referendum in an October 2000 edition. The local print and broadcast media published stories on the proposed Honor Code System in February, May, and October 2000.
The Honor Code Committee co-chair asked UCSU for its authorization to use their secure online election server, “I-vote,” for a campus-wide referendum by the student body regarding the proposed Honor Code. The UCSU Legislative Council approved the request on October 19. The vote was to be held on November 14–16, 2000, via the UCSU electronic voting system. A student e-memo on the November Honor Code special referendum was sent to 25,539 students, both graduate and undergraduate, via the registrar’s student e-memo system. Donald McCabe, a professor of organization management at Rutgers University who has conducted extensive research on college cheating, held campus presentations on November 1 and 2. He was also the chair of the university-wide committee that developed a new code of student conduct at Rutgers in 1994. McCabe has worked with many colleges in reviewing and revising their student judicial policies.
The Boulder Faculty Assembly approved a resolution supporting the Honor Code on November 2. The resolution noted that “honesty and integrity are essential for the achievement of academic excellence,” and “national research has demonstrated that the institution of an honor code significantly reduces lying, cheating, and stealing on university campuses.” It also stated that the laws of the Board of Regents “give the faculty principal responsibility for developing policy in the area of academic ethics,” and that BFA “intends to have full faculty participation in the writing of the code and the articulation of its specific policies.” The University of Colorado Student Union Legislative Council also approved a resolution supporting the Honor Code on November 2, by a vote of 9–2–1.
As the student vote drew near, advocates of the proposed system began a campaign of support. Information tables were set up around campus, bookmarks containing information on the Honor Code were distributed, several newspaper ads were printed, and a letter to student leaders on the Honor Code election referendum was dispersed. Also, two open forums were held on November 7 and November 13 to discuss the Honor Code proposal. The students voted electronically on the proposal in a special election on November 14, 15, and 16. In the three days of balloting, 1,098 students voted in favor and 503 voted against the measure for a total of 1,601 voting students. The measure passed by an almost 2–1 margin.
The vice chancellor for student affairs, as well as a number of other individuals from the administration, worked closely with students throughout the entire process of writing and promoting the CU Honor Code. The faculty also played a significant role in the development and support of the Honor Code. Further, continual support came from the Board of Regents, the chancellor of the Boulder campus, and the president of the university.
In 2010 the Honor Code Council drafted a new governing document, the Policies and Procedures. After receiving approval from the Campus Ethics Committee and Undergraduate Student Government, the document received approval from the Boulder Faculty Assembly on September 6th, 2012, and became effective immediately.
The students voted electronically on the proposal in a special election on November 14, 15, and 16. The measure passed by an almost 2–1 margin.
The CU-Boulder schools and colleges approved the Honor Code as follows:
Approval by the regents and chancellor was contingent upon the approval by the students and faculty. Thus, following the final vote in spring semester 2002, the Honor Code was adopted as campus policy. The Honor Code was a university-wide policy for its first semester in the fall of 2002.
The Honor Code Council drafted a new governing document, the Policies and Procedures, that became effective after receiving favorable votes from the Campus Ethics Committee, Undergraduate Student Government, and Boulder Faculty Assembly. The document replaced the Constitution and Bylaws upon receiving a vote from the Boulder Faculty Assembly on September 6th, 2012.