Honor Code Invokes Discussion

and October 20, 2011 Op-Eds, Opinion

Honor’s Journey Ends at Rollins
By Nick Nunn

“On my honor, I have not given, nor received, nor witnessed any unauthorized assistance on this work.” The academic honor pledge is a necessary aspect of our education at Rollins College. I put it on all of my work. Twice. Many students complain about its length and seeming uselessness. However, if students knew the long and rich history behind the honor pledge, they would understand its importance and why it is so valuable. So here I am to teach you its exciting history.

The academic honor pledge was originally brought to the United States by the pilgrims in 1492 (sometimes you don’t need the honor pledge to figure out a work wasn’t plagiarized). Fearing persecution from England for their honorable ways, the Pilgrims sought refuge in the new world. The pilgrims made it their mission to create a perfect and honorable world in their newly established settlement. Holding the academic honor pledge in high esteem, no one ever cheated or stole or showed any signs of dishonesty for centuries. Then, during the time of the Salem witch trials, the pledge was stolen and a curse placed on it by the witches of Salem. Pagan magic cursed the pledge, turning all who used it into mushrooms. And not the good kind of shrooms, the annoying kinds that pop up in your lawn if you don’t properly maintain it. So the pledge was avoided at all costs and eventually cast away to prevent the witches’ curse from turning any more people into mushrooms. Then, in 1885, that guy from the Dos Equis commercials appeared to the founders of Rollins College and provided them with the Honor Pledge. The curse had been cleansed from the Honor Pledge and Rollins tasked with eliminating dishonor from the world. The Dos Equis commercials guy said to the founders that the pledge had magical powers that would now destroy all who cheated on a paper, quiz or exam with the Honor Pledge. And to this day no one who signs the Honor Pledge has ever been able to cheat … and live for more than 1,000 years.

Do you really believe the college would make you write a silly pledge over and over again, insulting your integrity as well as your intelligence if the pledge didn’t really have magical powers to stop all who wrote it from cheating?

C’mon, Ryan, let’s not be ridiculous.

Honorable? Maybe. Annoying? Yes.
Ryan Lambert

Dearest reader,

Allow me to paint an iridescent verbal picture for you — one that will likely, despite its colorful recreation, seem all too familiar and commonplace. Imagine you are taking an exam in one of your most difficult classes. Pulse racing, palms sweating, you slog through the test and grope your way toward the finish line. After hours of labor (well, probably about an hour of labor) you begin to near the completion of your Herculean task. One question left ! Is this the end? Can the vehement beast (and your aching hand) finally be laid to rest? Suddenly, you hear an announcement that dashes your hope of full, unadorned victory: “One minute left ! Don’t forget to write the Honor Code on the back of your test!” You look down your last unanswered question, realizing you haven’t written and signed your honor to the aforementioned pledge. With time ticking away, you can’t help but think the following thought: ‘Well, shit!’

Now, I have no personal vendetta against Honor or its pledge, but sometimes we have to say ‘enough is enough!’ How much of our testing integrity are we willing to sacrifice to Honor and its maniacal code? All of my grumblings can be boiled down to this finite statement: does the Honor Pledge have to be so freakin’ long? This 36-comma’d behemoth (with one or two commas added for dramatic effect) has eaten up too many minutes of my valuable testing time! Plus, I’ve already spent at least 20 minutes writing this – time that could be used toward actual studying – and it is obvious I’d be directing my energies toward higher pursuits if it were not for Honor and its unwavering insistence I write its pledge even for busywork assignments! Oh, I’m certain my colleagues hold similar gripes, but their hands are far too tired and worn down by the heavy wheels of injustice.

Like any clairvoyant, my views always attract criticism (it’s not over, Nick Nunn!), and I can imagine them scoffing at my clear and concise articulation of a grave, grade-threatening problem. “It was created by your peers,” they might say, or “you signed onto it on the day of convocation!” To answer the first of these jejune objections, allow me to propose the following solution: have the creators of this pledge write the thing 800 god-damned times and see if they still like it. To the latter, let me be the first to say I did not sign that coercive slip of paper the day of convocation (this, however, does not keep my teachers from taking off points whenever I forget to write the code). Regardless, can you really call this damnation of our incoming students via inadequate test times ‘Honorable?’

The next time you are struck with the pangs of injustice whilst writing the Honor Pledge, remember that you are not alone in your turmoil! So how do we fight back against all of this? Write annoying letters to The Sandspur. I hear they love that.


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