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Haverford Honor Code

gtalum1970gtalum1970 Posts: 3Registered User New Member
edited July 2013 in Haverford College
My daughter is considering Haverford College but has developed concerns about the honor code. She has a lot of integrity and is very honest, but is concerned that her irreverent sense of humor might get her in trouble. She is also worried about being ostracized if her views are different from the "norm". Although she supports the freedoms available through the honor code, she is intimidated by the rules.
How often are students brought in front of the council? Do friends, dorm mates, or classmates report infractions such as drinking or other illegal substances?

Thank you
Post edited by gtalum1970 on

Replies to: Haverford Honor Code

  • palindromegirlpalindromegirl Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    Hello! I am also applying to Haverford this year, so while I haven't spent any significant amount of time there, I have a friend who is in his junior year. From what he's told me, while the Honor Code lends a unique atmosphere to the school, and in general the student body is more grounded/mature than you might see at another college, they are perfectly normal kids and do not seem to behave prudishly, etc. It seems the Honor Code is most alive in campus safety/security and student/teacher relationships, etc., not partying or making irreverent jokes. (Keep in mind this is not coming from an admissions officer/anyone who actually attends the college, though!)
  • revbon50revbon50 Posts: 185Registered User Junior Member
    Hi There: I am a parent of a senior so I think I can add something to this discussion. HC is a very accepting and laid back school. The honor code promotes mutual trust and understanding and not at all what you daughter fears. A young woman I know who graduated a few years ago always says that there must be someone at HC who is not nice, but she has yet to meet them! HC is a school where fit is especially important. I think if your daughter visits and still has concerns about the honor code then perhaps it isn't the right school for her. In general, the kids I know who love HC felt at home the moment they stepped on campus. The honor code promotes freedom of thought and belief and does not limit students at all. In terms of drinking, etc. HC kids do party but there is respect for those who choose not to. Quaker bouncers monitor parties for safety -such as making sure that kids get back to their dorm ok - but to turn them in. Hope this helps.
  • absweetmarieabsweetmarie Posts: 1,905Registered User Senior Member
    I've seen a number of posts in which people have expressed "concerns" about the honor code at Haverford. Having read the code, I'd have to say it seems pretty unassailable. So, what's the deal? Is the student body overzealous in applying the code? Is there hypocrisy (i.e., gap between real behavior and ideal behavior as expressed in the code)? Is there rampant controversy about how to interpret the code, a la debate about the U.S. constitution? Can someone comment on how implied parts of the code ("don't talk about grades") become understood by the community? Does this code make Haverford so very different from other LACs that, one presumes, also frown upon plagiarism and other forms of cheating? Lots of questions, I know. I have a sense my daughter would flourish here, though I think she'd be irritated if it seemed there was too much talk about matters she really takes for granted.
  • absweetmarieabsweetmarie Posts: 1,905Registered User Senior Member
    Oops. Sorry if I should have started my own post. I hope I'm appropriately riffing on the OP.
  • HC AlumHC Alum Posts: 604Registered User Member
    GTAlum, I’d encourage your daughter to not think of them as rules. It really should be an expression of what she already believes in. An irreverent sense of humor is not going to be an issue at HC as many of the students (and alumni) are a little quirky including some of the faculty as well. If she happens to say something that someone else views as upsetting, HC’s campus culture encourages individuals to approach one another in a way where views are expressed with the goal being to find mutual understanding... not censure Although HC is no longer religiously affiliated, its campus culture is still influenced by many Quaker principles; the idea of “inner light,” not being afraid to voice one’s mind when moved to speak, consensus building and tolerance. Regarding drinking and drugs, students are encouraged to look out for each other for safety reasons.

    Partying like it should be | The Daily Pennsylvanian

    Partying like it should be
    Haverford College uses students to monitor parties, keep students safe

    Last week, I argued that the University's overbearing alcohol guidelines and monitoring for registered parties are creating an unacceptable safety gap between registered and un-registered parties. This week, I would like to propose a solution to this problem: Quaker Bouncers.

    Jeff Millman, a senior at Haverford College, came up with the brilliant insight that the best people to monitor student parties are students themselves. This idea became the cornerstone of Millman's not-for-profit party monitoring organization, known as "Quaker Bouncers." Its mission is to cut down on the amount of alcohol-related incidents on campus as well as decrease the damage done to the campus during parties.

    They've done a great job of doing precisely that. Since Haverford instituted the Quaker Bouncers program in the spring of 2005, the number of alcohol-related incidents reported at Haverford, which had been on the rise in recent years, decreased from 27 to four in one semester.

    "I'm very glad that they are there because they are our extra ears and eyes. As students, they get access to places that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for our alcohol monitors to get to," said Tom King, the director of security and safety at Haverford.

    Small wonder, then, that the Quaker Bouncers have been so successful at reducing the frequency of incidents related to alcohol. Their recipe for success is very simple -- so simple, in fact, that Penn could easily replicate it.

    First, Millman recruits students who, like to party like he does and thus know how to recognize unsafe behavior or when someone's drank too much. The recruits then go through extensive training with the head of security and the dean of student life at Haverford, as well as a seminar on how to spot signs of alcohol poisoning. Furthermore, each Quaker Bouncer is given a radio transmitter with a direct link to Haverford Security, so that, in case of trouble, help can arrive on the spot in minutes.

    "Their response time to emergencies is phenomenal," Millman said. Best of all, the Quaker Bouncers are a free service to the students who request their help since the organization is funded by Haverford student activity funds.

    As a result, Haverford students aren't afraid to call the Quaker Bouncers to help ensure a safe party environment. Why? Because, unlike Penn alcohol monitors, who come to parties clipboard-in-hand, ready to write-up fraternities and other host organizations for the smallest infraction, the Quaker Bouncers come to parties with only one goal in mind: ensuring a safe party atmosphere.

    "The hosts know that we're not there to enforce rules, but to make sure that everyone's safe," Millman said, "and because of that, we are generally well-received by the hosts, who trust us and ask for our services."

    Could you ever imagine a fraternity at Penn calling up Larry Moses and his legions from the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs to ask them to come over and check out the unregistered party to make sure everyone is safe? Of course not -- precisely because there is such an adversarial relationship between alcohol monitors at Penn and host organizations.

    "At Haverford, we do not require students to register parties with us," King said.
    Hence, there's no rift between safe and unsafe parties at Haverford. Through the Quaker Bouncers program, Haverford does its best to ensure that every party is a safe party, unlike Penn, which vouches for registered events but just flat out doesn't care about what happens at the unregistered parties.

    The solution is thus obvious: The Penn Quakers need to get some Quaker Bouncers so that the rift between safe and unsafe parties can be bridged. Penn has all the right ingredients for creating its own batch of Quaker Bouncers: a Student Activities Council willing to dole out money for worthy causes, entrepreneurial students who'd be willing to take up the initiative and put it on their resumes and plenty of party-goers who'd love to earn money while ensuring a safe environment for their peers.

    The major obstacle, however, is that the University administration would have to embrace a realistic approach to alcohol policy: they'd have to learn to think of Penn students not as children but as responsible young adults who can be trusted to monitor their own parties using this system. Right now, that's far from the status quo.

    "There has to be a balance between alcohol rules, freedom and oversight," King said.
    And the Quaker Bouncers provide that balance.

    Let's hope then, for safety's sake, that OFSA and the Office of Alcohol Policy and Initiatives will someday be as forward-looking as Haverford's administrators.
    Cezary Podkul is a junior philosophy major from Franklin Park, Ill.
  • HC AlumHC Alum Posts: 604Registered User Member
    Hi ASM. I will give you my opinion on your inquiry. In my experience though, students/alumni will likely provide you with different reasonable opinions and interpretations of what the honor code means to them. It should also be noted that almost all students enter HC with one idea of what the honor code is and their final understanding of it (which is often richer, more abstract and more personal) doesn’t evolve until late into their time at HC or even until after they graduate and reflect back. I’ve written about this tons in the past so I’ll just copy/paste in hopes that it answers your question.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/haverford-college/326716-report-cheating.html?highlight=rose#post3932082

    rose88: “Dietcoke wrote the following: "The Haverford honor code thing sounds kind of terrifying, really. I'd think long and hard about if you want to go to school where students are obligated beyond personal ethics to report cheating and the like".
    My question: Is it true that students are obligated to report cheating?”

    response: “What does obligated mean to you? If you are away in college and hate your parents but recognize that they are the ones paying your tuition, you may feel obligated to call them. If however, instead, you have a great relationship with your parents, the same action of giving them a ring doesn’t seem like an “obligation” anymore does it? The Honor Code (for better and worse) selects out students who are interested in being part of a community that has and expects higher standards of its members.

    1st, I wouldn't characterize it as “reporting”. It simply says that if you feel your trust/ or the community’s trust has been “violated” by the actions of another, the Code puts down in writing that it is the norm and the expectation of the community for you to not walk away from your problem and to address the issue yourself first…. from cheating to destruction of property to disrespect. Yes, doing this is difficult but it is also mature and what important lesson in life isn’t hard? I know that some colleges argue that they “don’t need an honor code” but not needing and saying you don’t need are not the same. As a physician who has trained in “top 10” hospitals, I even see mature adults gifted in every way take “short-cuts”. In addition, look at business and politics… even among highly accomplished and very smart people, it is the EXCEPTION when someone actually steps up to the plate and calls it how it is… ie Mark Foley. Ask your parents… it’s easier in office politics to look the other way, ignore problems and then fume behind someone’s back. The Honor Code states that we can be better than that. For me, it wasn’t “terrifying” but rather empowering. The Honor Code makes you think. Whether you confront someone or not, the presence of the Code makes you at least realize what is the ideal and it makes you reflect why/why not you lived up to these expectations. Again, this is not for everyone and it may not be for you. Honestly, I think my college experience would have been far less complicated and difficult if I didn’t have to think about such issues while juggling backbreaking academics and ###extra-curriculars… but I realized that “education” isn’t just what you learn in books and is what I try to encourage people to think about here.”
  • HC AlumHC Alum Posts: 604Registered User Member
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/haverford-college/241199-weighing-s-s-size-honor-code.html#post3369916

    For applicants who are unclear as to what makes HC unique among colleges. GO HAVERFORD! - brought to you by FIG is the student calendar and black board page. I think they recently started putting up candid quotes about the honor code from students... a few are negative-neutral but most are overwhelmingly positive. If you refresh the page, you can read a new quote. Just looking at it briefly, I found this one, which reflects my time at the college as well.

    "I appreciate the Honor Code in its entirety, but recently I have begun to especially observe the acts of Confrontation and the living by Community Standards by several members of the college. I completely abide by and respect the Academic portions of the Code, but since we all live, eat, sleep, and shower together; I believe that the social section of the Honor Code deserves praise as well. Recently, there was a party in the basement of Gummere. There were many beverages served and, as at most parties, the floor ended up covered in a thick layer of beer and plastic cups by the end of the night. The next morning I had my window open to let in fresh air and happened to hear the conversation among two members of the staff who were talking about the awful mess that we had left for them. I believe this to be unacceptable, for it is not their job to clean up our ridiculous messes, and told several of my floor mates. We all concluded that we should apologize to the two staff members and offer to help clean the basement. It is the fact that we confront our problems and take community issues into our hands with the hope to resolve them that I love our Honor Code and hope to see if continue to grown and improve."
  • HC AlumHC Alum Posts: 604Registered User Member
    Abstract from an honor code trial where a student was concerned about breaking the code and “reported” herself for cheating.
    http://students.haverford.edu/janderso/Doris%20and%20Schuster.pdf
  • revbon50revbon50 Posts: 185Registered User Junior Member
    I find that most of the concern expressed about the Honor Code is by people who do not attend HC. Yes, everyone associated with HC is encouraged to think about what living by the Honor Code really means but day to day the students at HC just live their lives and do not think about the Honor Code every second of every day. I still say a visit is worth a thousand concerns. Once someone spends a few days at HC, I think the concern vanishes and one knows if this community is the right place for him/her.
  • HC AlumHC Alum Posts: 604Registered User Member
    Follow up from post #6

    TheDartmouth.com: Green Team data suggest progress

    Millman said he modeled the Green Team program after the Quaker Bouncer program at Haverford College, which he started eight years ago. Haverford students are 85 percent less likely to be hospitalized at a party when members of the Quaker Bouncer program are present, according to Millman.

    Green Team, a student-run group that provides sober monitors to campus parties, has collected data on its interventions and successes since its creation, according to Jeffery Millman Tu ’12, who started the program at Dartmouth in February 2011. At parties monitored by Green Team since its inception, only two students have required transport to Dick’s House or hospitalization, and only one of those students became intoxicated primarily at the monitored party, according to Millman.

    The number of medical transports from parties at which Green Team was present, however, does not necessarily speak to the monitors’ effectiveness, since students may leave these parties intoxicated and only seek assistance after moving to a different location, according to Aurora Matzkin ’97, the president’s special assistant for student health. Relying on this number as an indicator of success may also create a disincentive for Green Team members to seek medical help for students who need it, she said in an email to The Dartmouth.

    Over the past year, Green Team members have taken “direct action” with students at least 3,000 times, according to Millman. Green Team members are trained to talk to students that appear to be drinking too heavily, offer water and pizza and help students back to their rooms, Millman said.

    About 50 students sign up each weekend to be “on call” for Green Team. More than 425 students have completed Green Team training and 356 students have signed up to “possibly work,” according to Millman.

    At $11 an hour, Greek Team is the highest paying campus job for which any student is eligible, according to Millman. The College provides funds to pay students and for water and pizza in “party packs” delivered to parties, Millman said.

    Because Green Team is not an enforcer of College policy, members can increase safety at the “riskiest” parties, which often violate College policy, according to former Student Body President Max Yoeli ’12. Yoeli worked with Millman to customize the Green Team program to maximize effectiveness and said that Green Team’s access to unregistered parties is especially useful during Summer term, when none of the parties on campus are registered with the College.

    “Without that tenet, Green Team would have never worked,” Yoeli said.
  • jtphilajtphila Posts: 2Registered User New Member
    My daughter, '15, says that there is an ambulance on campus just about every weekend dealing with an alcohol related issue. She says the Quaker Bouncers don't make much of a difference.
  • oliver007oliver007 Posts: 127Registered User Junior Member
    Many colleges have Honour Codes. Most of them do not act self-important about that, nor do they enforce the code in a draconian manner. Haverford appears to have a very aggressive sense of worthiness about their code...and that is a bit repellant. Afterall, it is silly to assume that students at other good schools (say, about 200 of them!) are any less endowed with morals and character. Haverford needs to grow out of this particular affectation and especially this aura of counterfeit ennoblement. They have a great Honour Code. Fine. Congratulations. Now let it be. It will not have the slightest adverse consequence for any student with a modicum of integrity and character. Move on.
  • megan12megan12 Posts: 488Registered User Member
    There's drinking on every campus - Haverford is no different. They never said it was. I think it's great that they're even trying to solve the problem. I went to a large university where there wasn't anyone policing the parties, and it was a mess and often out of control. Haverford is known for the student body policing itself and enforcing the rules. That's part of the Honor Code, and one of the reasons why these students choose this school. But it's only one part.

    I don't believe that Fords act self-important at all. If you speak to them, you'll see that they hold the Honor Code in high esteem. It is vital to the overall environment that the school has embraced, and it is something that the students have chosen to abide by. Never do they claim that their school is more "endowed with morals and character" than any other place. But these kids have chosen to live by a code that is steeped in tradition of openness and acceptance (what you call "draconian"), and I'm not sure why you find that so offensive.

    I don't think Haverford will ever "move on" because the Honor Code is central to who they are, unlike the majority of colleges today, including the ones with Honor Codes. It is what makes them unique, and it's why many students choose to attend. So by nature, I would think that the percentage of kids with higher morals and character would be drawn to a place like this because it fits their personality. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but it seems logical.

    Haverford has never claimed to be a Garden of Eden, and there are problems there like at any other school. But it is a place for those who want to live in an environment of openness and freedom, and that can come with negative consequences as well as positive ones. It's not for everyone, but I don't understand why people keep making statements that the Honor Code is so repelling. If you'd rather attend a college where the administration enforces all the rules and makes all the decisions, then there are many to choose from. Haverford is for a different kind of student. They shouldn't be insulted and criticized for that.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Posts: 902Registered User Member
    As a former member of the BiCo community, I just want to say I agree with megan12 above.

    Students who choose to attend Hford are ones who accept and support the notion of a community created through the Honor Code. Hford's Honor Code is not simply about academic integrity, it is a mechanism through which a community is created, with a common bond and commitment to a certain way to treat each other. While I am sure there are differences, on our visit to Grinnell for my son's college visits, the Grinnell prinicple of self-gov seems to reflect a similar commitment to students creating and sustaining their community. Quite different from the "top-down" approach of some other schools.

    The point is, for students to identify whether Hford, with its emphasis on community and accountability, is a good fit. Hford students tend, in my experience from my own education and knowing recent grads, to be generally modest, well-intentioned and earnest kids.
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