Today in NC State History: Honor code set to go up in smoke

June 1, 2015
By Chris Saunders

historyIconChances are if you have an incoming freshman starting college in the fall, he or she will probably hear a lot at orientations around the country this summer about the honor codes at their various institutions.

The honor system was very much on the mind of students and faculty at NC State in the mid-1930s, too. And it was on this day in 1934 that the system, which had been established by student leaders in 1921, faced an overhaul with such specific requirements that it would almost no longer need to exist.

The student council had already signed off on the changes, but the faculty was set to have the final say as they reviewed new policies that “will practically eliminate the Honor System except in name,” according to The Technician.

“One of the most striking features¬† of the new set-up is the naming of student proctors to report all cases of cheating observed in the classroom,” the paper reported in 1934. “Another change proposed is the requiring of all students to take alternate seats. If this cannot be complied with due to the smallness of the room, the professor will be asked to make out two sets of examination questions and distribute them alternately.”

Other requirements called for teachers to stay in the rooms for the duration of exams and for students to elect their proctors.

Though somewhat stringent, one new change was somewhat relaxed. “During the examination period, students shall leave the classroom only when necessary, and then only one at at time,” reported The Technician. “It is suggested that one or more relaxation periods be given the entire class. For example, one or two five-minute smoking periods.”

The process carried over into the fall of 1934, when the new system was put into place and the old one officially abolished. (The honor code would once again become an issue for students in the 1950s.)



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