Campus implements strategies to prevent cheating and stealing

Some students are concerned that they’re not trusted by the university to adhere to the honor system


Dining Services temporarily required students to sign these slips when they swiped for meals in the sorority houses. Photo by Elizabeth Bell.

Elizabeth Bell

Washington and Lee University’s campus services and faculty have implemented measures to prevent honor violations.

Dining services has tried several strategies this semester to make sure sorority women are swiping for their meals, over a year after swipe machines were installed in each of the houses. 

“They kind of go against everything W&L values about trust and to do the right thing,” said Gavron Campbell, the sophomore representative on the Executive Committee.

Students eating at sorority houses are now required to write their name and student ID number on a clipboard, pledging that they swiped for their meal. 

“On my honor, I certify that I have swiped for my meal in another house,” the form reads.

Campbell wouldn’t say for sure if a student not swiping for a meal constitutes an honor violation because the honor system is not codified. 

“What is an honor violation depends on the community’s standards for that year and that Executive Committee,” she said. “Is it a dishonorable act? I would say yes.” 

Maggie Phipps, ‘21, said she understands that when students do not swipe for meals it places a financial burden on the school. But she doesn’t think all of the students who do not swipe for meals are doing it on purpose.

“The honor system is all about trust and I don’t think anyone is trying to violate anyone’s trust,” Phipps said. “I think some of it is just habitual forgetting.”

Campbell said many of her friends feel that the new forms show a lack of trust in students. 

“With talking to my peers, many of them find it not reflective of our honor system, which I agree with,” Campbell said. 

A sign that used to be posted in the Hillel bathrooms threatened an honor violation for its removal, according to the Executive Committee business meeting minutes from Oct. 21. The sign had previously been purposely taken down from the bathroom several times. 

Director of Jewish Life Maggie Shapiro Haskett “had not realized that it was wrong to post the sign with the honor violation threat and said she would change the wording of the sign,” Class of 2020 Representative Bo Torbert told the Executive Committee at the Oct. 21 business meeting, according to the minutes. 

“It unnerves me that the university claims to have an honor system based on trust but they seem to lack faith in the student body to follow it,” said Annie Echols, ‘21. 

The Williams School has taken measures to prevent students from cheating by bringing up faculty concerns about students using their cellphones during exams. 

Earlier this month, Executive Committee President Will Bolton,‘20, offered his personal position on the matter to the Phi. It does not not reflect the viewpoint of the rest of the Executive Committee, he said. 

“I don’t think that the prohibition on phones is necessarily a measure to curb cheating on exams,” he said. “I think it’s more accurate to say that the ease with which a student could cheat on an exam by using a phone made faculty uncomfortable.” 

Bolton also asserted his belief that students continue to abide by the honor system. 

“The honor system is as strong or stronger than ever,” Bolton said. “The student body deserves the amount of faith faculty have in us.” 

Enuma Anekwe-Desince, ‘22, said some of the new rules and procedures that have been implemented make it seem like the honor system isn’t strong enough because those things should go without saying. 

“I wouldn’t say the school doesn’t trust us, though,” she said. “I would say they’re probably being more realistic about the ways that students probably fall short under what is seen as an infallible system.”