Executive Committee considers splitting into two separate agencies

EC members discussed separating budget allocation from Honor System role


Lilah Kimble

Washington and Lee’s White Book, which first-years sign during orientation week each year to pledge commitment to the Honor System. The Executive Committee, which oversees honor matters, could split into two separate bodies, with one specifically dedicated to honor matters.

Chas Chappell, Staff Writer

During the Nov. 28 meeting, Executive Committee members debated dividing the organization to separate key responsibilities. A new club would handle budget allocation, while the EC would focus solely on the Honor System. 

Currently, the Executive Committee is tasked with two functions: to regulate the university’s Honor System and to allocate thousands of university dollars to various student organizations that apply for funding. 

Washington and Lee students also pitched in with comments. Mohammed Mourtaja, ’25, asked how EC members handle situations where their knowledge of a student from club allocation meetings could could conflict with fair judgment in an honor context. 

In a back and forth exchange with Mourtaja and other members of the student body, Executive Committee President James Torbert, ’23, dismissed notions of a conflict of interest between the organization’s two responsibilities.

Torbert outlined the recusal process for both honor and budget issues. He said that “by engaging with the student body outside of only honor cases, the Executive Committee has a better understanding of the W&L community,” according to recorded minutes of the meeting.

Vice President Peyton Tysinger, ’23, expressed similar sentiments.

“[I] would imagine that students would benefit from interacting with the Executive Committee, not just from a budget standpoint,” Tysinger said. 

Representative Jackson Doane, ’26, said separating would only worsen the increasingly small pool of candidates running for EC office. 

“If we were to separate it, I do not believe there would be enough interest in people willing to run for the separate bodies,” Doane said.

Charlie Mlcek ‘25, who was not at the meeting but has previously served on the EC, argued the opposite. 

“Once you split it up, it’s a lot less work,” Mlcek said. “ You don’t have to worry about honor and student governance taking up all of your time… running will be more appealing.”

Mlcek also pointed out specific groups of people who would likely fill the expanded number of roles under a separated system.  “[Hearing Advisors] would be interested in pursuing the Honor system component… and the people who want to continue student governance will be attracted to the student governance committee,” he said. “If anything, it garners more specific interest among the two.”

Chair of the Constitutional Review Committee Sarah Clark, ’23,  said the ability to specialize, and a reduced workload, are significant perks of a separated system.  But one drawback, Clark said, is “the potential for the body governing honor matters to lose key touch points with the student body.” 

Clark and the Constitutional Review Committee intend to release a student body poll on the current state of student self-governance in the future. 

Zach Corbin, ’26, argues that while the current setup of the EC has merit, a split system is the best option for the future. 

Corbin proposed a compromise between the two viewpoints by incorporating “an American-style [system] of checks and balances,” where the EC and a new organization overseeing budget allocation would work closely together. 

Students also voiced concerns at the meeting about a lack of transparency in EC election results.

Currently, EC election results are not publicly released. Students are sent an email after elections that inform them of the winners. The number of voters, turnout, and how many votes each candidate received are not publically shared with members of the student body.

According to the EC’s official meeting minutes, Mourtaja said that releasing election results would encourage more people, especially minority students, to run and vote in elections. 

The EC did not vote on either the separation or election result publication. And they did not set a date for a vote in the future.