On my honor as a scholar and a gentleman I do not feel unwell, nor tolerate those who do

Back in the day UVa students had to sign an oath promising that “As a Scholar and a Gentleman, I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.” The history is interesting:

The University of Virginia has an honor code, formally known as the Honor System.[1] The Honor System is intended to be student administered.

It was founded by Virginia students in 1842 after John A. G. Davis, chairman of the faculty and professor of law, who was attempting to resolve a conflict between students, was shot to death.[2] The University had at that point a 17-year history of ongoing tensions between students and faculty over strictly enforced discipline, hours, and dress. Students, sons of the most prominent families of Virginia, found particularly galling the impugning of their honor by stringent supervision during tests: “[t]he students were allowed to bring only a pencil to the classroom, they were forbidden to speak, and the professors, operating in shifts, watched them with ‘lynx-like’ eyes during the course of the examinations.”[3] Law professor Henry St. George Tucker, Sr., proposed a basic honor pledge as an alternative to faculty oversight.[4]

Originally the honor system only applied to allegations of cheating, although it was subsequently expanded to hold students to a general standard of gentlemanly conduct: the shared values of an all white, all male Southern aristocratic tradition.[3][5]

The University of Oregon is now using a similar system to deal with Covid:

However they’ve omitted the “nor tolerate those who do” part of the pledge, which is really the most important part because it makes the pledge self-enforcing. At Mr. Jefferson’s University, failing to report that you had seen someone cheat was as serious an offense as was cheating. As a result students would report cheaters, and could be expelled if they did not.

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9 Responses to On my honor as a scholar and a gentleman I do not feel unwell, nor tolerate those who do

  1. Dog says:

    gee, that sounds exactly like any Deans Council meeting …

  2. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Quick cheap frequent DIY covid testing is coming soon, with any luck and good sense even among our cuckoo politicians. Every day or two you will test yourself for infectivity and have the result in a few minutes. Even breathylyzer tests may be coming. If you test infectious you quarantine for a week. If done seriously, combined with what we are already doing, this could put covid to bed. UO should make this mandatory. I wouldn’t be surprised if things are much better by Thanksgiving. Winter term may be back to normal. Read e.g. what Prof Michael Mina at Harvard (not the chef) is saying.

    • Eternal Skeptic says:

      I have a bridge you might be interested in buying, too…

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        Care to to explain what part of it you don’t buy? What part of Mina’s explanation?

        • CSN says:

          Not Eternal Skeptic, but these tests aren’t at-home tests. They have a lower accuracy rate. And you need to quarantine for more than seven days.

          But it’s good to hope!

          • honest Uncle Bernie says:

            At home coming soon. Accuracy less, but good enough for the purpose.

            I really recommend the pieces online with Michael Mina, explaining all this. The ideas have been around for months.

            • CSN says:

              Oh yeah, I’m not saying the tests are *bad* or that we couldn’t in theory take care of business.

              But I’m with Eternal Skeptic… seems unlikely that we’ll be able to before a change in leadership at the federal level.

        • Eternal Skeptic says:

          Mina’s research looks terrific and sensible, and I wish it would happen. I just don’t remotely believe it could be implemented in the United States, let alone by Thanksgiving.

          • honest Uncle Bernie says:

            You could well be right, of course, especially given the awful response to covid in this country so far.

            If Trump wanted to win big, he would just grab this, run with it, make it happen.

            Whether anyone around him has the smarts, I don’t know.

            But, the universities could make it happen locally on their own. That is why I am somewhat optimistic. I’ve read that U Ill Urbana is already headed this way.

            UO could make a name for itself jumping in early. And maybe save itself too.

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