Walking past the beautiful Wren Building the other day, I was reminded of one of my favorite government organizations, as well as one of the most unique things at William & Mary: the Honor Council. The Honor Council is the W&M student government system that judges honor pledge violations on campus. William & Mary was the first university to create an honor code system. To this day every student before they begin classes their first year, pledge the honor code to the university in the Great Hall of the Wren Building. It states: “As a member of the William & Mary Community, I pledge on my honor not to lie, cheat, or steal, either in my academic or personal life. I understand that such acts violate the Honor Code and undermine the community of trust of which we are all stewards.” Not only is this pledge one of my favorite traditions on campus, but the student body and surrounding community truly take it to heart. For example, people trust the W&M community so much on campus to enact this pledge that many students will leave their bags and laptops unattended without worry.
The Honor Code and Council truly act as our on-campus government system, putting rules in place that has helped William & Mary run for the past 325 years, and will continue to do so into the future. I hope if you ever get the chance to visit William & Mary that you are able to witness this Honor Pledge in action, not just posted on every academic classroom on campus, but also in the way the student body conducts themselves every day!
Until next time,
Megan Stumpf ’19