SGA unveils honor pledge at town hall

Sam Chandler, Managing Editor

The Student Government Association hosted a town hall meeting in Brock Forum on Monday, March 6, to unveil an honor pledge that will be voted upon in the upcoming SGA elections.

If voted affirmatively, the pledge will be sent to the university’s Board of Trustees for approval and introduced to incoming students at the beginning of next school year.

“The honor pledge is basically a statement that comes from students, and it articulates principles that we think are important for all of us as individuals and as an entire Samford community to hold to and to kind of live our lives according to,” senior Stone Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson, an SGA senator, is chair of the seven-person ad hoc honor pledge committee. The committee is comprised of students from various branches of student government.

The proposed honor pledge contains three main components, which center on belief, understanding and commitment.

It states: “I believe that the members of the Samford community possess dignity and are worthy of honor. I understand that honoring others fosters academic achievement, personal growth and spiritual development. I commit to hold myself and my peers to the standards of conduct and academic integrity maintained by the University. To this, I ___, pledge my sacred honor.”

Incoming students would be required to sign the pledge as freshmen. Hendrickson said that SGA would then facilitate ongoing peer education about the pledge as students progress through the university.
Notably, the pledge would not create any new policies or penalties, nor would it alter the university’s existing values code. According to SGA Chief Justice Lilla Bea Granger, the pledge is intended to improve and enhance campus culture.

SGA’s proposal for implementation states the pledge’s purpose this way: “The Code of Values and academic integrity policy express the administration and faculty’s expectations of us. The Honor Pledge expresses our expectations of each other.”

Hendrickson said the honor pledge committee, which initially formed three years ago, believes 2017 is an ideal time to instate the pledge. With Samford’s rising enrollment numbers and expanded course offerings, Hendrickson said that having students put pen to paper will help them stay connected with the university’s defining principles.

“I’m hoping that this is something that Samford students come to embrace and that creates some kind of change within campus and also develops as a new tradition,” Hendrickson said.
Adopting the pledge could eventually lead to the development and implementation of an honor code. Unlike a pledge, an honor code could create or modify the policies and penalties governing student life.
But that possibility looms further down the road. For now, Hendrickson said, the objective is to get the honor pledge approved.

“Samford is a university that’s defined by our traditions, and we’re hoping this becomes a really powerful tradition,” Hendrickson said, “ especially for incoming freshman students to kind of get a glimpse into the spirit of Samford and to embrace that in a really tangible way by signing their name to the honor pledge.”
SGA elections will be held Monday, March 27.

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