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In-person academics decreases honor code violations by half


Twenty-nine honor code violation cases were brought to the Honor Council during the 2022-2023 school year. This number marks a drop in cases, with half as many cases compared to the 2021-2022 school year.


St. Olaf has seen a decline in the number of honor code cases the past few years. Previously, 90 cases were documented in 2020-2021 and 58 cases in 2021-2022. The Honor Council report cites the decrease in cases is “given [to] the re-initiation of in-person examinations.”


Students have also become more proactive in reporting honor code violations. In the 2021-2022 school year, 10 of the 47 cases were reported by students. Comparatively, 18 of the 28 cases were reported by students this past year. 


“Due to the prevalence of online exams both during and after the pandemic, the opportunities for students to witness any violations were inherently limited, leading to a deviation from this trend,” said Honor Council President Mohamed Radalla ’25 in an email to The Olaf Messenger. “Nonetheless, I believe that we are gradually returning to students taking the lead again. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the core principle of the honor code centers around the students holding each other accountable.”


The Honor Council looks at each violation case individually. According to the Honor Council bylaws, their mission states “We aim to approach each case holistically in a restorative manner that emphasizes learning from mistakes and personal growth, while affirming the St. Olaf community’s commitment to academic integrity.”


The Honor Council hopes that they can uphold academic integrity by creating strong relationships with students on campus. “Our mandate is to adjudicate allegations of academic dishonesty arising from class examinations,” said Radalla in an email to The Olaf Messenger. “Yet, we find much greater fulfillment in engaging with our peers to uphold the Honor System on campus.”


The Honor Council aims to achieve engagement through New Student Orientation sessions, an electronic newsletter, and promoting transparency by publishing statistics of violations. They also oversee the Honor Code Guides program, which offers confidential support to implicated students.


The Council consists of five seniors, five juniors, three sophomores, one first-year, and one non-voting faculty advisor. The first-year representative is elected during the fall semester, while other positions are elected during the spring semester, or when openings become available.


Radalla encourages students to seize the opportunity to serve in the Honor Council. “Throw your hat into the ring,” said Radalla in an email to The Olaf Messenger.


No matter your involvement in the Honor Council — as a representative, someone who voted in the elections, or someone who reported a case — it is clear that students are at the center of upholding St. Olaf’s honor code.


The full 2022-2023 Honor Council Statistics Report can be found on their St. Olaf webpage.