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quietly withdrawing, or of standing a Law School as teacher, and for the greattrial before the Honor Committee. This er portion of that time as dean of the committee is made up of the presidents department—within which period the of the classes of the five departments total attendance of law students has exof the University, and the vice president ceeded two thousand—there have come of the class of which the accused is a to my knowledge less than a half dozen member. The trial may be in private or instances of a charge of suspicious conin public, as the accused may elect. If duct on the part of a law student. Probhe elect a public trial, the members of his ably no case escaped my observation class, together with such friends as the since the custom of the Honor Commitaccused may desire, are admitted, but no tee is to advise with the dean as amicus others. Either side may be represented curiæ in all such cases arising in his deby student counsel. The proceedings are partment. It may be added that in one summary, and from the decision of this
of these cases only did the accused decommittee there is no appeal.
mand a trial; and that the strong prima If the accused be in fact guilty-as facie case made against him was satishas proved to be the case in, I believe, factorily proved to have been merely a ninety per cent. of the accusations made thoughtless imprudence, and his acquit—the filing of the charges usually in- tal resulted. In the other three or four sures his departure on the next train, cases the accused took leg bail, and stood without awaiting a trial, or even a bill of not upon the order of their going. particulars.
One not familiar with the honor sysIn rare instances the culprit has shown tem may well inquire how is obtained the a bold front, and made defense. His consent of the students, as individuals conviction is uniformly followed by an and as a mass, to accept this code of honorder of immediate expulsion by the or; and how is the spirit kept alive, with Honor Comunittee. There are no minor the rapid and constant changes that take penalties.
place in every college constituency. No case is remembered where the stu- Of the difficulties, if any, that our dent remained in the University after predecessors in the faculty had in inconviction. Refusal promptly to obey grafting the system upon our University the order of expulsion is practically an life I may not speak for lack of informainconceivable situation; but I am sure tion. But its introduction was at a time the lecture rooms would be empty, and
when the student body was made up of police calls frequent, while the students relatively small numbers, and composed, were engaged in executing their decree. to a large extent—as it still is, but in less
If the impression has been created on degree of the sons of wealthy and arisyour minds that these accusations are of tocratic Southern families. These sons, frequent occurrence, let me repeat that, whatever may have been their faults in as student and teacher, I have been in other directions, held chivalrous notions residence at the University and in inti- of honor, and were quick to defend their mate contact with its student life for own honor, and to resent the want of it nineteen years. During that time I have in others. Such a code doubtless appealknown of less than a score of accusations ed strongly to their aristocratic fancies. made, in the aggregate, from all de- At any rate, the bud grafted into the partments of the University. During a student life in 1812 found a congenial connection of seventeen years with the parent stock, and has bourgeoned and borne fruit after its kind with each suc- and has not been within the past half ceeding season.
century, a debatable question among The continuity and vigor of the sys- members of the faculty, nor among the tem have been fostered by the circum- undergraduates, nor the thousands of stance that through the influence of graduates distributed the nation over; graduates sent out as teachers it has been nor among the informed public at large. transplanted into many of the colleges These with one voice bear the same tesand preparatory schools from which timony in its behalf. It is no longer a come most of our students. Hence a theory, but a condition. considerable majority of the freshmen I have created a false impression, come to us already familiar with the however, if I have led you to believe that system, and in sympathy with it. These, the students of our University are unwith the returned members of the higher winged saints, or that the honor system classes, each one of whom is a loyal dis- has tamed their youthful spirits, or drawn ciple of the system, make it possible to the red blood from their veins. Doubtbegin each session with but a compara- less, they sow, with each recurring seatively small number of raw recruits to be son, the same overabundant crop of wild broken in. Nor, as already stated, are oats which, in the false philosophy of these long in learning the privileges and youth, students have been sowing since penalties of the system, for the atmos- the world was young. I testify, on perphere is vibrant with it. Its appeal to sonal knowledge, that the system has not the best there is in them, soon converts eradicated the evils of idleness and cutthe young barbarians into earnest, self- ting of lectures. A gentleman may not respecting disciples.
lie, nor cheat, nor steal—but he
abThe effects of the honor system on the hor the confinement of the lecture room, University life have already, in part, and detest the contemplation of continbeen indicated. Not only has the prob- gent estates, and be a gentleman still. lem of securing honesty in the examina- And so the honor system has steadily retions been solved, but incidentally many fused to relieve the dean of his weekly other problems of student government. interviews with gentlemen of leisure. The spirit of truth and honor fostered in Objection has been made that the honthe examination room has gradually per- or system compels or encourages one stuvaded the entire life of the institution. dent to report the delinquencies of his It has awakened the conscience of the fellows. Such objection should have litstudent body, and developed a public tle force with members of a bar associaopinion that exercises a wholesome and tion, under whose code of ethics the duty potent influence on student thought, man- rests upon every member to bring to the ners, and deportment. And, best of all, notice of the court instances of unprothe spirit of the system does not die with fessional conduct on the part of his college days, but follows the graduate brothers of the bar, that they may be into the greater world outside.
weeded out from the profession they That the honor system, as it exists at have disgraced. In the same the University of Virginia, is a genuine social clubs, religious bodies, literary and and a practical thing, and that it has scientific organizations, financial wrought the results that I have endeav- changes-indeed all human organizations ored to present to you, and more, is not,
in which the moral character of the in
dividual is important in determining his examination room is not distinguished, fitness as a member-protect themselves in name or nature, from the same offense against unworthy associates.
in the counting room or the courtroom. In the honor system there is no com- By the same token, it may be asked, pulsion, other than that exerted by one's who will personally certify to the integriown sense of duty to the student body of ty or the detective skill of the monitors? which he is a member—the same com
How, under the monitorial system, may pulsion that impels you to file charges the faculty certify, of its own knowledge, against a professional brother for betray- to the honesty of the examination, when al of a trust, or which leads a good citi- the employment of the deputies is in itzen to report to the police, or to the self a confession that the faculty is ungrand jury, a crime that has come under willing or unable personally to guarantee his observation. Nor, until a student has the desired fairness? Pursuing the arby his conduct given cause for suspicion, gument until you tire of it, what assure is there the slightest espionage upon his ance has the American nation, other than movements by his fellows. The atmos- their unchallenged records as men of phere is not one of distrust and sus- honor, that its chief magistrate, or the picion, but precisely the reverse. The judges of its highest court, are worthy system demands and secures, not only of their great trusts? No detectives dog faculty trust in the students' integrity, their footsteps to spy out their transgresbut the confidence of his fellows as well. sions, and the door of opportunity for Further objection has been made--and
evil is wide open. this comes from too high a source to be
This objection assumes that young men passed by lightly—that under the honor are less worthy of trust than their elders. system the faculty cannot personally The facts do not justify the assumption. guarantee the honesty of the examina- Other things being equal, my observations, and therefore the value of the de- tion has been that an appeal to conscience gree is lowered. I hope that I have al- finds its readiest response in the bosom ready said enough to convince those of of youth. Experience has taught me to you who have been good enough to fol- place the same confidence in the honor low my treatment of the theme thus far and manhood of the student as in my that under the honor system, as we know colleagues of the faculty. Such is the it at Virginia, there could be no surer general sentiment of my colleagues, and guaranty of honesty of an examination such our practice. We give the student than the pledged-or even the unpledged the same credit for honesty in the part -honor of the student, under the envir- he plays in the examination, and for onment that I have described. The ex- truth in every statement made to us ofamination is written, not in the presence ficially, as we expect him to extend to us of a few monitors, nor in an environment in our rôle as judges of his work. where deception of the hired detective is, Occasionally, in rarest instances, we perhaps not unnaturally, regarded as a do suspect a student of untruthfulness. clever performance, and a matter for Every college teacher knows the college jest–or, at least, a mere peccadillo—but invalid—the scamp who is well enough in the presence of the candidate's class- to be regular at all exercises except those men, not one of whom would hesitate to of the lecture room. Curiously enough challenge his honesty for cause, and in the moral pervert will lie to his dean or an environment where dishonesty in the professor in excusing his idleness or dis
sipation, but will be honest on his ex- may I ask, shall our complaisance cease, amination. This means that he fears his and when shall our virtuous indignation fellows more than he fears the faculty- at dishonesty begin? May the future a truth of general application under the lawyer cheat his way into the college, honor system. Such cases require much and out of it-into and through the law delicacy of handling. To be consistent school-repeat the offense on his examwith the honor system, we accept his
ination for admission to the bar, and statements, and excuse his delinquencies, then suddenly develop into the clean, until patience itself ceases to be honor high practitioner—the honest guardian able. At this point we send the sick of his clients' interests, and the faithful man home, with the gentle admonition servitor in the courts of his country? Is that a real mother is a better nurse for the practice of the law, with all the tempan invalid than an alma mater.
tations it presents, a better school for If further proof be needed of the hon- training one's ethical sense than the study esty of the examinations, we reach it in- of the law, under teachers selected as ductively. Year after year, we find it well for their high character as for their possible, with considerable accuracy, to learning ? foretell the result of the examinations. These questions are left to your conThere are never violent surprises. The sideration. diligent and intelligent student passes, If, in this discussion, the evils existing while the dullard and the idler fail. Pre- in many of our law schools have been sumably it is the latter class to whom magnified, the error is to be attributed to cheating would be a temptation.
the same colossal ignorance of the facts I hold no brief for the adoption of on my part that I have already charged the honor system in law schools now against censors of the honor system. The strangers to it. Its attempted introduc- impressions presented were derived from tion into new territory to which the sys- hearsay, and from possibly irresponsible tem would come as a suspected exotic publications in the press. would doubtless meet with many dis- If the evils suggested do exist, in couragements at the beginning. There greater or less degree, this reference to are probably law schools where, from them would be gratuitous, were no remlocal conditions, the effort might be of edy suggested. A word on this subject, doubtful expediency. But surely we are and I shall cease to tax your patience. all on common ground in the conviction Such is my faith in any body of youth, that every law student should learn from possessing the courage and ambition to the beginning of his professional studies, undertake the severe regimen requisite if no earlier, that, as an apprentice to a to a legal education, that I do not doubt noble profession, he should cultivate and that, left to their own devices, they would practice the same principles of fair deal- themselves evolve some such system as ing in his college relations that he will I have described, by whatever name it be expected afterwards to exhibit in his might be called. professional relations.
The essential conditions would be the If we, as law teachers, are to deal abolition of all espionage by the faculty lightly with deception and dishonesty in or its deputies—the turning over of the the examination room, or out of it, and examination room completely and unreto excuse these offenses as necessary or servedly to the candidates—and the .customary evils of college life, when, grading, by the faculty, of every paper according to its face value. The require- In such a system, the result is both obment of the pledge is a nonessential; for, jective and subjective. The student reafter all, save in the case of a few moral sponds to the confidence reposed by keepweaklings, it is not the written pledge ing faith with the faculty and with his that restrains, but the innate honesty of fellows—and himself learns the invaluathe student, reinforced by a wholesome ble lesson of using liberty without lipublic opinion. In short, the letter kill- cense. eth, but the spirit maketh alive. An- On this principle our forefathers archy might rule for a time; the new- founded this great republic. I present it found liberty might be outrageously to you as the true principle of governabused; the value of the degree might be ment for the smaller republics of whose temporarily sacrificed; but the results destinies you are the guardians. There would be well worth the cost.
can be no real virtue where there is no In a peculiarly hostile environment opportunity for vice. Remove freedom such discouraging conditions might con- of choice between good and evil, and tinue long enough to exhaust the pa- character ceases to develop. No moralitience and disappoint the hopes of the ty was ever created by legislative ordiauthorities. But if the latter show the nances, nor preserved by police superproper courage and consistency-not for vision. a moment wavering in the experimentthe instinct of self-protection among the better class of students would eventual
Discussion ly solve the problem. The better element -always in the ascendancy-would tire
E. G. Lorenzen, Dean George Washof the spectacle of undeserved honors
ington University Law School. won by unfair means, and of degrees
In the discussion of the honor system it beconferred on wretched swindlers. And comes necessary in the first place to deterif a revolution did not, sooner or later,
mine what is meant by it. Is it, as its name
would suggest, a system resting essentially bring order out of chaos, I have misin- upon student honor, or is it merely synonyterpreted the disposition and spirit of the
mous with student supervision of examina
tions as contrasted with faculty supervision? American law student. From the con- If it is to be understood in the former sense, flict would be evolved a system of law,
all discussion of student honor and its exist.
ence in the institutions of the South and of and order, and decency, enforced by the
the North, in those located in the smaller students themselves—and a system more towns and those situated in the great com
mercial centers of to-day, becomes very pereffective than could be attained by an
tinent. It has much less, and comparatively army of monitors.
little, bearing upon the issue if we mean by In brief, Gentlemen of the Associa
the honor system merely student supervision
in the conduct of examination. tion, the honor system, or some similar Now it happens that the so-called honor system, is the logical and imperative out
system in its origin was in fact based exclu
sively upon the student's honor as a gentlecome of absolute trust of the student
Let me call your attenti n to certain body-of regarding college students as provisions of a statute passed July 6, 1830,
for the good government of the College of men and not children of the substitu
William and Mary: tion of a democratic for an autocratic “If the society of President Masters and form of student government.
Professors or any member of it shall believe Neither
that a Student or Students have in any manthis system nor any similar one can sur- ner misbehaved or have been idle or inattenvive on half-hearted trust. Where the
tive to his studies, it shall be the duty of
the Society to appoint one or more of their confidence is unreserved, it cannot die. own body to confer with and advise in pri