In Response to: Honor System Revamp?

The Honor Code explanatory booklet was to me the first imprimatur of what was special about Princeton. “I’m admitted.” “I’m trusted.” “I must be responsible.”

Nevertheless, the snitching on others always provoked the most controversy when I then described the Honor Code to non-Princetonians. Like good law professors, several posed hypotheticals honing in on the penalty phase of one remedy for all. My response was always defensive, deterrent-based, and frankly inadequate.

Fifty-plus years later, legal training and life have taught me that in a “just society,” all penalties are draconian if their application is not nuanced. Thus, I applaud this initiative (On the Campus, Nov. 7) to implement the thinking of John Rawls ’43 *50, among many others.

However, the addition of faculty to the committee seems inconsistent with the Code’s underlying premise of student maturity/student self-responsibility. I suggest that if a faculty member were to be involved, it should be as an observer and or at most as a nonvoting facilitator/moderator. And consideration should be given to rules that the faculty member should not have any direct teaching relationship with any of the student members and must recuse herself or himself if there is any teaching relationship to the student subject to discipline.

Robert Hills ’67
Doylestown, Pa.