History of the Honor Council

From "Valparaiso's First Century" by John Strietelmeier (pp. 149-152) and "Flame of Faith, Lamp of Learning" by Richard Baepler (p. 208).

The initiative for the establishment of the Honor System came from students. In March 1943 the Student Council passed a resolution proposing that an honor system be instituted in all classes in which a secret vote showed at least 80 per cent of the students in favor of the system. In the months that followed, students indicated in a series of all-campus meetings that they favored an unqualified honor system. The proposition was placed before the faculty which, after much discussion, resolved that beginning with the fall semester of 1943 the honor system would govern all matters concerning honesty in academic work. Provision was made for the educational and judicial functions of the system to be administered by a student-faculty Honor Council.

The United States was at war in 1943. Academic programs were accelerated. Enrollment was 332. Of these, 234 were women, including the first six students from the Lutheran Deaconess Association which had just transferred its training program to VU. Within a year, more than 600 students and faculty were in service; 16 had lost their lives, according to a list in the 1945 yearbook. All sports had been discontinued except one; the basketball team thrived as "the world's tallest." In December 1943, Barbara Bernthal, who had been instrumental in the adoption of the Honor System, was elected the first woman president of the student body.

Under the influx of new students at the end of the war, the system broke down temporarily, and, during the second semester of the 1946-47 academic year, proctoring was reintroduced in lower division courses. By the following fall, however, the system was fully restored with new safeguards built into its educational and enforcement procedures. Since then the Honor System has been in continuous effect, although fine-tuning revisions have been made nearly every decade.

Contact Information

Honor Council (General)
Meier Hall, Rm 146
Valparaiso University

Honor Council (Appeals)