What Honor Code?

Submitted on Mar 20, 2015 by Eugene Horn (Engr ’63)

What has happened to the Honor Code at UVA? My father, wife, sister and I are all graduates of the University. During our time any student found drunk and belligerent in public while confronting a police officer after being denied service at a bar would have immediately been dismissed from the University. He surely would never have been a member of the Honor Committee.

Shame on the person taking the video. Where is the video showing the drunk? Was it taken and ignored?

What is the history of this guy? Listen to his language in the video!
Apparently being a UVA student is now an entitlement.

Where are the questions asked of this student regarding his actions while he stood with his lawyer giving his version of the event? Compare his words now to his words on the video.

Where are the UVA students standing up for “Honor”? Do today’s students even know the meaning of the word?

Comments (12):

  1. Mahlon E. Arnett, II on said:

    I know nothing more than what has been stated in the media or shown in videos so it is hard to make a judgment but it would appear excessive force was used. It is not clear if the student was actually drunk, whether he tried to use a false ID or what started the incident, although I do find it hard to believe a member of the Honor Comm. would have done so. I do believe that there should be a prolonged discussion about the Honor Code and what it has become because from all appearances and from talking with students several years ago when I last visited the University, the Honor Code has become a hollow shell of what it once was leaving Mr. Jefferson’s University little different from other colleges and universities across the country. It’s proud traditions and sometimes harsh but necessary punishments should be re-instituted. I realize this would probably take 2-3 years but it should be done.

    • Tammy on said:

      Until we know whether Mr. Johnson was forced to the ground, or whether he fell as a result of trying to escape custody, I don’t believe we can even say that “it would appear excessive force was used.” It’s all part of the mystery and why it’s so grossly inappropriate for university personnel such as Martin and Apprey to make such sweeping statements before the facts are known. Their irresponsible behavior is stunning.

  2. Joe Littleton, Engineering '72 on said:

    Adult Leadership Needed!

    One would expect that an institution of higher learning that stresses the application of critical analytical skills to a well researched body of facts, and that had been recently dragged through the Rolling Stones “rush to judgement” debacle would be a bit more measured and even handed in its response to a preliminary claim of police brutality near the Grounds.

    President Sullivan’s TV interviews concerning Mr. Johnson’s arrest by ABC authorities have been highly critical, but perhaps not completely condemning of law enforcement. However, the letter linked to her alumni communication below, penned by staff members Martin and Apprey, clearly demonstrates that they are thoroughly judgmental, condemning and intent on fanning the flames of outrage, all in the absence of all the facts. “…. We view the nature of this assault as highly unusual and appalling based on the information we have received.” How about taking a breath and getting the rest of the facts and information before distributing “An Important Message,” even if the information might not fold well into your preconceived narrative? It would have worked well in the aftermath of the Rolling Stones article.

    A premature (preconceived) judgement is wrong even if its conclusion is later found to be correct. It is wrong, simply and singularly, because it is premature. What will it take for our University’s Administration to understand and embrace this basic tenant of community leadership?

    Our University seems to be run by a host of well-meaning incompetents. It is time for some adult leadership.

    From a very disappointed Wahoo.

    • Tammy on said:

      I agree completely, Joe. I was appalled, disgusted and ashamed by the responses of Martin and Apprey. They jumped to a conclusion that was being pushed hard by a certain group at UVA. This is the time for calm and investigation. I’m not saying they may not be right, but at this time there’s no way to know. Their comments were irresponsible and inflammatory.

  3. Lex Ruygrok on said:

    Could not agree more with Joe. You would have thought that after the university administration acted in a knee jerk fashion after the Rolling Stone article appeared, the big lesson that should have been learned was not to jump to conclusions until there was a full and complete investigation of the facts. But no, here we go again. Can’t University officials just wait for the facts before speaking out? Very disappointing and intellectually inexcusable.

  4. Richard Taverna, GA&S '73 on said:

    It seems to me that two standards are being put into contention: the revered Honor Code based upon the ideals of Mr Jefferson and legitimate common sense vis a vis more contempory mantras popularized by current social media. The former was presumably color blind, the latter is not.

  5. B. FRANKLIN GRIFFIN on said:


  6. J Jean on said:

    What did you expect her to do? Express her support for the ABC officers even with commentary of the multiple students that were there? You can be disappointed (boohoo) all you want, but this showed the right support for a student in an environment that has long had underlying issues with race (I say that as an Alum).

  7. DAN FISHER, M.D. on said:

    Traditions are not inherently bad, and many have endured, such as fraternities and the Honor System. Has the girl, who blatantly lied about being raped at Phi Psi, been before the Honor Committee? Has this latest black student, who allegedly showed a fake ID, been before the Honor Committee, of which he is supposedly a member? President Sullivan, who had NO previous ties to the University, has let us down and needs to go! Surely, we can find a better replacement for one of the greatest universities in the country

    • Belinda M. Barham on said:

      Dear Dan Fisher, while I completely respect your right to voice your truth, the “girl” so obviously maligned in your statement is a human being and has the right to speak her truth to a reporter (or anyone) and whatever happened to her words is what happened. There was no trial — it was an article. Just because no perpetrator(s) or witness(es) have yet to come forward (as far as the we/the public know(s)), it does not necessarily follow that the alleged victim is a “blatant” teller of falsehoods.

      As an MD, I am surprised at your leap to a conclusion that is void of at least a sliver of compassion and humanity for a possible trauma victim / gang rape survivor. Many doctors I know would take this opportunity to share important factors surrounding rape and brutal trauma. Perhaps Psychology/Psychiatry (or even Humanity and Ethics) is not your favorite subject. In any case, since you omitted or chose not to go in that direction in your stated opinion, I will write some essential facts here in order to educate those who may not know that trauma survivors often do not remember (right away or ever) any or many details of the event(s). There is no statute of limitations on rape in Virginia because survivors can remember details (facts) decades later. Sometimes rapists threaten or stalk their victim. If a victim is unable or not strong enough to seek professional support right away or ever (after all, there are trust and dehumanization issues at the very least), it does not necessarily mean that a trauma or crime did not occur. Here is an example: if someone is hit in the head with a baseball bat by a loved one or even a stranger, they have been brutalized and dehumanized. It is often nearly impossible to pick themselves up, much less report facts or file police reports, etc. There is much to say, write and share on the subject of trauma, but this will suffice for me in this writing.

      As for the recent beating at a bar near UVA, do you possess facts the rest of us do not in order for you to conclude that case so quickly and with such finality? The legal process is not in your hands and should be allowed to run its course.

      Why should it matter that President Sullivan did not attend UVA? What facts do you have to prove she should be ousted? Is that also in your hands entirely? When you state “we” can find a better replacement — who is “we?” If it includes graduates of UVA, than as such, I disagree with you.

      Regarding the Honor Code, I will be brief here, although one could discourse on that subject for days on end. Honor is internalized, just like integrity. What we do when no one is watching proves our integrity. Do you actually believe that all violators of such a code (including criminals) will turn themselves in to a judicial forum, police station or court of law on their own?

      The legal system offers rights to all parties and should be allowed to run its course on a level playing for all parties. Just because you disagree with someone else’s truth does not make them wrong.

  8. Shawn on said:

    His words were said after he sustained his injuries. I dare say a number of us my have some choice words after that, especially if we hadn’t done anything wrong. Facts are still pending, but I don’t think it’s fair to judge him on his words when he’d just had his head cracked on the pavement. All accounts of his history (thus far) point to him having a decent background.

  9. J G C Pflaumer, College '70 on said:

    How happy and fortunate I am to have attended UVa at a time before it became what it is today, when the Honor System had no geographical bounds and Mr Jefferson’s Academical Village was ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.