I see the DC as a constructive entity. It doesn’t exist to punish or estrange students. In fact, it exists to achieve the exact opposite end: to draw the community closer together.
If this seems counterintuitive, let me explain: The DC is supposed to do something else. There is an extra step. And that is to make sure the student knows not only how he broke the rule, but why breaking the rule is a bad thing to do in the first place.
The DC has the responsibility, I think, to steer the student in the right direction. It can’t simply punish shortcomings without providing a new way forward for the wayward student.
Regardless of how the DC is perceived, this is the end toward which I strive on the committee: that a student leaves a hearing with a heightened understanding of Deerfield’s rules and a newly strengthened respect for those rules.
The AHC is striving for the same thing: not only administering punishment, but also attempting to provide an explanation to students why rules about plagiarism are important, and giving a kind of guidance as to how to be a better member of the Deerfield community.
So maybe the honor pledge is a step in the right direction, towards a conscious student body that accepts the necessity of rules even just to preserve the idea of Deerfield integrity; but it might not be.
It’s entirely up to the students, and how willing we are to accept this challenge to give ourselves over to what Deerfield demands of us.
But what is essential, the golden key, is that the students understand why. Why to follow the rules, why respecting DA is of the utmost importance, why an honor pledge could potentially help them develop respect for the rules.
Without the context, the pledge appears, as the DC does when disregarding its higher purpose to propagate DA’s integrity, to be just another twig snagged in students’ spokes as they roll through daily teenage life.