November 6, 2017
In a brief induction ceremony held at the Archer Cornfield Courtyard, members of the Class of 2020 pledged to abide by and support the Ashesi Examination Honor Code.
Started in 2008, the purpose of the Honor Code is to create an ethical environment for examinations, and by extension, for Ashesi’s campus and community at large.
“One of the key things about education is to teach students to be critical of themselves,” said Dean of Students, Abdul Mahdi, in congratulating the students on voting to be on the honor code. “In my view, being critical requires the freedom to make moral choices that proctored exams deny students. Limiting this choice means limiting parts of an education with the most human value, because in the real world, there are no proctors. The honor code, when extended, creates a model of the world we should wish to live in: one of honesty, personal responsibility, learning for the right reason and choosing right in the face of temptation. So my hope is to see the honor code expand beyond the classroom; into the fabrics of Ashesi culture on and off campus, where being good and being ethically upright are admired and celebrated. That will be the Ashesi way.”
Also speaking at the ceremony was Professor Martin Cook, visiting faculty member from the US Naval War College. In his address to the class, he also encouraged the students to pursue a community of trust, in and out of Ashesi.
“A military organization, a nation, or any society only works when people trust each other,” he said. “That’s one of the fundamental challenges in any society – Can people trust each other? So by taking the honor code as students, the expectation is that it is not just an exercise for while you’re here at Ashesi, but one that affects the kind of person that you become and also affects the kind of attitude that you have towards one another. Think about what kind of society you want to live in, and the kind of person you want to become. Then think about what degree this oath represents for your commitment to those core values.”
For a class to sign on to the Honor Code, at least two-thirds of that class must vote in the affirmative. The Class of 2020 exceeded this minimum, as some 67% of the class voted to join the Honor Code. With members of the entire Ashesi community serving as its witnesses, the class collectively pledged to abide by the Honor Code, ensuring that the Honor Code continues to stay strong on campus. To close the ceremony, members of the class signed a scroll as evidence of their commitment to abide by and support the code.
“I used to believe that dishonesty and cheating could only be curbed through strict invigilation,” said Robert Boateng-Duah ’20. “But coming to Ashesi, I have realized it could be more effectively curbed when confidence is inspired in people that they can do the right thing even when no one is watching. This is what the continent needs- the confidence, the integrity and that understanding that doing what is right is not just about avoiding trouble, but it carries that magic within it to transform Africa.”
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