What is the Code?

The Haverford Honor Code encompasses both academic and social spheres of life, influencing everything from the spirit of intellectual inquiry to personal interactions. The Honor Code is not a set of rules, but rather a document where students are able to present the ideals and expectations of the current students on campus, emphasizing genuine connection and engagement with one another, and the creation of an atmosphere of trust, concern, and respect. The Honor Code is also completely student-run — one of the clearest demonstrations of this trust.

Some of the more concrete reflections of the Honor Code include students taking tests without proctors and scheduling their own final exams, the absence of RAs in the dorms, and the lack of an enrollment deposit for admission. But the impact of the Honor Code goes much deeper.

Haverford is a community of talented, motivated, and serious-minded individuals, and yet Haverford is also a remarkably down-to-earth, friendly place that values collaboration over cutthroat competition. It’s a place where you will find an extraordinary sense of fun. The Honor Code helps to create an environment in which students feel comfortable and at home, and at the same time challenged, pushed, and stretched.

While there are students on campus who think that the Honor Code is not perfect, there are also students on campus who believe in the power of the Code, and these two groups are not mutually exclusive. With an Honor Code, students have the autonomy and the agency to change the campus for the better. With that agency, comes struggle and strife, but also reward.

Instituted in 1896, the Honor Code serves as one of Haverford’s oldest and greatest traditions. But equally important as its history, the Honor Code is a living, vital part of life at Haverford. In addition to the Honor Code being entirely student run, it must be re-ratified each year by the student body. At an all-student session known as Plenary, students gather to debate and revise the Honor Code, and a vote is taken. Real discussion occurs and real changes are made, making this a dynamic Honor Code over which the current student body has complete ownership.

The Haverford traditions of student involvement and self-governance go well beyond the Honor Code, too. Students’ Council has complete control over the $400,000 activities budget. Students sit on all major committees at the College, serve as representatives to the Board, and even sit on hiring committees for new faculty. Drawing from our Quaker roots, most decisions at Haverford are made by consensus, and the student voice is valued on the same level as all others.