Honor Council’s Letter to the Student Body

Dear Reed community members,

Last week, the Vice President of Student Life sent an email that discussed ongoing matters at Reed in a one-sided and condescending manner. The Honor Council would like to clarify that the definition of the Honor Principle that was used to justify scolding the student body is not what the Honor Council and other accountability groups uphold. The Honor Principle is purposefully open-ended, undefined, and supposed to fit within the framework of each individual Reedie’s moral compass; it is up to each community member to create their own definition. No single individual can or should enforce their own perspective of the Honor Principle onto another person or collective, and furthermore their arbitrary definition should not be the basis of any punitive proceedings. Reed’s culture has been and continues to be one in which students look out for other students, especially when the administration does not. Accountability Groups at Reed such as Honor Council exist to keep people safe and help solve community issues. 

The Office for Student Life does not have the authority to punish students without going through the proper judicial processes. Therefore, threats from the Vice President of Student Life have little weight without engaging with Reed’s Accountability Groups. If the Vice President would like to take disciplinary action, he would have to open a Judicial Board (J-Board) case. J-Board is a student-led group that has advisors, but those advisors do not adjudicate and are not involved with the student’s investigation and decisions. Both of the other Accountability Groups, Honor Council and Restorative Justice, are voluntary, ensuring that students are willing participants. The recent letter portrayed the administration as unapproachable and was written with a narrow-minded perspective on what qualifies as sexual misconduct. As the Vice President of Student Life said in his letter, his job is to support Reed students and to help ensure that we thrive here; in no way does threatening activists “ensure that we thrive.” Reedies have a history of being outspoken and standing up for what they believe in, which is a value that is fundamentally tied to the well-being of our students and the greater community. Supporting student life does not mean trying to change our community into one whose members refuse to stand up for what they believe is right and aligns with their own Honor Principle. 

Honor Council, and by extension the Honor Principle, has never been and is not singularly a disciplinary system. Instead, the members of Honor Council strive to support community members and help find solutions to their problems. Anyone and everyone is always welcome to approach Honor Council whether they have a conflict or if they would simply like someone to talk to. Honor Council is not a fact finding organization, and our goal is not to find “the truth.” Rather, our goal is to help community members arrive at a point where they can peacefully coexist with each other. It is our job to address problems within the community; as students ourselves, we feel that Honor Council and Reed’s other Accountability Groups are best fit to respond to the issues that members of the student body are facing. We encourage those with issues regarding the email sent by the Vice President to reach out to us if they would like to discuss their concerns. 

With love,

Honor Council

Kiana Cunningham-Rodriguez (Mediation Chair and Liaison to Res-life and Faculty)

Aakash Mishra (Liaison to Senate)

Aidan Mokalla (Liaison to Student Life)

Laila LoRe (Liaison to HCC)

Max Teaford (Liaison to Community Safety)

Aliya Ghassaei (Community Engagement Chair and Liaison to Student Life)

Nana Branker-McLean (Liaison to SHARE and MRC)

Clara Park (Community Rights Chair and Liaison to Multicultural Resource Center)

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