“Reimagining the Honor Code” comes out of GSS432: Queering Transformative Justice. Under our current social order (capitalism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy…), “crime” and “punishment” have come to be thought of as natural and normal concepts. This carceral logic bleeds into our conceptions of morality at the macro, meso, and micro levels. We sought to consider how this logic operated on campus. As the Honor Code is narrated as the grounded moral center of the college, we chose to examine how the code fits within the larger cultural construction of normality, criminality, and judgment.
We request all those engaging with this project to read this work with an open mind. The Honor Code is a tradition at Davidson College, but that does not protect it from criticism or absolve its members of complicity in the (re)construction of norms of discipline, surveillance, and punishment that have historically and contemporaneously disproportionately targeted people of color, queer people, low-income people, and other folks at the margins. We ask you to approach this research as the start of a conversation, in which we reimagine a campus in which the tenets of transformative justice– accountability, respect, autonomy, and building community and mutuality– guide our lives as students and community members.