Faculty senate votes no additional honor cords for grads

UNA’s faculty senate voted March 15 in favor of keeping the current honor cord policies that are set in place for graduates.

In a 20 to 11 vote, the UNA faculty senate voted March 15 in favor of keeping the current honor cord policies for graduation. The current policy only allows for Phi Kappa Phi and magna, summa and cum Laude cords.

The only honor society that can be represented is Phi Kappa Phi because it is an interdisciplinary society, said Faculty Senate President Darlene Townsend.

Leaving the policy where it is currently leaves out the remaining nine honor societies recognized by UNA, according to documents from the Office of Student Engagement.

“We actually talked about (this) at the February meeting, and the senators wanted more time to go back to their department and collect their ideas,” Townsend said.

Townsend said the shared governance committee in charge of graduation actually voted in favor of allowing more honor societies to be included in the ceremony.

“(President Cale) wanted a sense as a representative of what the faculty felt about this issue,” Townsend said.

Cale and many faculty members said the honor cord situation could get out of hand, Townsend said.

“The concern that the faculty and I have with an open policy for honor cords is that very quickly organizations with little or no connection to academic accomplishment create their own cords and wear them at commencement,” Cale said in a statement via email. “In more extreme cases, we can have the introduction inappropriately messaging from humor to crudity.”

“And there is not a mechanism to control what happens unless we are restrictive, as we now are. I want to keep as much dignity as possible in the commencement ceremony.”

Maggie Mitchell, a senior in Phi Kappa Phi, said she does not agree with the senate or Cale’s decision.

“I don’t know their reasoning,” she said. “That’s not the only benefit, but I don’t think that should be taken away (from the other societies).”

Mitchell said she thinks honor cords are not necessarily the only reason to be in an honor society, but it’s just not fair to allow one and not another.

“You might as well have one honor society if you are going to do that,” Mitchell said.

Macy Smith, a junior in Phi Theta Kappa, said it isn’t fair that she doesn’t get to wear an honor cord, but Phi Kappa Phi can.

“(It’s not fair) because there’s other societies besides that one, and it’s not fair for them to just allow (Phi Kappa Phi),” Smith said.

Junior Olivia Tennant echoes Smith and Mitchell’s thoughts.

“If they made the grades and the requirements to be a member, they should be able to represent that organization,” Tennant said.