Jefferson Honor Council holds integrity forum


Alex Howe

Reacting to student reactions, former assistant attorney general for the environmental and natural resources department of the United States federal government Ignacio Moreno and George Washington University School of Medicine faculty member Tara Lateef answered student questions about ethics and integrity. The students responded to their answers with cheers and applause.

Prerak Thakkar and Alexander Howe

In order to educate the student body about the importance of integrity, the Honor Council, in collaboration with the administration, held an ethics forum at Jefferson on Monday, January 22.

“Ethics has been a really big push the last couple of years at TJ,” counselor Sean Burke said. “Our administrative team is working really hard to make sure that we address the comprehensive educational model with [the students]”.

The forum was a continuation of a similar integrity forum held by the honor council five years ago.

“We scaled it [the forum] back a little bit because of renovations,” Honor Council sponsor Shawn Stickler said. “When we got back into the building, the idea was, ‘let’s do it again.’”

The forum was held to emphasize the importance and necessity of making ethical choices.

“I think you guys face integrity issues everyday,” Stickler said. “I think you’re faced with situations where you either cheat and get a good grade or cheat and get a B or C or D”

The forum provided information on making the best decisions in situations where ethics are involved.

“Making ethical decisions sometimes can be challenging,” Burke said. “I think we’d be doing a disservice to you guys if we didn’t lay out this kind of education for you”   

The forum garnered positive responses from students.

“I thought the ethics forum was a very insightful experience,” sophomore Kushal Kanodia said “It gave me insight into what the importance of ethics really are and why we should care about following the TJ honor code, which so many people don’t know the importance of.”

The student body was split into different groups based on class and counselor, with every group being led in a discussion by a speaker.

“The most interesting thing he [the speaker] said was how he himself once cheated on a test,” Kanodia said. “Although he was never caught and the cheating didn’t really help him, he still felt guilty for the rest of his life, and this kinda shows the consequences of cheating.”

The speakers highlighted the importance of integrity not just as individuals, but of the community as a whole.

“If we want to change the culture of the school, each student needs to decide that they want to make the right choices,” Stickler said. “ As more and more students decide to choose what’s correct, then the school as a whole will become more [of] a community of culture.”