Chief Justice's Speech

The Honor Code

Chief Justice Misbah Aslam '13
September 4, 2012

It is a privilege for me to stand here today, on the last first day of classes for many of us, and share a few words about one of my favorite aspects of Wellesley—the Honor Code. The Honor Code brings our Wellesley community together around a shared commitment to honesty, integrity, and respect. It is a statement of what we stand for and of what we expect from each other.  

The Honor Code is a special part of our campus culture that allows us to have a sense of trust and security while on campus. These past three years it has been extremely comforting to me to know that I can trust my fellow Wellesley sisters and siblings to neither enter my dorm room when I leave it unlocked nor to look over my shoulder when taking tests or quizzes. I appreciate the ability to set my things down in the dining halls and libraries, leave them briefly unattended, and know that they will be there when I return. There is a great level of trust within the Wellesley community that has truly made it a home away from home for me.

That being said, it is true that Wellesley is not a place without difficulties. We all face challenges, whether in our personal lives, in the classroom, or somewhere in between. And though I hope the members of the Class of 2016 do not discover this too soon, there is always the inevitable point in the semester when you will feel overextended, involved in way too many organizations, overwhelmed by all the paper deadlines looming, and just really stressed out. It is at those points that we feel most vulnerable to taking a shortcut. But that is why I’d like to take the opportunity today, to remind all of us that the Honor Code requires that we, as students, take responsibility for our own actions. It is up to each and every member of our community to ensure that this wonderful tradition at Wellesley continues.

As the ancient philosopher Socrates once said, “The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we would appear to be; all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice and experience of them.” So let us begin this academic year, and every new day in it, reaffirming our dedication to our Honor Code and living by it. These are values I hope we all choose to adopt for the duration of our time here, and for all our lives beyond Wellesley.

With that, I would like to end by asking all students and faculty to stand with me and recite the Honor Code, which is printed in your program.

As a Wellesley College student, I will act with honesty, integrity, and respect. In making this commitment, I am accountable to the community and dedicate myself to a life of honor.

Thank you and I wish you all a wonderful year. I look forward to working with you as your Chief Justice.