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History of The Citadel's Honor System


This is only comprehensible record of the Honor System until 1919.


In 1919 the Guidon, specifies that Upperclassmen were subject to the Honor System. The freshmen (or 4th class cadets) at the Citadel, who were known as 'Recruits' at that time, were not held to the criteria of the Honor System. It was decided later in 1919, that the honor system would apply to all classes of cadets. Two principles were set for the Honor System of the Corps of Cadets:

  1. The honor spirit of the Corps further holds that it is the duty of an honorable gentleman to avoid, as far as possible, even the appearance of evil, and demands that every member of the Corps shall exercise the greatest care never to place himself in a position in which he might be suspected of dishonorable conduct. In the 1920's The Honor System was dissipate. The Chairman of the Honor Committee in 1925, Cadet Donald Michie recommended that the system be dropped and plans began to do so. In the year 1928 during a meeting second semester between the Corps of Cadets, it was decided that there were too many abuses under the current system. Because the Honor System failed to serve The Citadel the way it was intended, there was a vote taken by the Corps of Cadets to dissolve the Honor System. It was also decided during this vote that when and if an Honor System should ever be re-initiated, it would be up to the Board of Visitors to take such action.
  2. The honor spirit of the Corps of Cadets of the Citadel demands of every cadet that he shall be an honorable gentlemen, and that he will never, while a member of the Corps, be guilty of an act reflecting discredit upon his honor and integrity, or in any way countenance such an act by a fellow cadet, or allow it to go unpunished.

This is not to speculate that Honor left the Citadel. In fact the opposite is true as records, show that cadets were ever mindful of their actions. Proof of this can be seen in a 1928 Article in the Palmetto, "The vote to abolish the Honor System has impressed on the Corps a desire to avoid even the appearance of a violation of honor ... Without Honor, the Citadel would be unable to exist. Honor at this institution has always been one of its most cherished possessions and always will."


After a visitation on Valentines Day weekend by two West Point Cadets in 1955 the value of an Honor System was given in a presentation by the visiting Cadets. After a brief vote taken after the presentation very strong support could be seen among the Corps of Cadets for reinstating an Honor System.


In September 1955 an Honor System was official reinstated in the Corps of Cadets by order of General Mark Clark.


1915- First Honor System is established by John W. Moore, Class of 1900. Moore is a History teacher at the time. His system is adopted by the Corps of Cadets.


1928 - The Citadel Bulldog newspaper announces the Honor System has been dissolved on May 28th, 1928.


1953 - Cadet Leonard B. Smith, President of the first class sends a proposal of the honor code and the proposed changes in the regulations to The Citadel President, General Summerall.


1955 - The Honor System is officially reinstated in the Corps of Cadets by order of General Mark W. Clark.


1958 - Dedication of the John W. Moore Honor Committee Courtroom by the Class of 1919.


2009 - Rededication of the Honor Committee Courtroom in memory of Colonel Arthur E. Richards, III, US Army, Former Commandant of Cadets at The Citadel and President of the Class of 1959. The Courtroom is rededicated by the Class of 1959.


(Taken from the research of Cadet Dwayne Anthony Steppe, November Company, Class of 2007, and the records of Frank Myers, former Adjutant to The Citadel.)


One of the earliest Citadel Honor Committees (The Sphinx, 1961).

One of the earliest Citadel Honor Committees (The Sphinx, 1961).

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