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Do you Believe in the Honor Code? Should You?

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A Large Hotel Chain Still Uses the Honor Code

A while back, a friend told me he was traveling through Texas and decided to stop at a hotel in San Antonio. His story was very interesting, because it shed light upon something that isn’t as common place as it once was; but should be…the Honor Code.

Candlewood Suites: A Company Using the Honor Code

The Candlewood Suites hotel chain has established a self-sustaining honor code within their hotel. They have a snack area that is set aside from the main lobby of the hotel. In here they have everything: frozen dinners, ice cream, beverages, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, you name it. In here you will find no vending machines, no hotel attendants behind a cash register, nor any visible security cameras. So how does it all work? It uses the honor code. You simply write down whatever items you want on a piece of paper that is provided, fold up the paper, and then drop it into the slot-box beneath the table. The hotel staff will then empty the mailbox at the end of the day and charge what you have purchased to your room.

Basis of the Honor Code

The honor code is a set of standards that is based on an assumption that people possess genuine, moral qualities; and feel an obligation to do the right thing, regardless of the circumstances. “On my honor”, was a saying often quoted in times past; implying that the person would place their oath of honor on fulfilling an obligation. For many, many years this was commonplace among people in all walks of life.

So What Happened to the Honor Code?

The honor code still exists, but it is not used as widely today as it should be. Rises in crimes such as theft and burglary have left many people feeling burned when it comes to trusting other people – which in turn has left them feeling jaded. As a society, we have slowly become more and more untrusting of other people. The media plays a large role in this; every day we are bombarded with news reports and stories that feature nothing but negativity. These stories seem to be designed to make us feel untrusting towards our fellow neighbors.

English: The principles of the honor code were...

English: The principles of the honor code were outlined in a famous quote by long-time Dean of Students Madison Sarratt: a plaque engraved with this quote hangs outside the student center in his name. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Honor System can Foster Positive Attitudes

My friend said the second night he was staying in the hotel; everyone got a call around 4 o’clock in the morning; the hotel clerk explained that someone from had come through the parking lot earlier that night and broken into many of the storage-trailers and vehicles in the parking lot. The police were downstairs in the lobby taking statements; however, the effects of the honor code within the hotel never faded. Guests displayed care and concern to one another as they sifted through piles of luggage that the police had brought into the lobby. Outside there was chaos; but inside there was stillness and a show of concern for each other.

  • Do you believe in the honor code?
  • Do you think the person who burglarized the guests’ vehicles believes in an honor code?
  • Is the honor code automatically a failure if someone breaks their oath? Why or why not?
  • Can you name something in your life that uses the honor code?

After you’ve answered the above questions, consider this important question…

  • Should we use the honor code for everything? Are there exceptions?
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