"Our understanding is that in registering at Harvard students agree to abide by the rules of the community they are voluntarily entering. It is not clear why a special signed agreement of another kind would be needed, or would add anything."As if often the case, I agree with Harry's opinion above. Also, I'd much rather have students discussing the issues and coming to grips with what are sometimes challenging ethical questions rather than signing a pledge.
Come to think of it, I'm not sure if freshmen are to be asked to sign the pledge again this year. (The pledge is not an honor code per se, but has been called the "kindness pledge".)
But back to the question. Should Harvard have an honor code? Why? What would it add? More empirically, do honor codes actually reduce bad behaviors, like cheating? Is there evidence of it? I note that many cheating scandals have occurred at schools with honor codes -- like the Naval Academy and Duke -- though apparently some researchers suggest an honor code could reduce cheating.
A natural question: should punishments be more severe for cheating if cheating is part of an honor code?
Clearly, the question of whether we should have an honor code is going to arise at Harvard this year. Any opinions in advance?