The Military College of South Carolina

The Honor Code

The origin of the current Citadel Honor Code can be attributed to General Mark Wayne Clark, President of The Citadel from March 1954 to June 1965. Even though the corps had an unwritten Honor Code, General Clark proposed that it be written officially. The South Carolina Corps of Cadets unanimously voted to establish the Honor Code in 1955.

Honor begins with personal adherence to the letter and spirt of the Honor Code. The Honor Code states simply: “A CADET DOES NOT LIE, CHEAT, OR STEAL, NOR TOLERATE THOSE WHO DO.” There are four, and only four, violations of the Honor Code: Lying, Cheating, Stealing, & Toleration. The four precepts of the Honor Code promote the development of excellent character.

Four Precepts

First precept: a cadet does not lie. Citadel Cadets are expected to be honest and truthful at all times. Quibbling (i.e. using vague language to intentionally mislead someone else) and using a fake ID to get an undeserved privilege or benefit, are two examples of not being honest and truthful. Cadets who choose to lie compromise their personal honor. Liars do not deserve to wear the ring.

Second precept: a cadet does not cheat. Citadel Cadets are expected to be fair and just; they succeed based on competency and merit. Cheating is not fair or just to others who strive for success through dedication and hard work. Cadets who choose to cheat compromise their personal honor. Cheaters do not deserve to wear the ring.

Third precept: a cadet does not steal. Citadel Cadets are expected to show respect to other people (and their personal belongings and property). Showing respect to others earns their trust. Stealing demonstrates a complete lack of respect to other people and betrays their trust. Cadets who steal compromise their personal honor. Thieves do not deserve to wear the ring.

Fourth precept: a cadet does not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing. Dishonorable actions by other cadets cannot be ignored. For this reason, Citadel Cadets must do their duty and report known violations of the Honor Code. The Honor Code demands that all cadets hold each other accountable for their actions. Accountability promotes honorable behavior throughout the S.C.C.C. and helps maintain The Citadel’s traditionally high standards for honor and discipline. Accountability upholds the honor of the ring.

The Honor Code is the minimum standard of honorable behavior for Citadel Cadets.

In more advanced stages, honor guides ethical decision-making and produces the internal strength of character to do what is morally right during times of adversity. Honorable people demonstrate excellent character at all times and in everything they do. Honorable people consistently behave in a manner that garners trust, respect, and admiration from others. Honor preserves the moral authority and trustworthiness that leaders must earn to effectively influence others. A Principled Leader’s reputation is built upon a strong foundation of honor.”