Procedures for reporting and adjudicating
a violation of the Honor System

1. Document the incident

If an instructor suspects an honor violation, he/she should document the concerns and confront the student as soon as possible. If a student suspects an honor violation, that student should notify the professor, the Provost, or the Honor Council Chair, who will then document the incident.

  • Documentation of the incident in question should be made on the Honor System Incident Report form available from the Provost’s Office and online in the Faculty Policies and Procedures Manual
  • In addition, the Honor Violation Notice that is attached to the Incident Report must be delivered directly to the student by the faculty member.
  • The faculty member should send an email with the name of the accused student to the Provost, who will inform the Registrar that the student in question may not drop the course without the Provost’s explicit written permission.

2.  Discuss the incident with the student

By delivering the Honor Violation Notice to the student, the instructor will request a private meeting with the student where the specific charge should be discussed.  The student should have the opportunity to explain his/her actions. If the student refuses to meet with the faculty member, the incident automatically moves forward to the Honor Council. If the instructor withdraws the accusation after meeting with the student, the Provost should be informed so that the restriction on course withdrawal may be lifted.

3.  Determine whether the student accepts responsibility

If the student admits responsibility, the professor may impose a penalty appropriate to the violation (see SANCTIONS). If the student admits responsibility for the action but disputes the penalty, the student may appeal the penalty to the Honor Council. A complete documentation of the accusation, meeting with the student, and imposed sanction must be included in the appropriate sections of the Honor System Incident Report forwarded to the Provost’s Office as soon as possible after the imposition of the sanction. This documentation will be placed in the student’s file.

  • The Chair of the Honor Council or the Provost/Provost’s designee will contact the student(s) sanctioned by an instructor, in a confidential manner, to ensure an understanding of the violation and the resulting sanction. If the charged student is a graduate student, the Associate Dean of Graduate Education will participate in the communication.
  • Before the incident is closed, the Chair of the Honor Council or the Provost/Provost’s designee will establish that the student has been made aware of his/her right to due process and that the student has elected voluntarily to accept the assigned penalty.
  • If the incident for which the student accepts responsibility is a second offense, the student will be notified that the Honor Council will hold a hearing at its next regularly scheduled meeting to review the sanction to determine if the automatic penalty of F for the course should be enhanced.

If the student disputes the allegation, disputes the appropriateness of the penalty, or refuses to cooperate with the instructor in any manner, the Instructor should immediately submit the Honor Incident Report.

  • At this point, the Chair of the Honor Council will be notified that this incident will be adjudicated at the next regularly scheduled session of the Honor Council (held at 11 a.m. on the first Tuesday of every month during the academic year–see Hearing Process below).
  • The Provost’s Office will forward a complete listing of the charges and the appropriate rights and procedure information to the accused by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the next scheduled Honor Council meeting.

4. The Hearing Process

The hearing panel should consist of seven Honor Council members (two Faculty and five students) and be chaired by the elected faculty Chair of the Honor Council (or his/her designee in the case of a conflict of interest). A minimum of five Honor Council members must be present to hold a hearing. The Chair of the Honor Council is a non-voting member of the Council and is responsible for ensuring that the hearing is conducted in a fair and impartial manner. The Chair will know whether the case is a second offense but will not communicate that information until the determination of responsibility has been reached.

  • Appropriate witnesses (e.g. person making the accusation) must be present at the Hearing. The accused must be present during the entire proceeding.
  • Witnesses will be called at the appropriate time during the hearing by the Chair of the Honor Council.
  • The accused or the accuser does NOT have a right to Counsel.
  • The accused has a right to call no more than two character witnesses during the hearing.
  • In the case of a second or subsequent offense for which the student accepts responsibility, the hearing will focus entirely upon whether the penalty should exceed the automatic F that is mandated for second violations of the honor code. If the student accused of a second offense is disputing the accusation, the Honor Council will not be informed of the previous offense until after responsibility has been determined.
  • The procedure will conclude with the accused being given the opportunity to make a “private” statement to the Honor Council (without the presence of the accuser or any witnesses).
  • All hearing proceedings will be recorded.
  • The Honor Council will generally render a decision at the end of the meeting, following deliberation.  If additional time is required, the Council will have no more than 48 hours to make a decision with regard to responsibility or non-responsibility and the appropriate sanction to be imposed.
  • The Honor Council should consult with the faculty member bringing the initial charge before imposing a sanction that is less than what the faculty member recommended.

The Chair of the Honor Council will communicate information to the accused about the finding of responsibility (with sanction) or the finding of non-responsibility.  This communication will be by letter and by email to the accused, and a personal meeting with the Associate Dean for Academic Success will be arranged to help the student deal with the consequences of the Council’s finding. The Honor Council’s decision will be communicated by the Chair to additional appropriate individuals (e.g. Registrar) and the hearing documentation and resolution will be placed in the student’s file in the Provost’s Office. The individual responsible for the accusation will be informed of the Honor Council’s decision.

5. The Appeal

The accused has a right of appeal to the Provost/Dean of the College. The notice and specific reasons for the appeal must be made in writing to the Provost/Dean of the College within five days of the student receiving written notice of the Honor Council’s decision. The appeal letter must state specifically the basis for the appeal, for example misinterpretation of a policy or new information that was not made available during the Honor Council hearing. The decision of the Provost/Dean of the College will be the final decision regarding honor violations.