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The Academic Honor Board

Each year, nine students (3 sophomore, 3 junior, and 3 senior) and four faculty members are selected to serve as an honor board pool for the entire academic year. The Student Government Association executive board will determine the procedure for the selection or election of student members of the honor board pool each spring. The Faculty will elect faculty members of the honor board pool for two-year terms. In addition, a faculty member will be appointed Honor Code Facilitator by the Academic Dean. At the beginning of the fall semester, the honor board pool will be trained in Academic Honor Code procedures. Each member of the honor board pool is required to participate in such training before hearing cases.

When an academic honor board is convened, three student members and two faculty members are selected from the honor board pool to hear each case, through a regular rotation plan decided upon at the beginning of the academic year. Pool members are thus offered an opportunity to hear cases, and will serve according to their availability. A regular member may decline participation in a case if he or she would be unable to render an unbiased verdict. However, mere acquaintance with the Student Respondent will not be sufficient grounds to excuse oneself from participation. If the alleged misconduct involves a graduate student, the Associate Academic Dean will work with the director(s) of the graduate program to appoint two graduate students who will temporarily serve on the Honor Board. Hearings of the Academic Honor Board will be chaired by the College’s trained Honor Code Facilitator, who has no vote.

Discovery and Conference Stage
When a student or faculty member (the Reporter) discovers evidence of academic misconduct, he or she fills out a short online form, describing the misconduct. Reporters must provide their own names and contact information on the reporting form. However, names of non-faculty Reporters will be held in confidence. The form is emailed to the Honor Code Facilitator, a member of the Faculty who has been trained in mediation techniques and honor code processes. The Facilitator will communicate with the Reporter to determine the circumstances of the complaint and, if the Reporter is not the faculty member directly involved, consults with said faculty member to assess the merit of the case. Then, the Facilitator takes the following steps to initiate an honor code conference (HCC):

  • Checks the record of the Student Respondent(s) for any previous instances of academic misconduct.
  • Determines the need for assistance of Student Respondent(s), such as an interpreter for an international student. 
  • Discovers if there are aspects of the case that augment the severity of the academic misconduct, or that should be handled under the behavioral code. 
  • Alerts the Registrar’s Office that a complaint has been received and that the student may be limited in her or his ability to withdraw from the course. If the case is not concluded by the end of the semester, an incomplete grade will be assigned, and a hold shall be placed on the Student Respondent academic records until the matter is settled. Appropriate sanctions and outcomes will be reported to the Registrar’s Office when the case is concluded. 
  • Contacts faculty member and Student Respondent(s) involved, and arranges for meeting(s) to be held within five business days. If a Student Respondent does not cooperate with the Facilitator to arrange an HCC, that fact is reported to the Associate Academic Dean’s office and the case is referred to the Academic Honor Board. Upon request, the Facilitator may share specifics of the suspected academic misconduct with the Student Respondent, if the Facilitator deems it appropriate and consistent with the right of the student to know. The Facilitator convenes an HCC, and documents the proceedings. The Facilitator functions as impartial observer and facilitator, while the faculty member interviews the Student Respondent and presents evidence related to the alleged misconduct. No other parties are involved in the HCC. (Note: If the Facilitator is the faculty member involved in the case, the Associate Academic Dean may serve as the Facilitator)

During the Honor Code Conference  

  • If the Student Respondent maintains innocence and can explain the circumstances surrounding the alleged misconduct to the faculty member’s satisfaction, then no academic misconduct will have been found and the matter will be considered closed.
  • If the Student Respondent maintains innocence but the faculty member considers the matter unsettled, or if the Student Respondent admits to academic misconduct and has had a previous instance of proved academic misconduct, the case will be referred to the Academic Honor Board. 
  • If the Student Respondent admits academic misconduct, and has no previous instance of proved academic misconduct, the Facilitator will present the HCC participants with a range of sanctions typical for the type of misconduct involved. Before the end of the HCC, the participants will review and agree upon the results of the meeting, including any specific sanctions (Note: The Facilitator is responsible for ensuring that any imposed sanctions are substantive and conform to sanctioning norms). If an agreement on the sanction cannot be reached, the case will be referred to the Academic Honor Board.
  • Participants sign and date an Honor Code Conference Agreement that outlines the results of the meeting (Note: When an HCC has been documented with a signed Conference Agreement, neither the Student Respondent nor the faculty member may later alter or appeal any sanction that was agreed upon). The signed Honor Code Conference Agreement is sent to the Associate Academic Dean (AAD), and copies are sent to the Student Respondent and the faculty member. If the Student Respondent does not attend the scheduled HCC, that fact is reported to the AAD and the case is referred to the Academic Honor Board. 
Honor Board Hearing Stage
The Facilitator contacts the Associate Academic Dean (AAD) and requests that an Academic Honor Board be convened. The AAD sets a date and time for the hearing – to be held within 6-10 business days after notification by the Facilitator – also arranging for a meeting room and any equipment necessary to create a sound-recording or transcription of the proceedings. The AAD notifies all parties (Student Respondent, faculty member, Facilitator, Honor Board members) about the time and location for the Honor Board hearing. Hearing participants are invited to submit to the AAD evidence and any additional printed materials that are to be presented at the Honor Board hearing. All such materials must be delivered to the AAD four business days prior to the Honor Board hearing, for duplication and distribution. Copies of printed materials will be provided by the AAD to all parties (Student Respondent, faculty member, Facilitator, Honor Board members) at least two business days prior to the Honor Board hearing.

The Honor Board convenes a hearing to address the case and to question the Student Respondent and faculty member involved. Members of the Honor Board, the faculty member, the Facilitator, and the Student Respondent shall attend the hearing. The Student Respondent may ask another person to attend the hearing for support, provided such person is not an attorney engaged in the regular practice of law. During the hearing, this individual may communicate with the Student Respondent, but will not be allowed to address the Honor Board. (Note: The Facilitator will determine if the Student Respondent may require additional assistance, such as an interpreter, who will also be permitted to attend the hearing). If the Student Respondent or the faculty member is unable to attend the Honor Board hearing, or if the Student Respondent refuses to participate, the hearing may proceed as scheduled, with a quorum of the Honor Board present. The Honor Board will deliberate, taking into consideration any provided materials, information learned at the hearing, and any previous instances of proved academic misconduct on the Student Respondent’s record. The Honor Board will conclude its deliberations with a finding on the allegation of academic misconduct. The standard of proof for a finding of academic misconduct will be clear and convincing evidence, and a simple majority of a secret ballot will determine the outcome of the hearing. If the Honor Board finds no evidence of academic misconduct, no sanction will be applied and the Honor Board will have come to an end. If it is determined that academic misconduct did occur, the Honor Board will apply any sanctions that are appropriate to the circumstances of the case. 

The Facilitator will communicate this decision in written form to the AAD, the Student Respondent, and the faculty member within two business days of the end of the Honor Board hearing. The AAD Office will contact the Registrar with the final disposition of each case. The Student Respondent or the faculty member may appeal the decision of the Academic Honor Board to the President of the College. An appeal may be based only on significant procedural errors. The appeal must be made, in writing, within 10 business days after receiving notification of the decision of the Honor Board. Under extraordinary circumstances and with the approval of the AAD, invited parties may be allowed to participate in an Honor Board hearing by means of electronic communication. All parties will remain for the duration of the Honor Board hearing and until the hearing is concluded, at which time the Student Respondent and the faculty member will be excused and the Honor Board will begin its deliberations. 

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