Rules of Conduct for Hearings Before the Honor Council, Appeals, and Penalties

The Rules of Procedure that follow were adopted and approved on May 2, 1984, and subsequently amended.  

1. The Executive Committee of the Honor Council shall consist of the Chair, the Vice Chair, and the Secretary. In the absence or inability to act of any of these, the remaining members, or member, of the Executive Committee may appoint another member of the Honor Council to fill the vacancy on an interim basis.

2. Any information of a violation that is received by a member of the Honor Council shall be reported without delay to the Chair or, in the absence of the Chair, to the Vice Chair.

3. (a) When reasonable evidence of a violation of the Honor Code is received by the Chair, the Vice Chair, or the Secretary from a member of the Council or any other source, the Chair shall determine first that the evidence was reported to a member of the Council or the Faculty within one hundred and twenty (120) hours after being detected. If the College is not in session at the time of the detection, these one hundred and twenty (120) hour periods are to be measured from the resumption of the College session. If the Chair finds that a timely report of the evidence was so made, he or she shall report the evidence to an Associate Dean of the College. Once reasonable evidence of a violation has been reported to the Council, the investigatory process shall be continued until the case has been resolved in an Executive Committee meeting or in an Honor Council hearing. The office of an Associate Dean of the College shall inform the student of a meeting with the Chair and an Associate Dean. At the meeting, the student shall be informed of the reported violation of the Honor Code and furnished a copy of these Rules of Procedure. The Chair and the student shall agree upon a time and place for a meeting of the Executive Committee.

(b) In carrying out the procedures prescribed, the Chair shall appoint a member of the Honor Council or other appropriate person to act as an unbiased investigator.  During the proceedings, this person shall present the case before the Council but shall not participate in the deliberations or the vote of any proceedings. That person shall not be considered a witness in the proceedings.

4. (a) The purpose of the meeting of the Executive Committee is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of a violation of the Honor Code to justify a hearing before the Honor Council. If the Committee should find insufficient evidence of a violation of the Honor Code but evidence of an offense within the jurisdiction of the Discipline Committees, it shall refer its information to the appropriate Dean of Students.  If sufficient evidence exists of a violation of the Honor Code not pertaining to academic dishonesty and the student charged admits the offense, the Executive Committee may, in its discretion, impose sanctions without a hearing before the Council. Under such circumstances, the student reserves the right to request a full hearing. In such a case, the student shall not be able to request a full hearing after the Executive Committee has delivered the sanctions. If the Executive Committee finds insufficient evidence to justify a hearing and no evidence of an offense within the jurisdiction of the Discipline Committees, the file shall be closed and all persons involved shall be charged to hold the matter in strict confidence.

(b) The student has the option of appearing at this meeting and being heard by the Executive Committee before any further action is taken. The failure of the student to exercise that option and to appear shall not be considered as evidence of guilt, and if the student does appear, any statements he or she may make at that time in explanation of the matter may be used as evidence in any subsequent proceedings.

(c) This meeting of the Executive Committee shall be informal, with the Chair (or Vice Chair) presiding, and may be adjourned from time to time until its action has been completed. Two members of the Committee must be present at all times, to constitute a quorum, and the vote of two members shall be required for any action to be taken. An Associate Dean of the College shall be informed of the Executive Committee’s decision whether or not to proceed with a hearing.

5. Any student charged with an Honor Code violation has the right to appoint another current student or member of the faculty or staff to serve as his or her representative at the hearing before the Honor Council. This individual should be identified to the Chair as soon as possible and no less than twenty-four (24) hours before the hearing.  

6. It is the responsibility of the Chair (or presiding officer) to be certain that any student alleged to be involved in a violation of the Honor Code fully understands that before any proceeding takes place, he or she is not compelled to speak during any of the proceedings, as all relevant evidence uncovered during any proceeding may be used in the Council’s deliberation.

7. Before making a decision whether to proceed with a hearing before the Honor Council, or before scheduling that hearing if it considers the evidence sufficient for that purpose, the Executive Committee may confer with other appropriate persons. The decision, or the setting of this hearing, shall not be delayed more than forty-eight (48) hours on this account unless with good cause or by agreement with the student involved.

8. If the Executive Committee decides to proceed with a hearing before the Honor Council, the student involved shall be served with a written notice of the date, time, and place of hearing and a statement of the offense charged. The hearing shall be held no sooner than forty-eight (48) hours and no later than one hundred and twenty hours (120) after this notice is provided unless delayed or expedited for good cause and by mutual agreement between the student and the Executive Committee. Any request for a change in the date, time, or place of hearing shall be ruled upon by the Executive Committee.

9. The remaining members of the Council shall conduct the hearing, with the Chair (or Vice Chair) presiding. Nine (9) members eligible to vote shall constitute a quorum. The vote of two-thirds (2/3) of those sitting shall be required for a decision. If for any reason the quorum is lost during conduct of the hearing, the hearing shall be adjourned until a quorum is again present.

10. (a) Any member of the Council who is a material witness to the offense charged, or who has demonstrable personal bias for or against the person charged, shall not sit with the Council or take part in the deliberations or voting. If a person disqualified by this rule does not withdraw on his or her own initiative, the Chair (or Vice Chair) shall submit the question to a vote by the other members of the Council whenever the possibility of this disqualification appears.

(b) Should the rare circumstance arise in which the Council’s collective affiliation with the accused jeopardizes that student’s right to a fair hearing, the Council may refer the case information to the Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor shall then appoint a group consisting of a member of the Order of the Gown, a member of the Student Government Association, as well as three additional students to hear the case. This body shall rely upon the Code as the basis of its recommendation, as does the Honor Council. The full body shall conduct its meeting with a member of the Honor Council present, who shall not be allowed to vote on the group’s recommendation, and may consult with others as they deem appropriate.  This body will provide its recommendation in writing to the Vice-Chancellor, who will then make a final decision regarding the case that cannot be appealed further.

11. In conduct of a hearing these rules shall be followed:

(a) If more than one student is involved in the same offense, separate hearings shall be held, with their order determined by random drawing, unless those charged and the presiding officer agree to a joint hearing.

(b) The hearing shall be a closed hearing unless the student being charged makes a written request for an open hearing twenty-four (24) hours prior to the hearing. In that event the presiding officer shall have the authority to allow a maximum of five persons to attend the hearing as non-participants and has the authority to impose reasonable rules for their selection. The presiding officer also may exclude from the premises any non-participants whose presence is not needed to conduct a fair hearing.

(c) At the beginning of each hearing a statement of the offense charged shall be read by the presiding officer. The student charged shall be asked whether he or she admits or denies the charge. (If the charge is denied, the denial may be withdrawn by the student and changed to a plea of admitted at any time during the proceedings.) The plea will be followed by an opening report from the investigator appointed to present the evidence concerning the offense, and by a reply from the student charged.

(d) All witnesses shall be obliged to tell the truth. The witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing except when presenting their information to the Council and shall be instructed by the presiding officer not to discuss the case among themselves or with other persons, excepting the person presenting the case for the Council or the student’s representative, after the hearing has begun.

(e) The Honor Council members, the investigator and the student (and his or her representative if present) all have the right to question each witness.

(f) No evidence shall be received of other alleged offenses, whether found or charged, unless the student involved elects to make good character and reputation a defense to the charge being presented.

(g) The presiding officer shall rule on questions of whether evidence is pertinent and whether it is admissible. He or she may allow questions to be directed to witnesses by members of the Council at appropriate times if he or she considers that this will aid in the determination of the case.

(h) A request for recess may be made at any time by the student charged, the investigator, or the Council, the granting of which is left to the discretion of the presiding officer. No proceedings shall continue past midnight without the mutual consent of both the Council and the student charged.

(i) After all the information is presented to the Council, both the investigator and the student shall be allowed to say any final words or comments before they leave and the Council begins deliberations.

(j)  There shall be an appropriate recording of the proceedings of the hearing, except the deliberations of the Council. The recording shall be retained by an Associate Dean of the College.

12. (a) At the conclusion of the evidence and final comments, the Honor Council shall hold a closed meeting for deliberations and voting. Only those members who have heard all the evidence and are eligible to vote and the non-voting representative from the School of Theology shall be allowed to attend and participate. A quorum of nine (9) voting members is still required. The members shall be instructed by the Chair that their decision must be based solely on the evidence received at the hearing and that the decision must be established by clear and convincing evidence. If two-thirds (2/3) of those present and eligible to vote find that the student violated the Honor Code as charged, a written decision shall be signed by the Chair (or presiding officer), and one copy delivered to the student, one copy to an Associate Dean of the College, and one copy to the Vice-Chancellor. A copy of the Council’s record of the proceedings shall be included with the copy of the decision for the Vice-Chancellor. The original record shall be filed with an Associate Dean of the College. If no finding of an Honor Code violation is made, the Chair (or Vice Chair) shall order the proceedings terminated and will so inform the student involved. The vote of individual members of the Honor Council during these proceedings shall be held in strict confidence by those participating unless requested by the Vice-Chancellor during an appeal.

(b) Immediately at the end of the hearing, the student shall be informed in person of the decision.

13. If a violation of the Honor Code involves academic dishonesty, a student ordinarily must spend two academic semesters away from the College of Arts and Sciences. But because of the individual nature of Honor Council cases, the Honor Council, in its discretion, may reduce the requirement to one semester with a vote of two thirds or greater. Such a decision may be considered on, among other things, the following criteria, if discernible in the case: the flagrancy of the violation, the student’s year in the College, and the student’s truthful cooperation throughout the process.

[Note: though the Code does not seek to identify all possible penalties for all possible behavior, the penalty for academic dishonesty will always result in failure of the course(s) in question. See the Frequently Asked Questions.]

14. If the violation of the Honor Code does not involve academic dishonesty, the Council may grant probation upon the request of the student, with stipulations approved by the Council. The Chair (or presiding officer) shall remind the student of this option in such cases before moving into the deliberation. Probation will be granted only if approved by vote of two-thirds (2/3) of these members of the Council and then upon such special conditions as they may find appropriate. Probation will be automatically revoked if the student is found guilty of another violation of the Honor Code within the probationary period. Notice of the probationary status of a student shall be given to an Associate Dean of the College and to the student officers of organizations who are involved in its conditions.  In those circumstances in which probation is not granted, the Honor Council shall act according to section thirteen (13) of this document (i.e. as if the case were academic in nature).  

15. (a) After a decision that the Honor Code was violated has been announced to the student, and after the question of probation has been resolved, if applicable, the student shall have 72 hours within which to file a notice of appeal in writing with the Office of the Vice-Chancellor. This appeal shall be acted upon as soon as is practical. The appeal will be judged by the full record of the proceedings unless it is determined by the Vice-Chancellor that additional information is desirable. If new information is received, the Chair and the student shall both be notified about that information. At the conclusion of this appeal the decision may be: to affirm the action of the Honor Council, to affirm the decision of violating the Honor Code but to change the penalty, to refer the case back to the Honor Council for further consideration, or to reverse the decision. The Vice-Chancellor shall notify the parties, in writing, of his action on the appeal, and may state the reasons for that action.

(b) In reviewing such appeals, the Vice-Chancellor may consult with the Chair or other members of the Council. The Vice-Chancellor also may consult with other faculty, staff, and students as deemed necessary. In addition, the Vice-Chancellor may appoint a group consisting of a senior administrator, a faculty member, and two students to make a recommendation on an appeal. This body shall rely upon the Code as the basis of its recommendation, as does the Honor Council. The full body shall conduct its meeting with a member of the Honor Council present, who shall not be allowed to vote on the group’s recommendation, and may consult with others as they deem appropriate.  This body will provide its recommendation in writing to the Vice-Chancellor, and the recommendation and any action taken pursuant to the recommendation may not be appealed further.  

16. Those students accused of an Honor Code violation who choose to withdraw from the College of Arts and Sciences rather than participate in a proceeding are required to spend a minimum of two academic semesters away from the College. At the time of the withdrawal, an Associate Dean of the College shall write a letter acknowledging the Honor Code circumstances of withdrawal and advise the student that resolution of the charge by the Honor Council is a condition of reinstatement.

Revised December 2014