Pre-Sanctioning: Is the Student in Violation?
The Honor System policies and procedures are intended, above all, to be positive features of a student’s educational journey even if a sanction will almost undoubtedly also feel punitive.
In Violation or Not in Violation
After a careful presentation by an investigating officer of the allegation and evidence submitted by faculty or other reporting party, and having received information (written or spoken) from the accused student, so that a Board is satisfied it has all necessary information, the accused student (and support person, if any), the reporting party, and the investigating officer are excused from the hearing room for the Board to deliberate.
Optimally, as evidenced by the investigating officer’s incident report, including the student’s statement in response to the allegation, and as presented at a hearing, certain factors should be considered when deciding whether a student has committed a violation of the Honor System. Beyond obvious instances of blatant cheating and wholesale plagiarism, the board should seek to understand whether regular expected norms of academic behavior were ignored by the accused student. Should the accused student have been reasonably expected to know such behavior was wrong? A student may be In Violation whether aware, or not, that they were not following an instructor’s verbal or written instructions.
The Hearing Board must reach a majority decision whether to find a student in violation, or not. At a minimum, three members of a Board (of either five or four members) must agree that a violation of the Honor System was committed. If the Board happens to comprise four individuals, and the decision is 2:2, the Board will not have reached a majority decision, and the student will be found Not In Violation. Should a student be found Not In Violation, the board is excused from further deliberation, and no sanction can be assigned.
NB: Regarding the expedited procedures, prior to review by an *Executive Board, the accused student will have already admitted to being In Violation of the Honor System. The task for an Executive Board is to determine by a majority decision (at least two of three reviewers) a sanction to recommend to the Dean of the student’s school.
* an Executive Board is made up of the Honor Council’s faculty chair, executive director, and one undergraduate or graduate student depending on the academic degree status of the accused student..