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..