III. Glossary

Dismissal: The student is permanently dismissed from the University.  Dismissals are noted on a student’s permanent transcript as “Dismissal: Violation of Honor System.” This sanction is not eligible for sanction reduction.

Executive Board:  Honor Council members designated to adjudicate a case appropriate for an expedited sanction, and who will use the Sanctioning Guidelines in making a recommendation of sanction to the Dean.  Typically, the Executive Board includes the Honor Council's faculty chair, a student co-chair (undergraduate or graduate as appropriate), and the Executive Director.

"Extensive" Plagiarism or Cheating:  An assignment for which a student inappropriately uses a high percentage of unoriginal material, which therefore includes little of the student's own thought and work.   

Hearing Board:  Honor Council members designated to adjudicate a case through the hearing process, and who will use the Sanctioning Guidelines in making a recommendation of sanction to the Dean.  Typically, a Hearing Board includes five Honor Council members: a dean from the accused student's school, a faculty member and student from the accused student's school, and a faculty member and student not from the accused student's school. For the cases of master's degree students, members of a hearing board will be Honor Council student members who come from departments with graduate programs and who are current master's degree candidates.

In Violation:  A student is In Violation of the Honor System if that student has been found by the Honor Council to have committed an act of academic dishonesty.  Such acts include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and cheating.  More details about specific offenses are given in the Standards of Conduct, The Honor System section III.

Letter of Censure: A Letter of Censure becomes part of the student’s Georgetown University record (student file) and, under appropriate circumstances, may be shared with persons outside of Georgetown University, such as law schools that may ask about applicants’ records.  This sanction can be reduced through the Sanction Reduction Programs (see below).

Letter of Reprimand: A Letter of Reprimand is retained in the student’s Georgetown Honor Council file until he or she receives either a Bachelor's or Master's degree Georgetown University, at which time the Letter of Reprimand is destroyed.  The Letter of Reprimand sanction may not be disclosed outside the University, and is available only to authorized Georgetown Honor Council personnel who, in their professional capacity, have access to the student’s file. 

Major Paper, Project, or Test: A paper, project or test is considered “major” if it is a primary means for determining a student’s course grade.  Normally, papers or tests that count for 20% or more of the semester grade are considered major, although the cutoff for "major" vs. "minor" may vary depending on the particular professor’s grading scheme.  

Minor Paper, Project, or Test: A paper, project, or test is considered “minor” if it is a secondary means for determining a student’s course grade.  Normally, papers or tests that count for between 5% and 20% of the semester grade are considered minor, but the cutoff for major vs. minor may vary depending on the particular professor’s grading scheme. Assignments worth less than 5% of the grade may be viewed as small enough to warrant a Letter of Reprimand.

Notation on Transcript: A notation is entered on the student's official record (transcript) indicating that the student has received a sanction.  There are two levels of transcript notation.  Both notations include the text: "Censure: Violation of Honor System."

     The Level One transcript notation sanction, and for which the student is eligible for sanction reduction, continues with the proviso: "This notation can be removed on [date] through student action."  "Student action" means the successful completion of a sanction reduction plan.

     The Level Two transcript notation sanction, and for which the student is not eligible for sanction reduction, is the plain, unqualified entry: "Censure: Violation of Honor System."

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is difficult to define precisely.  Loosely speaking, plagiarism is passing off another’s words or ideas as one’s own.  When using another person’s work, proper credit must be given according to recognized styles of citation.  Most faculty will specify the preferred style for their specifc field of study or discipline.  A violation of the Georgetown Honor System for plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional.

Sanction Reduction:  Students who successfully complete the Sanction Reduction Program will have sanctions of either Notation on Transcript (Level One) or Letter of Censure reduced to a Letter of Reprimand, which then remains in the student’s Honor Council file until the student’s graduation, after which it is destroyed.  The sanction reduction is not effective until the last day of classes of the semester two years following the semester in which the violation occurred (e.g., violation occurred in Fall 2015; sanction would be reduced at the end of Fall 2017).  If the student will have graduated by that time, the sanction of a Notation on Transcript or a Letter of Censure is removed completely from the student’s academic record.  Application to the Sanction Reduction Program must begin within one month of receiving the letter from the Dean informing the student of the final decision as to sanction. 

Suspension: Suspension from the University is a serious, high-level sanction that is intended to provide students time away from the University to reflect on and learn from their actions.  Suspension typically will be imposed for one semester, but can be imposed for two semesters, at the discretion of the Hearing or Executive Board and the Dean.  Suspensions are usually for the semester after the violation occurred, but may be immediate or be one semester later (summer not included) if there was a delay in imposing the sanction.  A suspension is noted on a student’s permanent transcript as, “Suspension: Violation of Honor System,” and is not eligible for sanction reduction.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act*):   Per the U.S. Department of Education, FERPA is a Federal law that is administered the the Family Policy Compliance Office (Office) in the U.S. Department of Education ("Department").  20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99.  FERPA applies to all educational agencies and institutions (e.g., schools) that receive funding under any program administered by the Department…FERPA generally prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information derived from education records. Thus, information that an official obtained through personal knowledge or observation, or has heard orally from others, is not protected under FERPA. This remains applicable even if education records exist which contain that information, unless the official had an official role in making a determination that generated a protected education record.  FERPA applies to post-secondary students in public, private or parochial schools.  Under FERPA, a school must provide an eligible student with an opportunity to inspect and review his or her education records within 45 days following its receipt of a request.    http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/students.html

* also commonly referred to as the Buckley Amendment.