A long held tradition at Southwestern University is being true to oneself and others. Students established the Honor Code over a century ago to commit themselves to academic integrity and to hold each other accountable in their endeavors both inside and outside the classroom.
The bond of trust between students and their professors is an important attribute of life at Southwestern. Under the Honor Code, students complete daily assignments, write term papers, present projects, publish creative and informative work, take examinations without proctors, and have the freedom to leave the room at will during tests.
Students write and sign the Honor Pledge when completing every examination, paper, quiz, and other professor-designated assignments to reaffirm their commitment to honorable conduct.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Honor Code Council?
The Honor Code Council is composed of students and faculty who have a strong interest in promoting the University’s Honor Code. Student members of the Honor Code Council serve on hearing boards for alleged violations.
How do I become a member of the Honor Code Council?
Applications for Honor Code Council membership are available every spring for the upcoming academic school year.
What are some common Honor Code violations?
Common Honor Code violations include: plagiarism, giving answers to another student, accessing electronic devices while taking a test, and collaborating on independent assignments.
How do I report a violation?
Student: As a student, you can report a violation to a professor, or testing proctor.
Faculty: As a faculty member, you can report a violation to the Dean of Students.
How can I avoid plagiarism?
Review the instructions for the assignment. Do not incorporate any work into your assignment that is not your own idea. Always cite your sources. Consult the syllabus pertaining to a particular assignment. Ask your professor if you are not sure.
The Purdue plagiarism test can help you recognize and avoid plagiarism.
What do I do if I have been accused of an Honor Code violation?
This chart helps explain the process. If the accusation is made by a faculty member, and the Respondent (alleged violator) has no previous academic dishonesty record, and the Respondent acknowledges responsibility, then a Non-Judicial Resolution between the faculty member and the student can ensue at the discretion of the faculty member. The faculty member must first notify the Honor Code Council President and the Dean of Students of the suspected violation and the proposed Non-Judicial Resolution and document the agreement; however, this will not become a part of the student’s formal record at the University. This Non-Judicial Resolution must be mutually agreeable, or the student has a right to request a hearing by the Honor Code Council Hearing Board. Each student is entitled to only one Non-Judicial Resolution while a student at Southwestern.
What if I didn’t know that I committed a violation?
Students are responsible for being aware of and adhering to guidelines regarding academic honesty for each and every course. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution, and consult your faculty for clarification.
Why are some actions, e.g. collaborating on an assignment, allowable in one class but not another?
Faculty have full discretion to determine the optimal methods by which students will learn, and demonstrate that learning, in their courses. In one context, working with others may be a critical part of the learning process, while in another, it is important for a student to learn independently and without the input of peers. This is why it is important to ensure that you understand the parameters for each assignment before you begin it.
What is the difference between a non-judicial resolution and a hearing?
A Non-Judicial Resolution is an agreement between the faculty member and Respondent, when the Respondent admits responsibility, to remedy the violation. A hearing is a formal conference involving members of the Honor Code Council, Honor Code Council President, Dean of Students, faculty member and Respondent to determine whether or not a student is responsible for the violation.
Do I have a right to a hearing?
Yes. The student has a right to request a hearing by the Honor Code Hearing Board.
What are the possible outcomes of a hearing?
There are two possible outcomes to a hearing: responsible or not responsible for violating the Honor Code.
If responsible, sanctions range from a reduction in grade on the assignment to suspension or expulsion.
Who will be on the hearing board?
The Honor Code Council Hearing Board consists of six members (three students and three faculty). The six members of each Hearing Board are selected by the Dean of Students (or designee), after meeting with the Complainant and Respondent, and after each has been given the opportunity to dismiss prospective members with cause. The non-voting chair of the Hearing Board is the President of the Honor Code Council (or designee), and the student members are members of the Honor Code Council. The faculty members are chosen from all faculty.
What if I do not agree with the outcome of the hearing?
The Respondent has the right to appeal the outcome of the hearing.
What is the appeals process?
The appeals process is outlined in the student handbook.
What is the timeline of a case?
During the regular semester, a hearing is typically scheduled within 14 days of the date the Dean of Students is notified of the alleged violation. This timeline could be extended due to University holidays, availability of parties involved for initial meetings and the hearing, or other extenuating circumstances. The Dean of Students will keep all parties informed of any deviations from the 14-day norm.
The Respondent will know the finding of responsible or not responsible at the hearing.
If found responsible, the Respondent will know the sanction(s) assigned within three business days of the hearing.