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Honor Code Policy and Procedures



I. HONOR CODE: Baylor University students, staff, and faculty shall act in academic matters with the utmost honesty and integrity.

II. HONOR CODE VIOLATIONS: A Baylor University student violates the Honor Code if the student engages in dishonorable conduct in connection with an academic matter.

III. DEFINITIONS: As used in this policy, the following terms have the indicated meanings:

A. Academic matter means an activity that may affect a grade or in any way contribute toward the satisfaction of the requirements for graduation without reference to the focus of such activity. Academic matters include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

(1) An examination.

(2) A research assignment or other activity to be done outside the class.

(3) Work that is in whole or partial satisfaction of requirements for the receipt of course credit for participation.

(4) An activity for which course credit is given.

B. Baylor University means the various academic units, including the College of Arts and Sciences, the Hankamer School of Business, the School of Education, the School of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate School, the Honors College, University Libraries, the School of Music, the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, the George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and the School of Social Work. The academic work in the Baylor School of Law is governed by its own honor code, which is stated in the School of Law catalog.

C. Dishonorable conduct means an act of academic dishonesty. The term dishonorable conduct includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:

(1) Offering for course credit as one's own work, in whole or in part, the work of another.

(2) Plagiarism, that is, incorporating into one's work offered for course credit passages taken either word for word or in substance from a work of another, unless the student credits the original author and identifies the original author's work with quotation marks, footnotes, or another appropriate written explanation.

(3) Offering for course credit one's own work, but work that one has previously offered for course credit in another course, unless one secures permission to do so prior to submission from the instructor in whose course the work is being offered.

(4) Offering for course credit work prepared in collaboration with another, unless the student secures the instructor's permission in advance of submission. A student does not prepare work in collaboration with another if he or she merely discusses with another a matter relevant to the work in question.

(5) Invading or attempting to invade the administrative security maintained for the preparation and storage of examinations.

(6) Using, during an examination period, material not authorized by the instructor giving the examination.

(7) Taking an examination for another student or knowingly permitting another person to take an examination for oneself.

(8) Giving, receiving, or obtaining information pertaining to an examination during an examination period, unless such action is authorized by the instructor giving the examination.

(9) Divulging the contents of an essay or objective examination designated by the instructor as an examination not to be removed from the examination room or discussed.

(10) Taking, keeping, misplacing, tampering with, or damaging the property of Baylor University, a faculty member, or another student, if one knows or should reasonably know that one would, by such conduct, obtain an unfair academic advantage. This section is intended to include, but not be limited to, material in a university library.

(11) Misrepresenting facts about one's self or another for the purpose of obtaining an advantage, either academic or financial, or for the purpose of injuring another student academically or financially, including providing false grades for resumes for placement use.

(12) Failing to follow the instructions of a professor in completing an assignment or examination, if one knows or should reasonably know that one would, by such conduct, obtain an unfair academic advantage.

(13) Taking, without first reporting such fact to the appropriate faculty member, an examination about which one has unauthorized information, even though such information was obtained unintentionally.

(14) Witnessing conduct which one knows or should reasonably know is dishonorable and failing to report it as required by this Honor Code.

(15) Communicating with a member of the Honor Council, other than the chair, about an alleged violation of the Honor Code that has been brought to the Honor Council, but not heard. It is the intent of this paragraph to prevent ex parte communications with members of the Honor Council.

(16) Altering or falsifying academic documents such as transcripts, change of schedule forms, closed class cards, doctors' excuses, grade reports, and other such documents.

IV. PROCEDURES FOR ADDRESSING HONOR CODE VIOLATIONS

A. Faculty Members

If a faculty member suspects that a student has engaged in dishonorable conduct in connection with an academic matter that has compromised the integrity of that faculty member's class, the faculty member may handle the matter directly with the student or refer it to the Honor Council in accordance with the timeline in section IV.A.(1) or IV.A.(2) below. In either situation, the faculty member must report the alleged violation to the Office of Academic Integrity (the "OAI"). If the student is not in the class that was compromised, the faculty member will handle the matter according to section IV.C. below.

(1) Handling the Matter Directly with the Student

a. If the faculty member handles the matter directly with the student, the issue must be addressed within 21 calendar days after discovering the violation. If the faculty member would like additional time beyond 21 calendar days to try to resolve the matter with the accused student, the faculty member may ask the Honor Council chair to grant such time within the initial 21-day time period. If the chair determines such time would be beneficial, the chair may grant one or more extension(s) for a specified, reasonable period of time.

b. If the faculty member finds the student guilty of dishonorable conduct in connection with an academic matter, the faculty member must file a report with the OAI. The report will describe the nature of the violation and the sanction (action taken). The OAI will send a copy of the report to the student and retain the original report in its files. If the student has a prior violation on file with the OAI, the OAI will refer the student's file to the Honor Council. The Honor Council will consider additional sanctions for repeat violations. The OAI will notify the student that the file has been referred.

c. If the faculty member finds the student not guilty of dishonorable conduct in connection with an academic matter, no report is filed, the allegations are dismissed and the matter is closed.

(2) Referring the Matter to the Honor Council

If a faculty member believes a student may be guilty of dishonorable conduct in connection with an academic matter and chooses to "refer" the matter to the Honor Council, the faculty member must first report the matter as described in IV. A., but instead of indicating a decision and sanction (action taken), the faculty member must indicate the choice to have the Honor Council hear the matter. The referral must be made within 21 calendar days after discovering the violation. If the faculty member would like additional time beyond 21 calendar days to try to resolve the matter with the accused student, the faculty member may ask the Honor Council chair to grant such time within the initial 21-day time period. If the chair determines such time would be beneficial, the chair may grant one or more extension(s) for a specified, reasonable period of time.

B. Students Accused of a Violation

If a student is accused of dishonorable conduct and the matter is not resolved with the faculty member to the student's satisfaction, the student may refer the matter to the Honor Council. Such a referral must be made within 21 calendar days from the time the Office of Academic Integrity sends the report to the student. The Honor Council may grant additional time for the referral if extenuating circumstances are present.

C. Students, Faculty, or Staff Who Witness a Violation

If a student, faculty member (other than a faculty member who is teaching the student suspected of the dishonorable conduct), or staff member becomes aware of facts indicating a violation of the Honor Code will occur or has occurred, the witness shall report the incident either to the faculty member in whose class the incident occurred or to the chair of the Honor Council within seven calendar days of becoming aware of the facts.

The witness is encouraged, but not required, first to report the incident to the faculty member in whose class the incident occurred. If the incident is reported to the chair of the Honor Council, the chair of the Honor Council shall consult with the faculty member in whose class the incident occurred. The handling and reporting of the incident by the faculty member should then be handled in accordance with section IV. A. above.

D. Assistance from Judicial Affairs

The chair may, when necessary, request investigatory assistance by Judicial Affairs or other University departments, as appropriate, and may also ask a Judicial Affairs official to present a case and evidence to the Honor Council.

V. VIOLATIONS: SANCTIONS, REPORTING, AND RECORDS

A. Sanctions Imposed by the Faculty Member

If the faculty member finds a student guilty of violating the Honor Code and chooses to handle the matter directly with the student, the possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, failure/grade penalty on the assignment, rewriting the assignment, failure/grade penalty on the test, and failure/grade penalty in the course. If a faculty member feels that it may be appropriate for a student to be put on probation, suspended, or expelled for an Honor Code violation, the faculty member must refer the matter to the Honor Council.

B. Sanctions Recommended by the Honor Council

If the Honor Council determines that the accused student has violated the Honor Code, it recommends to the executive vice president and provost the sanction(s) it believes should be imposed against the student. Possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, those mentioned in section V.A. above as well as probation, suspension, and expulsion as defined below:

(1) Probation

Written notice explaining the serious nature of misconduct and outlining the terms of probation will be sent to the student. Terms of probation may include other requirements or restrictions including, but not limited to, community service, educational classes, and/or prohibition from participation in co-curricular activities.

(2) Suspension

Termination of student status at the University for a specified period of time.

(3) Expulsion

Termination of student status at the University permanently or for an indefinite period of time.

C. Reporting Honor Code Violations

As stated in section IV.A.(1), a faculty member who finds a student guilty and handles the matter directly with the student must report the violation and the sanction to the Office of Academic Integrity.

D. Expungement

Students may petition to have their honor code records expunged during the semester prior to graduation. The petition shall be on a form available from the Office of Academic Integrity. If the petition is granted, the student's records will be expunged only upon the student's completion of degree requirements for graduation. The chair of the Honor Council may allow an earlier petition if a student can demonstrate with documentation required by the Office of Academic Integrity that he/she is applying to professional or graduate schools or if there are other meritorious reasons which justify an early review of the student's record. If an expungement is requested and granted prior to completion of degree requirements, the expungement will be deferred. During this deferment period, the record of the violation will not be disclosed to external third parties by the Office of Academic Integrity or Judicial Affairs except as required by law, but will be maintained internally for academic integrity and disciplinary purposes. Should the student have another honor code violation reported during this deferment period, the deferred expungement may be voided pending the outcome of the current reported allegation. Expungement is not a pardon and does not eliminate or modify in any way any sanction(s) in the matter. Records that involve a suspension or expulsion shall not be expunged.

(1) Decision

Once a petition is received, the matter shall be decided by the chair and two faculty members of the Honor Council selected by the chair. At least one of the faculty members of the three-person panel shall be from the school where the Honor Code violation occurred. While considering the matter, the panel may meet or confer with the requesting student or any other individual with knowledge of the Honor Code violation. The chair shall also notify the faculty member who taught the course in which the Honor Code violation occurred that a petition for expungement has been received. (This notice will only be provided if the faculty member is employed by Baylor University at the time the petition is received.) A unanimous decision of all three faculty members is necessary for expungement. Under ordinary circumstances the three-person panel will decide the matter and inform the student of its decision in writing within 21 calendar days. The decision of the panel is final and may not be appealed.

(2) Factors

The three-person panel may consider any of the following factors when reviewing a petition:

(a) the nature of the violation;

(b) the number of violations;

(c) the student's attitude and demeanor at any relevant time throughout the process;

(d) the student's reason(s) for the expungement request; and

(e) any other factor which the panel believes is reasonable and appropriate.

VI. THE HONOR COUNCIL

A. Composition

The Honor Council is composed of 10 student members and 10 faculty members. Each student member must have a current and cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher at the time of the appointment and must maintain a current and cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher during service. The student members shall be appointed annually by the executive vice president and provost. The faculty members, one from each school and the University Libraries, shall be appointed for three-year terms by their respective deans (no representative is appointed by the Graduate School because its faculty hold appointments in the other schools and colleges). A chair and vice chair shall be appointed by the president from among the faculty members of the Honor Council.

In the event a quorum cannot be obtained for a pending matter, and the chair determines that a hearing must occur before a quorum can be obtained using regular Honor Council members, students serving on the Disciplinary Committee, the Student Court, or the Academic Integrity Student Advisory Board, may be used as substitutes, provided they otherwise meet the qualifications of the Honor Council members and have received similar training.

B. Duties

The Honor Council:

(1) determines through the process of a hearing whether an accused student has violated the Honor Code;

(2) recommends one or more sanction(s) for students who have violated the Honor Code; and

(3) assists in educating the University community about the Honor Code.

C. Jurisdiction

The Honor Council has exclusive jurisdiction over all academic matters involving dishonorable conduct that are not resolved between the student and the faculty member in whose class the incident occurred.

VII. HEARINGS

A. Quorum

A quorum for a hearing is three faculty and three student members of the Honor Council. A quorum is not affected by a member of the Honor Council disqualifying himself or herself after a hearing has begun.

B. Disqualification

A member of the Honor Council shall disqualify himself or herself if he or she feels that, in reaching a decision as to whether or not an accused student has violated the Honor Code, he or she cannot act on the weight of the evidence without bias or prejudice. The Honor Council may, by two-thirds vote, disqualify one of its members from sitting on a hearing, if that would best serve the interests of the Honor Council and the University.

C. Procedure

(1) Notice to the Accused and Grievant

Within 10 school days after an alleged violation of the Honor Code has been referred to the Honor Council, the Honor Council chair shall notify in writing the grievant and the accused student of the basis for the alleged violation of the Honor Code, the date, time, and place the violation allegedly occurred, the nature of the evidence upon which the grievant will rely, and the date, time, and place at which the Honor Council will meet to determine if a violation has occurred. The notice must inform both the grievant and the accused of their responsibilities at the hearing. If written evidence will be relied upon in whole or in part to establish a violation, the accused student shall be given an opportunity to examine such evidence prior to the time of the hearing. Ordinarily, such writings shall remain in the possession of the Office of Academic Integrity and subject to the control of the chair of the Honor Council, and the chair shall make necessary arrangements to afford the accused sufficient access to such writings to permit preparation of an appropriate response to charges based in whole or in part upon such writings.

(2) Hearing date

The Honor Council must meet to consider an alleged violation of the Honor Code within 21 school days after the alleged violation is referred to the Honor Council. However, the hearing should not take place until three school days after the notification is sent to the student unless the student desires an expedited hearing and waives the three-day waiting requirement. If the hearing would fall during a University holiday, break in the semesters, during the summer months, or when quorum of the Honor Council is not available, the chair has the responsibility to schedule the hearing within the earliest reasonable timeframe.

(3) Who May Attend

Only members of the Honor Council, the accused, the grievant, witnesses, while the witnesses are giving testimony, and the Director of the Office of Academic Integrity, or his or her designee, may attend a hearing. Lawyers representing the accused or the grievant and character witnesses are specifically excluded. The OAI Director, or his or her designee, is present to assist with administrative matters and shall not vote.

(4) The Hearing

The hearing is presided over by the chair of the Honor Council, or in his or her absence, the vice chair. If the vice chair is not present, the members of the Honor Council may elect a temporary chair or postpone the hearing. The chair shall select a secretary for the hearing.

The chair is in charge of the hearing and has broad discretion. The chair shall exercise control over the conduct of all persons participating in the hearing and direct the initial questioning to the grievant and the accused and their witnesses. The chair shall act as a hearing examiner by developing the facts and evidence necessary to enable the Honor Council to make a decision as to whether or not the Honor Code has been violated. In so doing, the chair may exclude irrelevant, immaterial, and unduly repetitious evidence. The chair may, at his or her discretion, recess the hearing as often as necessary to ensure fairness to the grievant and accused.

The hearing shall consist of two phases: (1) the presentation of evidence and (2) the deliberations of the Honor Council. During the presentation of evidence, the grievant and the accused shall present to the Honor Council facts and circumstances that will enable the Honor Council to determine whether or not the accused has violated the Honor Code. In presenting their positions, the grievant and the accused may ask others to present testimony or documentary evidence. In order to clarify issues, resolve inconsistencies or conflicts in testimony, or to ascertain facts, each member of the Honor Council may ask questions of any person appearing at the hearing.

(5) Evidence

The accused and the grievant may present to the Honor Council any evidence, oral or written, that, in the discretion of the chair of the Honor Council, is pertinent to the alleged Honor Code violation or that might shed light on the facts and circumstances surrounding it. It is important for the grievant and the accused to offer all of their evidence at the time of the hearing. The presentation of evidence is audio recorded. Once the presentation of evidence is concluded, and the audio recorder is turned off, the Honor Council may not consider additional evidence or testimony. Witnesses and evidence need to be presented at the hearing if a party wants them to be considered by the Honor Council. It is essential that one bring to the hearing to testify in person a witness who has firsthand knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged Honor Code violation. A contention by a party appearing before the Honor Council that he or she could get a witness to testify, if necessary, is not helpful to the Honor Council. When a witness cannot be present at the hearing, the grievant or the accused may present to the Honor Council a signed, notarized statement from the absent witness. Because the absent witness cannot be questioned by the other party or the members of the Honor Council, this type of evidence may be given less weight than is given to other types.

(6) Questioning

In addition to members of the Honor Council, the grievant and the accused may question one another or the witness of either.

(7) Failure to Appear

If the grievant or the accused fails to appear before the Honor Council on the date and at the time and place specified in the notice, the Honor Council may take the testimony and evidence and reach a decision on the basis of that evidence. Failure to appear and offer evidence may leave the Honor Council little choice but to decide in favor of the party presenting the only evidence and testimony. If either party is unable to appear before the Honor Council on the date specified in the notice, he or she should notify the chair of the Honor Council of the reasons that prevent attendance as scheduled. If the Honor Council chair determines that good cause exists for not appearing at the hearing when scheduled, it shall set a new date for the hearing.

D. Standard of Proof

The Honor Council shall use the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof in determining whether or not the accused has violated the Honor Code. A preponderance of the evidence presented at a hearing means such evidence as, when considered and compared with that opposed to it, has more convincing force and produces in the minds of the members of the Honor Council belief that the alleged violation of the Honor Code more likely occurred than not. If a majority of the Honor Council votes that a preponderance of the evidence supports the allegation, the Honor Council shall render a decision that the accused has violated the Honor Code.

E. Decision of the Honor Council

After the presentation of evidence is concluded, the chair shall excuse the accused and the grievant from the Honor Council meeting. The Honor Council shall then discuss the evidence presented during the hearing and reach a decision as to whether or not the accused has violated the Honor Code. The chair shall then poll the members of the Honor Council by secret ballot on the question of whether or not a preponderance of the evidence supports the allegation that the accused violated the Honor Code. A voting member of the Honor Council who is not disqualified may not abstain from voting. The chair may not vote except in case of a tie. If a majority of the Honor Council votes that a preponderance of the evidence supports the allegation, the Honor Council shall render a decision that the accused has violated the Honor Code. If less than a majority of the Honor Council votes that a preponderance of the evidence supports the allegation, the Honor Council shall render a decision that the allegation was not substantiated. The decision of the Honor Council as to whether the Honor Code has been violated is final, unless the executive vice president and provost finds that the decision of the Honor Council was arbitrary and capricious.

If the Honor Council determines that the accused student has violated the Honor Code, it shall also recommend the sanction(s) it believes should be imposed against the student. The Honor Council must give great weight to the sanction(s) recommended by the faculty member, but it may also consider the materials and information presented at the hearing, and the student's academic and honor code records. Possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, failure of the assignment, failure of the course, probation, suspension, and expulsion.

F. Summary Report and Record of Hearing

(1) The secretary of the Honor Council shall prepare a summary report of the hearing, including the decision of the Honor Council. The members of the Honor Council shall review this summary; make necessary changes, if any; and indicate their approval of it by signing it.

(2) The record of the hearing shall consist of the audio recording of the hearing and the tangible evidence presented at the hearing.

G. Notification

The chair of the Honor Council shall report the decision of the Honor Council to the faculty member, the accused, and the Office of Academic Integrity, and shall deliver the summary report to the executive vice president and provost. In addition, if the decision of the Honor Council is that the Honor Code has been violated, the chair of the Honor Council shall deliver to the executive vice president and provost the record of the hearing, along with the recommended sanction(s).

H. Disposition of Summary Report and Record of Hearing

(1) If the Honor Code was not violated, the chair shall destroy the record of the hearing. The Office of Academic Integrity will make a record of the decision without any identifying information and destroy all other information pertaining to the charge.

(2) If a student is found by the Honor Council to have violated the Honor Code, the executive vice president and provost or his or her designee shall maintain the summary report and record of the hearing.

I. Honor Council Rules

The Honor Council may adopt specific procedural rules for hearings, if such rules are not inconsistent with this document.

VIII. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND PROVOST

The executive vice president and provost shall impose one or more appropriate sanctions against a student who has violated the Honor Code. He or she must give great weight to the sanction(s) recommended by the Honor Council, but may also consider a review of the record of the hearing and the student's academic and disciplinary records. The sanction(s) shall be consonant with the gravity of the circumstances, including suspension or expulsion from the University.

IX. APPEAL OF DECISION

A. If the accused believes that the decision of the Honor Council was arbitrary and capricious, he or she may appeal the decision in writing to the executive vice president and provost within five school days of the date he or she receives notice of the decision of the Honor Council.

B. The executive vice president and provost shall review the record of the hearing and the evidence supporting the appeal. The executive vice president and provost shall determine whether the Honor Council acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in reaching its decision. The executive vice president and provost may consult with the Office of General Counsel, the Division of Student Life, or any other department prior to reaching his or her decision.

C. If the executive vice president and provost finds that the decision of the Honor Council was arbitrary and capricious, he or she shall reverse the decision. Otherwise, the executive vice president and provost shall affirm the decision of the Honor Council.

D. If the accused desires to appeal the decision of the executive vice president and provost, he or she may appeal the decision in writing to the president within five school days. In such a situation, the president shall review the record of the hearing, confer with the executive vice president and provost, and, based upon this review, decide to affirm or reverse the decision. The decision of the president is final.

X. APPEAL OF SANCTIONS

If the student is dissatisfied with the sanction(s) imposed by the executive vice president and provost, he or she may appeal the sanction decision in writing to the president within five school days of the date he or she receives notice of the vice president's decision. In such a situation, the president may review the record of the hearing, the student's academic and disciplinary records, and confer with the executive vice president and provost, and, based upon this review, decide to:

A. Allow the sanction(s) stand.

B. Modify the sanction(s) or impose a different sanction(s).

C. Suspend the sanction(s). The decision of the president as to the appropriateness of the sanction(s) is final.

XI. PROCEEDINGS OF HONOR COUNCIL CONFIDENTIAL

A. The proceedings of the Honor Council are confidential and are subject to the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and its implementing regulations. A member of the Honor Council who violates this rule of confidentiality may be expelled from the Honor Council by majority vote of the other members of the Honor Council.

B. The Office of Academic Integrity, with the approval of the Honor Council, shall make a report each semester to the campus community. The report may acknowledge that the Honor Code has been violated and describe the nature of the violation but it may not reveal the name of the student found guilty of violating the code. Methods of reporting include, but are not limited to, advertisements in The Baylor Lariat, e-mails, and announcements in student, staff, and faculty meetings.

XII. AMENDMENT
The executive vice president and provost, in consultation with the Honor Council, Faculty Senate, and vice president for student life, has the power to modify the Honor Code Policy and Procedures.

ADDENDUM:
ADVICE TO STUDENTS ACCUSED
OF VIOLATING THE HONOR CODE

Once you have received a notice of hearing, you should take the following steps:

1. Determine the issues that will be covered at the hearing. This can usually be done from the notice of hearing but if there is any question, contact the chair of the Honor Council. The chair of the Honor Council may give information relating to the procedure followed by a hearing but is prohibited from discussing the merits of an incident in which the Honor Code was allegedly violated.

2. Assemble and organize all documents and witnesses you may wish to present at the hearing. Make sure that any witnesses you contact have firsthand knowledge of the facts in the case.

3. Make notes of any major points you wish to make to the Honor Council so that they are not forgotten during the course of the hearing.

4. Present your testimony and your evidence at the hearing in a calm and organized manner.

5. Take notes during the hearing so that you can name the specific points of your disagreement with the testimony presented against you at the hearing.

6. An unfavorable decision does not necessarily mean that the Honor Council disbelieved your testimony or evidence, although the credibility of a witness is one consideration. You simply may not have presented enough testimony or evidence, or the testimony or evidence which one did present may not have been as convincing as that presented by the other party.

7. If you wish to appeal the Honor Council's decision, you must do so in writing to the executive vice president and provost within five school days of the date you receive notice of the Honor Council's decision. Section IX of this Code addresses such appeals.

8. If you wish to appeal the sanctions imposed by the executive vice president and provost, you must do so in writing to the president within five school days of the date you receive notice of the sanctions. Section X of this Code addresses such appeals.

Modified 1-12-07; 1-17-08; 1-21-09; 2-9-2010; 4-29-2011;