Honor Council

The Honor Council seeks to educate the College community on the principles of academic integrity and to enforce the Honor Code when violations occur.

Honor Code Student Handbook (.pdf)

Full-Time Members:

  • Brianna Bridges (Recording Secretary)
  • Nicole Cato
  • Richard Covington
  • Martrevez Davis
  • Carmen Findley
  • Leah Foster (President)
  • Drusilla Gibbs
  • Loishirl Hall
  • Patrick Riley (Appeals Representative)
  • Jeanna Rountree
  • Paige Smyth
  • Kaylan Whetsone (Remediation Officer)
  • Josh Ham (Alternate)
  • Lauren Tate (Alternate)

Faculty Advisors:

  • William Paschal
  • Melinda Pomeroy-Black


Student Responsibilities

  • To be honest and truthful in all academic matters, abiding by the letter and spirit of the Honor Code
  • To consult with the appropriate persons to clarify issues regarding plagiarism, the correct attribution of sources, the acceptable limits of proofreading, editing, or input of others, and the allowable materials for examinations, reports, or any academic work
  • To sign a pledge that no unauthorized aid has been given or received on any academic work
  • To report any incident which is believed to be a violation of the Honor Code to the president of the Honor Council
  • To cooperate when called upon by the Council to testify in a hearing

Student Rights

  • To be presumed innocent
  • To be granted a fair, impartial, and timely hearing
  • To face and question any witnesses at a hearing
  • To testify and present material on one's own behalf
  • To be granted a separate hearing upon request, when the incident involves more than one person
  • To be granted the right to subsequent appeal
  • To be accompanied by a silent observer in a hearing. The Council president must be made aware of this person's name and relationship to the student no less than twenty-four hours before the hearing. The observer's role is one of support, and this person will not be allowed to speak.

Principles

  1. To treat every member of the College community with impartiality and respect.
  2. To consider all facts and testimony before discussing or resolving any case.
  3. To preserve absolute confidentiality.
  4. To hold the College community to the highest standard of conduct, both to protect the community and to promote moral development.
  5. To support the mission of the College by conducting programs and enacting policies regarding the Honor Code that contribute to the moral development of the College community.
  6. To understand the fundamental differences between the nature of student discipline regarding academic integrity and the nature of criminal law. The Honor Code, its policies, procedures, and sanctions are meant to be in accordance with the mission of the College. They are not intended to resemble any activities within the criminal judicial process.

Examples of Offenses

  • Academic cheating, including but not limited to the unauthorized use of books or notes, copying, or collaboration on examinations or any graded coursework
  • Unauthorized use of electronic devices and/or programs for or during examinations or any graded coursework
  • Plagiarism—the misuse of another person's words or ideas, presenting them as one's own, regardless of intent
  • Lying or presenting false information related to any academic matter
  • Forgery or misuse of official college documents
  • Theft of college property related to academic work
  • Aiding another in any of the above
  • Failure to report a violation of the Honor Code
  • Failure to appear before the Honor Council as requested
  • Failure to maintain confidentiality regarding a case

Procedure Regarding a Suspected Violation of the Honor Code

  • Report the alleged violation to the president of the Honor Council. In consultation with one of the advisors to the Honor Council, the president of the Council will determine if sufficient evidence exists for a hearing. If the evidence is insufficient, the president so notifies the party reporting the alleged violation. If there is sufficient evidence for a hearing, the president sets a date for the hearing. The president will inform the person or persons accused of the violation that a hearing will take place, stating the specific accusation, the place, date, and time of the hearing, and requesting the names of any persons who should be called as witnesses. The president will interview these persons to determine whether they have knowledge relevant to the suspected violation. Campus email and communication through the campus post office will be considered means of official correspondence to students from the Honor Council. Students are responsible for responding to these official means of communication. If any communication attempts are not responded to within one week of initial contact from the Honor Council, the Council has the right to proceed with the case.

  • When a student accused of a violation does not appear for a preliminary interview when notified to do so, a hold will be placed on the student's transcript. A hold will also be placed on the transcript when it has been determined that the case will proceed to a hearing. This hold will be removed when the case has been resolved.

  • The student may choose to self-report the violation in a letter to the Honor Council president. As a result, no hearing will be called, but the Honor Council will meet to determine the sanction. The student will be invited to meet with the Council and encouraged to address the Council before its deliberation to determine the sanction.

  • The president presides at the hearing, after which the Honor Council votes to determine whether or not a violation has occurred. In the event of a tie, the president will cast the deciding vote. If the student is found not to have violated the Honor Code, the president and recorder destroy the recording of the proceedings and so inform the Provost and the student in writing. If the student is found to have violated the Code, further deliberation by the Council determines the sanction to be imposed, and the student is notified in writing. The sanction is carried out by the Provost.

  • If a case cannot be heard before the end of the grading period, the instructor will submit the grade of NR until the Honor Council acts on the case.
  • The Honor Council reserves the right to conduct a hearing in absentia when the accused student fails to appear as notified and directed.

Appellate Procedure

Every person found to have violated the Honor Code has the right of subsequent appeal. Such appeal must be filed in writing within seven (7) days of notification of the sanction and is made to the Provost. If the sanction determined by the Honor Council is an F in the course, the student will be dropped from the course seven (7) days after the student has been notified of the sanction unless an appeal is filed. The Appeals Board shall be the President of the SGA, the President of the Faculty Assembly, the Provost, the Honor Council appeals representative, and a student-at-large selected by the Honor Council President and the Provost. Such appeals are heard from the written hearing summary, the audio recording of the hearing, and the written statement of the student requesting the appeal. Materials submitted as part of the case and the recording of the hearing will not be made available to the accused student. The Appeals Board has the authority to change the sanction in a case but is limited to the sanctions provided for in the policies of the Honor Code.


Common Questions

  • Will I violate the Code if I don't turn in students I know are cheating or have otherwise violated the Code?
    Yes. The purpose of the Honor Code is to create a community of integrity. Lying, cheating, and stealing related to academic matters are violations of the Code, and students at LaGrange College should refuse to tolerate violations of the trust among students and between students and faculty established by the code.

  • What if I don't agree to sign the Code?
    The Honor Code is a policy of the College, and refusal to sign it will not alter a student's requirement to abide by it.

  • In classes where tests are unproctored, isn't there just a higher incidence of cheating?
    The process of educating the student body in the discipline of academic integrity is ongoing. Individual faculty members make the decision about when and how to offer students unproctored exams, and this is being done more frequently than before the Honor Code was implemented. Trust between faculty and students is one of the goals of any honor system, and as faculty trust in students increases, as the faculty becomes more confident that there are many students who will not tolerate dishonesty, unproctored exams will be administered more often.

  • Why do we need an Honor Code?
    Studies related to ethics and moral development in American colleges and universities consistently show students' failure to understand the value of intellectual property, and professional organizations also report concerns about the ethics of graduates entering fields such as engineering, business, and medicine. In a study completed at LaGrange College in January 1999, of 154 student respondents, only 48.1 percent agreed with the statement "There is peer support for academic honesty (for not cheating and not helping others cheat). When the survey was administered again in 2004, four years after the implementation of the Code, that percentage had risen to 60.7 percent, a 12.6 percent increase.

  • Who decides cases of alleged violations of the Code?
    The Honor Council is selected in the spring of each year for the following academic year. Students may self-nominate, and the faculty also nominates students who then apply to be considered in the selection process. The Honor Council elects its own president who becomes the non-voting member to whom all cases are reported. The members will be from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes and will have a minimum GPA of 2.85.

  • Is it a violation of the Code to have someone else proofread my assignments and papers?
    Always ask your professor for clarification of what is acceptable for every assignment. In general, someone else's proofreading of your work would not be tolerated under the Code because it isn't your own work and may put you at an unfair advantage over other students. This is the professor's prerogative for each assignment, however, and is it your responsibility to ask about the limits of each assignment.

  • What about help from the Writing Center? Should I be worried about that?
    No. Writing Center tutors understand the Code and the limitations it places on the type and scope of help they offer. They will not proofread, edit, or revise your papers. Their job is to provide peer tutoring and guide you in doing your own best work.

  • What is the process of an Honor Council Hearing?
    All hearings are closed, and all matters before the Honor Council are confidential. The president prepares all parties for the hearing, presides, and assures fairness. The person accused of a violation is present throughout the hearing and may ask questions just as members do of all witnesses who come before the Honor Council. The person accused of the violation will have the opportunity to be the last to speak, after all other parties have been dismissed from the hearing room. The Council will excuse everyone except its members and advisor in order to deliberate, and the decision will be delivered in writing to the accused and the Provost of the College. If the person is found not to have committed a violation, the record of the hearing is destroyed.

  • What happens if a student is found in a hearing to have violated the Honor Code?
    One of the sanctions will be immediately imposed. A sanction cannot be deferred. Summer term does not qualify for a suspension period.

  • What happens if a student who is confronted about a violation chooses to admit his or her violation of the Honor Code?
    By self-reporting to the Honor Council, a student will not be required to attend a hearing, but the Council will convene to impose a sanction. Even when the student chooses to admit the violation in a letter to the Honor Council, the student is encouraged to meet with the Council to fully explain the incident before the Council votes to impose a sanction.

  • What does the faculty or administration of the College have to do with the Honor Council?
    The Honor Council is composed entirely of students and acts autonomously. An advisor from the faculty attends hearings to ensure due process and fairness for all parties, to plan training for the Council, and to act as liaison to the faculty, but he or she has no vote in Council proceedings. Each year, in keeping with the trust that the faculty has placed in the Council, the Council will present a report to the faculty and the President of the College.

Selection
  • Conducted each spring by the Selection Committee:
         Outgoing SGA President
         Outgoing Honor Council President
         President of the Faculty Assembly
         Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean
         Advisor to the Honor Council
  • Applicants may self-nominate or may be nominated by a member of the faculty.
  • GPA requirement: 2.85 or higher
  • Applicants must attend a mandatory workshop
Honor Council committee member application



The Honor Code

As a member of the student body of LaGrange College, I confirm my commitment to the ideals of civility, diversity, service, and excellence. Recognizing the significance of personal integrity in establishing these ideals within our community, I pledge that I will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate these unethical behaviors in others.

The Honor CodeThe Honor Code and its policies and procedures apply to all full-time and part-time students enrolled in all of its undergraduate and graduate programs, LaGrange at Albany, and the Evening College. By matriculation, students acknowledge the Honor Code to be a policy of LaGrange College. The Honor Pledge, "I pledge that I have neither given nor received unauthorized help on this examination or assignment, nor have I witnessed any violation of the Honor Code," is implied whether or not it is written on academic work.

The Honor Code was written by a committee of students and faculty and implemented in 1999. It has as its goal creating a community of scholars based on trust and responsibility.

Comprised entirely of students, the Honor Council has served since its inception to foster academic integrity and to hear cases brought before it when a student may have violated the Honor Code. The Council is entrusted with this responsibility by the college community, and Council members strive to maintain the principles of fairness and respect.