If You Are Accused of an Honor System Violation
What happens if you are accused of an Honor System violation?
The procedure is pretty straightforward. One member of the Honor System Council will be appointed to serve as Investigator on the case. The Investigator's primary role is simply that: to investigate. S/he will contact both you and the course professor. If there are others with relevant information (such as witnesses), they will be contacted as well. The Investigator is neither "prosecutor" nor "defender" in the case. Rather, her/his task here is simply to gather the relevant facts, as understood by all parties. This investigation is completed in the timeliest manner feasible.
The Investigator's role is also that of a communication channel between the Honor System Council and all parties in the case. S/he will gladly answer any questions you have about procedures.
The Council formally hears the case soon after the conclusion of the investigation. You are asked to be present at the hearing. This is not an adversarial hearing; the intent is for the Council to understand the facts of the case and the intentions of the parties involved. At the hearing, the investigator presents her/his report of findings, including relevant evidence. Both student and professor may clarify or amplify material from this report. Council members may question the investigator or any party present. At the conclusion of the hearing, both professor and student may make closing statements. A tape recording serves as official record of the hearing.
Note that the Honor System Council panel hearing the case is comprised entirely of students. You are appearing before your peers. A faculty member (from the Honor System Advisory Committee) will attend the hearing as an observer, but will not actively participate in proceedings.
At the conclusion of testimony, the Council deliberates privately. The investigator does not participate in this deliberation. The Council first decides whether a violation of the Honor System has occurred. (Not all students appearing before the Honor System Council are found in violation of the System.) If so, the Council makes recommendations for academic and possible nonacademic sanctions against the violating student. These recommendations are forwarded to the appropriate academic dean for review and approval before being formally promulgated to the student and faculty member. The Council's recommendations for academic penalties are advisory; faculty still retain control over grading. (Many, however, follow Honor System Council recommendations.)
Throughout the process the Council aims for an expeditious and fair hearing that respects the rights of all parties, and which fosters a sense of restorative rather than punitive justice.