Palm Court view from above

If You Are Accused

The Investigation

If you're accused of an Honor System violation, the procedure for investigation of the accusation is as follows:

  • A member of the Honor System Council will be appointed to serve as the investigator for the case. The investigator is neither a "prosecutor" or a "defender." Instead, their role is to gather the relevant facts, as understood by all parties, and to serve as a point of contact between the Honor System Council and all parties to the case.
  • The investigator will contact you and the professor, as well as any others with relevant information (e.g., witnesses).
  • The investigation will be completed in as timely a manner as possible.

The Hearing

The Council will formally hear the case soon after the conclusion of the investigation.

You'll be asked to be present at the hearing. The hearing isn't adversarial; rather, its intent is to help the Council to understand the facts of the case and the intentions of the parties involved. At the hearing, the investigator will present their report of findings, to include relevant evidence. Both you and the 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 you and the professor may make closing statements. A tape recording serves as the official record of the hearing.

Please remember that the Honor System Council is composed entirely of students. You're appearing before your peers. A faculty member (from the Honor System Advisory Committee) will attend the hearing as an observer, but won't actively participate in the proceedings.

The Verdict

After the hearing has concluded, the Council will deliberate privately. The investigator will not participate in this deliberation.

The first step the Council takes is to decide whether or not a violation of the Honor System has taken place. If so, the Council will make recommendations for academic, and possibly non-academic, sanctions against the student(s). These recommendations are then forwarded to the appropriate academic dean for review and approval before the student(s) and professor are formally informed. The Council's recommendations for academic penalties are advisory; faculty retain control over grading, though it should be noted that many follow the recommendations of the Honor System Council.

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.


Students found in violation of the Honor System may:

  • Receive a reduced grade on the assignment, test or paper that has resulted from dishonest actions
  • Be required to write a letter of apology
  • Be required to repair some of the damage caused by their actions
  • Be required to meet with their academic advisor or a counselor
  • Be failed for the entire course
  • In extreme cases, be suspended or expelled.

More Information

For more information on this process, please refer to the Honor System Handbook.