Faculty Guide to the Student Honor System

Honor Code

The Honor Code specifically forbids lying, cheating, attempted cheating, stealing, attempted stealing, and plagiarism. Students at the College are bound by honor and by their enrollment at the College to abide by the code and to report violations.

Code of Conduct

As members of the College community, students are expected to evidence a high standard of personal conduct and to respect the rights of other students, faculty, staff members, community neighbors and visitors on campus. Students are also expected to adhere to all federal, state, and local laws. Faculty members are expected to report violations of the Honor Code or Code of Conduct to the Office of the Dean of Students at 843.953.5522.

Some Premises of the Student Honor System

  • The student honor system is an administrative process designed to respond to allegations of student misconduct. While there are some similarities between the student honor system and a court of law, the system is clearly not a criminal court.
  • The purpose of the system is to protect the academic process and the learning community and to uphold the values of academic and personal integrity. The system also strives to uphold the accused student’s rights.
  • Upon enrollment at the College, all students, regardless of their status, agreed to uphold and abide by the Honor Code and Code of Conduct. This means that they agree to accept the consequences of their actions, should they violate a code.
  • The College places value in student self-governance. As a result, the system largely is operated by students with significant support from the administration. All sanctions are enacted by the Office of Student Affairs on behalf of the administration.

Steps to Report a Suspected Violation of the Honor Code

  1. If you are unsure whether the situation needs to be reported, please consult with the Dean of Students or the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs.
  2. It is up to you whether you confront the student with your suspicions before notifying the Office of the Dean of Students. It is best practice to let the student know of your suspicions.  You may ask the student for an explanation. Do not accuse the student of a code violation.  Do not negotiate with the student. 
  3. You have one month to make a report to the Office of the Dean of Students, unless there is evidence of concealment or there is evidence of extenuating circumstances which have caused a delay in reporting. 
  4. Collect and make photocopies of all relevant documentary evidence and keep all originals. Grade the work in question as if no violation has occurred and retain the student’s earned grade until further notice. If the incident occurs at the end of a semester or summer session, a temporary grade of “I” should be entered on the grade report submitted to the Office of the Registrar until the case has been adjudicated.
  5. Deliver your complaint to the Office of the Dean of Students (you may use e-mail or our incident reporting form).
  6. Cease all case-related communication with the student once the matter is referred to the Office of the Dean of Students. 
  7. Often, someone in that office will contact you to review the complaint before making a decision whether to charge the student.

The Honor Board Hearing

An Honor Board hearing is scheduled when the complainant and the respondent have completed their preparation of the evidence. Hearings generally are not open to the public. In addition to the Board members (3 students, 1 faculty member and 1 staff member), the complainant and the respondent and their Honor Advisors are present for all phases of the hearing except during the private deliberations of the Board. If you are the complainant, you may be present for all phases except deliberations. You may be asked questions by the respondent and the Board. If you are called to testify as a witness, you will be present for only your testimony. You may then be asked questions by the complainant, Board members, and the respondent. Any questions that may be asked of you, by the Board, are designed to help the Board in its effort to discern the truth. It is important for you to know that, although we will make every reasonable effort to minimize impositions on your time, you will need to give the time necessary for the process to work. Before a sanction may be imposed, the Board must find the student in violation. The burden of proof is on the complainant, and proof of a violation of any Code by the respondent must be by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard is not as stringent as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The Board treats each case individually, but it does issue pre-determined sanctions for specific violations.

Following the hearing, the Office of the Dean of Students will notify you of the results of the hearing or the status of the case if the respondent has filed for an appeal of the Honor Board’s decision. If the decision is "in violation," the Dean of Students will report the sanction of XX and grade of F to the Registrar, in most cases. In cases handled directly by the professor (i.e., student's action due to ignorance or confusion and not deceit), it is recommended that professors seek departmental guidance as to an appropriate educational response.

Faculty Responsibilities

The Honor Code makes honor a personal matter and calls upon students to act in ways that epitomize responsibility, respect for others, and respect for their goal of achieving an education. It also calls upon all members of the College, students and faculty alike, to hold others in the community to the same standards of honest, responsible conduct. Faculty also has a responsibility to communicate the Honor Code to students and to delineate in a clear manner the code’s application to class assignments. More specific recommendations follow:

  • To inform students at the beginning of each course and at other appropriate times about our Honor Code. Provide a clear definition of plagiarism and a reminder of its consequences.  The extent of permissible collaboration among students in fulfilling academic requirements should be carefully explained.
  • To identify clearly in advance of any examination or other graded work the books, notes or other materials or aids which may be used; to inform students that materials or aids other than those identified cannot be used; and to require unauthorized materials or aids to be put out of reach, turned off or otherwise made inaccessible before the work is undertaken.
  • You may require each student on all submitted work to sign a pledge, when appropriate, that the student has neither given nor received unauthorized aid.
  • To take all reasonable steps consistent with physical classroom conditions --such as requiring students to sit in alternate seats – to reduce the possibility of cheating on graded work. The same applies to the on-line environment.
  • To exercise caution in the preparation, duplication and security of examinations (including make-up examinations) to insure that students cannot gain improper advance knowledge of their contents.
  • To avoid, when possible, reuse of instructor-prepared examinations, in whole and part, unless they are  made available to all students.
  • To exercise proper security in the distribution and collection of exams, papers, etc. and to be present in the classroom during an examination when the instructor believes that his/her presence is warranted or when circumstances, in her/his opinion, make his/her presence necessary.
  • To report to the Office of the Dean of Students any instance in which reasonable grounds exist to believe that a student has given or received unauthorized aid in graded work. When possible, consultation with the student should precede reporting. Private action as a sanction for academic dishonesty, including the assignment of a failing grade in the course or for the individual test/paper, is inconsistent with code policy and should not be used in lieu of or in addition to a report of the incident.
  • To cooperate with the Office of the Dean of Students and the Honor Board in the investigation of any incident of alleged violation, including the giving of testimony when called upon.