Honor Council Frequently Asked Questions - Faculty

How can I encourage academic honesty in my courses?

The best and simplest way to promote academic honesty in your classes is to have students pledge their work. According to the Code of Academic Integrity, all academic work at Wittenberg should carry the Honor Statement:

"I affirm that my work upholds the highest standards of honesty and academic integrity at Wittenberg, and that I have neither given nor received any unauthorized assistance."

What do I do if I suspect that one of my students has cheated or plagiarized?

First, meet with the student. Present them with the evidence and describe the sanction you plan to impose. Also, explain to the student that they have the right to refer the case to the Honor Council where it will be reviewed by a hearing board. Second, if after meeting with the student, you still suspect that there has been a violation, then you should write a report in which you do the following:

  1. describe the incident giving rise to the allegation,
  2. describe your meeting with the student,
  3. indicate whether or not the student accepts responsibility for the incident,
  4. describe the sanction you plan to impose,
  5. identify whether or not you or the student are requesting a hearing by an Honor Council hearing board.
  6. include any relevant materials or evidence, e.g., copies of the paper and the source plagiarized, cheat sheets, duplicate exams, etc.

All cases of academic dishonesty must be reported, regardless of whether or not they have been resolved between the faculty and student member. Click here to fill out the online form.

What happens if either the student or the faculty member requests a hearing by the Honor Council?

Both you and the student will be asked to appear before the hearing board to describe the incident and present evidence. The referring faculty member can recommend a sanction; however, the hearing board is in no way obligated to impose the faculty member's recommended sanction, though they are obligated to consider carefully that recommendation

Hearings are not trials, and no attorneys can take part or be present.

Why would I request that a case be heard by an Honor Council hearing board?

You might do this in a number of circumstances. First, if the student denies responsibility for the violation, you might request a hearing, but this isn't necessary - the student should request one on their own if they feel they are wrongfully accused. Second, you might also request a hearing if you simply do not feel you can be impartial in your handling of the incident. And, finally, request a hearing if you believe that the violation is so egregious that a sanction beyond failing the course (an XF grade) should be imposed. However, there is no guarantee that this will be the outcome of the hearing board's inquiries.

Does it take long to resolve cases reviewed by the Honor Council?

While timing is different per case, most violations are resolved within four weeks after the reporting date (this excludes breaks and holidays). Every effort will be made to speed the process.

What happens if the student and I resolve the allegation?

If you and the student have resolved the case, then nothing else will happen, however you must still submit a report. The sanction will go into effect. The report is checked against the student's record to make certain that the student has not been found responsible for academic dishonesty in the past (if they have a previous violation, they must sit in front of a hearing board).

Why do I have to report incidents?

First, we need accurate records of the amount and kind of academic dishonesty on campus. Second, it might be that the student has violated the code before, in which case a pattern of dishonest behavior can be identified. Third, reports help to protect students from sanctions that might be unreasonable or out of step with the community's standards. Finally, what looks like one isolated incident might help us to identify new methods or patterns of cheating.

Are students able to appeal the decision of the Honor Council?

Yes, students can appeal for several reasons. First, if significant new evidence becomes available. Second, if they feel that the sanction they have received is not appropriate for the violation. Finally, if they feel that they were not given a fair and impartial hearing. In some instances, a new hearing board will be assigned to review their case.

Will a record of the incident appear on the student's transcript?

If the student is found responsible for having violated the code of academic integrity, then a record of the case is included in the student's file, but no notation will be made on their transcript, unless the student has been assigned an XF for the course, that is, failed the course due to academic dishonesty. This will be indicated on their transcript. (See the Code of Academic Integrity for a description for how students can petition to have the grade of XF revert to an F on their transcripts, pages 7-8.) If the student is suspended or expelled from the university for academic dishonesty, the transcript will indicate this.

If a student is exonerated, no record whatsoever will appear in their file or on their transcript.

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