Academic Honor Code

Learn more about Rollins’ academic honor code and report potential academic honor code violations.

The Philosophy of the Academic Honor Code

Integrity and honor are central to the Rollins College mission to educate its students for responsible citizenship and ethical leadership. Rollins College requires adherence to a code of behavior that is essential for building an academic community committed to excellence and scholarship with integrity and honor. Students, faculty, staff, and administration share the responsibility for building and sustaining this community.

Each student matriculating into Rollins College must become familiar with the Academic Honor System. The College requires that students be able and willing to accept the rights and responsibilities of honorable conduct, both as a matter of personal integrity and as a commitment to the values to which the College community commits itself. It is the responsibility of instructors to set clear guidelines for authorized and unauthorized aid in their courses. It is the responsibility of students to honor those guidelines and to obtain additional clarification if and when questions arise about possible violations of the Honor Code.

Pledge and Reaffirmation

Membership in the student body of Rollins College carries with it an obligation, and requires a commitment, to act with honor in all things. The student commitment to uphold the values of honor - honesty, trust, respect, fairness, and responsibility - particularly manifests itself in two public aspects of student life. First, as part of the admission process to the College, students agree to commit themselves to the Honor Code. Then, as part of the matriculation process during Orientation, students sign a more detailed pledge to uphold the Honor Code and to conduct themselves honorably in all their activities, both academic and social, as a Rollins student. A student signature on the following pledge is a binding commitment by the student that lasts for his or her entire tenure at Rollins College.

The development of the virtues of Honor and Integrity are integral to a Rollins College education and to membership in the Rollins College community. Therefore, I, a student of Rollins College, pledge to show my commitment to these virtues by abstaining from any lying, cheating, or plagiarism in my academic endeavors and by behaving responsibly, respectfully and honorably in my social life and in my relationships with others.

This pledge is reinforced every time a student submits work for academic credit as his/her own. Students shall add to the paper, quiz, test, lab report, etc., the handwritten signed statement:

“On my honor, I have not given, nor received, nor witnessed any unauthorized assistance on this work.”

Material submitted electronically should contain the pledge; submission implies signing the pledge.

Definitions of Academic Honor Code Violations

Students are expected to conduct themselves with complete honesty in all academic work and campus activities. Violations of the Academic Honor Code include, but are not limited to the following:

Definitions

1. PLAGIARISM. Offering the words, facts, or ideas of another person as your own in any academic exercise.

2. CHEATING. Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in an academic exercise. This includes sharing knowledge of previously administered or current tests. The keeping of tests, papers, and other assignments belonging to former students is prohibited. Use of external assistance (e.g., books, notes, calculators, conversations with others) in completing an "in class" or "take home" examination, unless specifically authorized by the instructor, is prohibited.

3. UNAUTHORIZED COLLABORATION. Collaboration, without specific authorization by the instructor, on homework assignments, lab reports, exam preparations, research projects, take home exams, essays, or other work for which you will receive academic credit.

4. SUBMISSION OF WORK PREPARED FOR ANOTHER COURSE. Resubmitting previous work, in whole or in part, for a current assignment without the consent of the current instructor(s).

5. FABRICATION. Misrepresenting, mishandling, or falsifying information in an academic exercise. For example, creating false information for a bibliography, inventing data for a laboratory assignment, or representing a quotation from a secondary source (such as a book review or a textbook) as if it were a primary source.

6. FACILITATING ACADEMIC DISHONESTY. Helping another student commit an act of academic dishonesty.

7. VIOLATION OF TESTING CONDITIONS. Looking at other students’ answers, allowing other students to look at your test, and working past allotted time are just a few examples where test conditions may be considered to be violated.

8. LYING. Lying is the making of a statement that one knows to be false with the intent to deceive. It includes actions such as (a) lying to faculty, administrators, or staff, and (b) lying to a member of the Honor Council.

9. FAILURE TO REPORT AN HONOR CODE VIOLATION. Failure to report occurs when a student has knowledge of or is witness to an act in violation of the Academic Honor Code and does not report it within ten class days.

Reporting a Violation

Because academic integrity is fundamental to the pursuit of knowledge and truth and is the heart of the academic life of Rollins College, it is the responsibility of all members of the College community to practice it and to report apparent violations. All students, faculty, and staff are required to report violations in writing to the Academic Honor Council for disposition. Referrals will be made through the Dean of the Faculty’s office.

1. If a faculty member has reason to believe that a violation of the Academic Honor Code has occurred, he/she may have an initial meeting with the student to determine if a violation has occurred. If the faculty member believes that a violation has occurred he/she is required to report it. This initial meeting is to clarify if a violation has occurred and not to determine if a known violation is to be reported.

2. If a student has reason to believe that a violation of academic integrity has occurred, he/she is required to report it to the Academic Honor Council. The student that has witnessed a violation can, but is not required to, encourage the student suspected of the violation to self-report. If the student refuses to self-report, then the student that witnessed the violation must report it to the Academic Honor Council.

3. Staff members that believe they have witnessed a violation must refer the case to the Honor Council for disposition. Complaints must be made in writing and filed through the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. These complaints are then forwarded to the Academic Honor Council. Allegations must be submitted in writing within ten days of the discovery of the alleged violation. Complaints against graduating seniors must be submitted by the date senior grades are due to allow time for an investigation before graduation. The complaint should indicate all relevant details, including names of witnesses and must be signed. Submissions may also be made online.

Disposition of Cases

Reports of violations may be resolved through Self-Referral, or by informal or formal Resolution through the Academic Honor Council. It is possible to consider Academic Honor Code charges other than those listed in the referral that are based upon the facts of the case. A student accused of an honor violation may not withdraw or exercise the late credit/no credit option from the applicable course once the referral has been made. Any pending or emerging honor code violation will be adjudicated to its completion regardless of whether the student remains in good standing, has withdrawn, is on leave, suspended or dismissed from the College.

Self-Referral

Students who commit acts of academic dishonesty may demonstrate their renewed commitment to academic integrity by reporting themselves in writing to the Chair of the Honor Council before someone else has reported the violation. Students may not exercise the self-referral option more than once during their enrollment at the College.

1. If a student self-reports, then the student will not be charged with academic dishonesty. Instead, the Academic Honor Council will notify the Dean of the Faculty or a designee and the faculty member involved. The Dean or designee shall then convene a conference between the student and the faculty member. The purpose of this conference will be to ensure that the self-referral provisions of this Code are followed and to levy a sanction. The Dean (or designee) will notify the Academic Honor Council in writing of the outcome of the conference.

2. In all cases where a student self-reports, the student will be required to successfully complete the non-credit integrity seminar offered by the Academic Honor Council. The faculty member has the discretion to reduce the student’s grade for the academic exercise, failing grade on the assignment, a zero on the assignment, a grade reduction in the course in which in violation occurred, or a failing grade in the course. The “HF” designation, however, will not apply. The student will be placed on Academic Honors Probation.

Resolution Through Academic Honor Council

The Academic Honor Council investigates and adjudicates reported cases not resolved through self-referral.

1. Purpose of the Academic Honor Council. The Academic Honor Council hears cases of academic honor code violations, determines responsibility, and assigns academic penalties. The Academic Honor Council provides opportunities for student, faculty, and staff service. Faculty participation in the process is crucial for historical consistency and guidance, and the faculty will designate two advisors to the Academic Honor Council. An additional role of the Academic Honor Council is to educate the Rollins College community about the honor system.

2. Membership. The Academic Honor Council shall consist of fourteen student members who shall be selected through an application process administered by the Dean of the Faculty’s Office. The Dean of the Faculty [screens applicants for minimal GPA and conduct infractions and] forwards qualified applicants to the Student Government Association (SGA), which reviews the essays and recommends acceptable applicants to the Dean of the Faculty. In the event that there are more applicants than positions, the Academic Honor Council will conduct interviews and make recommendations to the Dean of the Faculty.

Applicants submit a written application that includes a personal statement explaining why they believe academic integrity is important and why peer review is essential. In this application, students should explain any conduct infractions for which they may have been held responsible, and why such events, if any, should not remove them from consideration for the Academic Honor Council. All full-time College of Liberal Arts students are eligible. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required and the student cannot be or at any time have been on academic, disciplinary or community probation.

The term of office is one year. A member may serve no more than two terms. Members who seek a second term must follow the application process. Students shall be removed from the Academic Honor Council if they are found to be in violation of the Academic Honor Code, or if they have been placed on academic, disciplinary, community, or resident hall probation. The Academic Honor Council will hold a required training session for members and advisors. This will be conducted to the end of the spring term. At that time, officers will be elected.

3. Officers. There shall be a Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary. These three officers, and the staff advisor, shall comprise the Executive Committee. The Chair must have served for one year on the Academic Honor Council (except during the transition year of this policy). The Chair shall preside over Academic Honor Council meetings and shall decide questions of procedure and interpretation. The decision of the Chair is subject to veto of two-thirds of the Academic Honor Council members. The Vice Chair serves as chair in the absence of the Chair. The Secretary shall keep a taped recording of all meetings, a record of findings and a brief summary of the facts of the case and penalties imposed. Both the Vice Chair and Secretary shall participate in discussions and shall be voting members of the Council. All communication to an accused student will come from the Academic Honor Council Chair, supported by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. Annually, the Chair shall prepare a report of the activities of the Academic Honor Council and submit the report to the Academic Affairs Committee.

4. Faculty and Staff Advisors. The Faculty Executive Committee shall appoint two faculty advisors to the Academic Honor Council. They shall serve two-year terms, staggered if possible. The primary role of the faculty advisors is to participate in training of the Academic Honor Council members and to assist members of that Council in understanding and interpreting the application of the Honor Code as it pertains to academic exercises. Additionally, a designee appointed by the Dean of the Faculty will serve as a staff advisor, assisting in recruitment, selection and training of the members of the Academic Honor Council, and advising on issues of procedure.

Informal Resolution of Possible Violations

If a student does not self-refer before a violation has been reported, then he/she may resolve allegations of Honor Code violations through an informal resolution process.

1. If the Executive Committee of the Academic Honor Council determines, after a preliminary investigation, that a report of academic dishonesty is supported by reasonable cause, it will inform the accused student in writing of the charges, and shall offer him/her an opportunity for an informal meeting with the AHC board to review the case. The AHC informal hearing board will be comprised of at least one member of the executive board serving as chair and two at-large members from the Academic Honor Council. The staff advisor must be present at this meeting. The Executive Committee shall also provide the accused student with a copy of this Code and a statement of procedural rights approved by the Academic Honor Council. The accused student is entitled to select a Rollins College student, faculty, or staff advisor. The advisor may accompany the accused student to the informal meeting and may consult with the accused student prior to or during the course of the meeting. The role of the advisor in this meeting is limited to making sure that the accused student understands his procedural rights and responsibilities. The advisor may not question or challenge the nature of the evidence that led to the charges. If the student cannot select an advisor, the Council will appoint one in advance of the informal meeting.

  • a. The student pleads not responsible and requests a full review of the case that may lead to a formal hearing (see section on Formal Resolution).
  • b. The student acknowledges responsibility for committing a violation of the code and accepts the standard “HF” sanction.
  • c. The student accepts responsibility, but requests a review for purposes of sanctioning only.

2. If the accused student selects option c. and has no prior record of academic dishonesty or serious disciplinary misconduct, the Executive Committee of the Council and the student, in consultation with the faculty member of the course, may reach an agreement concerning how the case should be resolved. The Council may impose grade penalties including a failing grade on the assignment, a grade reduction in the course in which the violation occurred, or a failing grade in the course. If the student receives a failing grade in the course as part of the sanction, it will be noted on the transcript as an HF (Honors Failure). Students found responsible for a violation of the Academic Honor Code are also placed on Academic Honors Probation and required to participate in and successfully complete an ethical principles seminar.

3. A written statement signed by the student and the Council must support any sanction agreed upon by the student and the Council. The Academic Honor Council shall inform both the student and the Dean of the Faculty of the sanction imposed.

Formal Resolution of Possible Violations

If a student pleads not responsible at his/her informal review, then he/she may resolve allegations of Honor Code violations through a formal resolution process.

1. The Investigation.

a. The Executive Committee shall appoint two Investigators from members of the Academic Honor Council for each reported violation. The appointments as Investigator shall be made on a rotating basis among the members of the council, except for the Chair. In addition to the investigators, the Executive Committee shall appoint five additional members of the council to be voting members at a particular hearing. In this way, all Academic Honor Council members, excluding the Chair, will be given the responsibility to be an Investigator or a voting member at a formal hearing.

b. Investigators will interview all accused students and witnesses and assemble all pertinent documents. Honor investigators should interview all witnesses together. It is the accused student’s responsibility to fully cooperate with the investigators.

c. Both Investigators review the case with the Academic Honor Council Chair in order to determine if there is sufficient evidence to recommend that a formal hearing be held. If it is determined that there is insufficient evidence of a violation, then the Chair will write a letter of clarification to the accused student and the case is dropped.

2. The Hearing.

a. If a formal hearing is required, then the Chair of the Academic Honor Council shall notify the student in writing of the possible times available to the Academic Honor Council to hold the formal hearing. The Chair will contact the accused student to explain the charges and the student’s rights, obtain a plea to the charges, and discuss all aspects of the process. If the accused student needs and requests support and assistance in preparing for the hearing, the Chair will arrange for that assistance, within reason.

b. Names of witnesses listed in the report will be edited out for confidentiality reasons and their testimony made available to the accused. All parties must understand that the investigation is confidential and its details, findings, and conclusions may not be released. Retaliation against witnesses as a consequence of statements they may make will be considered as a possible violation of the Code of Students’ Rights and Responsibilities.

c. The Chair schedules a timely hearing and again, notifies the student of the time and place of the hearing. The accused student is expected to be present during the hearing. The accused student may also bring witnesses to the hearing. If the student chooses not to attend, the hearing will still be held, and the student’s absence shall not invalidate the results of the hearing nor be in itself a reason to challenge the results of the hearing.

d. The order of the proceedings in a hearing shall be as follows:

  • i. Presentation of the charge.
  • ii. Request for a plea.
  • iii. Presentation of evidence by Investigators.
  • iv. Opportunity for a response by the accused student.
  • v. Closed deliberations by the Council.

e. The Academic Honor Council shall conduct hearings according to the following guidelines:

  • i. Hearings will be conducted in private subject to the list of attendees noted below.
  • ii. Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the Academic Honor Council Chair, with advice, if needed, from the Council’s Advisors.
  • iii. The accused student is entitled to select a Rollins College student, faculty, or staff advisor to assist in preparation for the hearing. The advisor may accompany the accused student to the hearing and may consult with the accused student prior to or during the course of the hearing, but may not address the Chair or the Academic Honor Council.
  • iv. Persons to be present at hearings include the Academic Honor Council Chair, five members of the council, two investigators, advisors, the accused student, the accused student's advisor, and witnesses relevant to the case. The presence of all the appointed members of the council is required to hold a meeting. Relevant witnesses shall be present only during their own testimony, subject to questions from the Academic Honor Council; however, they may be required to remain available for the duration of the hearing. The witness making the accusation is not required to be present at the same time as the accused. The accused student does not have the right to cross-examine witnesses, unless permission is granted by the Chair.
  • v. The Academic Honor Council, at the discretion of the Chair, may accept pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements as evidence for consideration. However, formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as are applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in Academic Honor Code proceedings. The accused student does not have the right to have an attorney present in Academic Honor Code proceedings.
  • vi. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Academic Honor Council Chair. After the hearing, the Council shall determine by at least a four to one vote whether the student has violated the Academic Honor Code. If two or more voting members dissent, the accused shall be found not responsible.
  • vii. The chair of the Council is a non-voting member.
  • viii. The Academic Honor Council’s determination of whether the student violated the Honor Code shall be based solely on the standard of whether there is clear and convincing evidence that the accused student violated the Academic Honor Code.
  • ix. The staff advisor and at least one faculty advisor to the Academic Honor Council must be present at all meetings.

f. There shall be a single verbatim record, such as a tape recording or equivalent, of all hearings. The record will not include deliberations and will be used only for the appellate process. The record shall be the property of the College and destroyed seven (7) years after graduation or date of last attendance.

g. Any hearing may be postponed, recessed, or continued at the discretion of the Academic Honor Council Chair.

3. The Findings.

a. If the student is found not in violation of the Academic Honor Code, a letter will be written from the Chair to the student and faculty member informing them of the decision of the Academic Honor Council.

b. No finding of violation or setting of penalties may be based solely on the student’s failure to appear at the hearing.

c. If a violation of the Code is found, the Academic Honor Council will impose each of the following sanctions:

  • i. The minimum penalty for a finding of responsibility by the Academic Honor Council is a grade of HF in the course; and
  • ii. Required participation in and successful completion of an ethical principles seminar; and
  • iii. Academic Honor Code Probation until graduation.

d. The finding and sanction (if applicable) will be communicated in writing to the student and the faculty member of the course in which the incident took place.

Sanctioning Guidelines

Depending on the nature of the violation and any extenuating circumstances, one or more of the following penalties will be imposed:

1. Any student who is found guilty of an Honor Code violation shall automatically be placed on Honor Probation. Probation remains in effect until graduation.

2. Any student who is found guilty of an Honor Code violation shall have a written letter of reprimand placed in his/her permanent file that censures the inappropriate action in writing.

3. Upon a finding of responsibility, the Academic Honor Council shall impose the following sanctions:

  • a. Grade Penalty The minimum penalty shall be a failure in the course, recorded as an Honors Failure (HF), and provide a recommendation to the Dean of Faculty regarding (b) Suspension, or (c) Dismissal.
  • b. Suspension Suspension may be any period of time through three years and is an appropriate sanction for intentional dishonesty, even on the first offense and is a recommended penalty for the second offense. A student may not receive credit for work taken at another institution during the period of the suspension.
  • c. Dismissal This is an appropriate sanction for intentional dishonesty on a second offense and is recommended for a third offense.

4. Students found responsible for failure to report an academic honor violation shall at a minimum be placed on Academic Honors Probation and shall be required to attend the ethics seminar.

Appeal Procedures

A written appeal from a finding of guilt of the Academic Honor Council may be made to the Dean of the Faculty within 10 class days of the decision. Only findings of responsibility by the council can be appealed.

1. Prior to an appeal, if the student believes that there is new evidence or relevant facts that were not brought out in the original hearing and that may be sufficient to alter the original finding, the student may make a request that this information be considered. The student must make such a request in writing to the Academic Honor Council Chair by the date designated in the sanction letter. If the purported new evidence or relevant facts are deemed by the Chair to be substantial enough to potentially change the Council’s decision, the matter will be returned to the Academic Honor Council for reconsideration.

2. If a student is found to have violated the Academic Honor Code by the Academic Honor Council and the student believes the finding was prejudicial or biased, the student may appeal. Appeals must be made in writing to the Dean of the Faculty by the designated date in the sanction letter. The Dean will provide the Academic Honor Appeals Committee with the written appeal. In making the appeal, the student must furnish evidence that there was procedural misconduct by the Academic Honor Council that was prejudicial to the accused student.

3. The Academic Honor Appeals Committee is comprised of the Dean of the Faculty, the Chair of the Academic Honor Council and the Faculty Advisor to the Honor Council not present at the hearing. The Academic Honor Appeals Committee will meet to determine if grounds for appeal exists. The review will be limited to the verbatim record of the Informal and Formal hearing, supporting documents, and the written appeal. New evidence or other relevant facts not part of the original hearing will not be considered.

4. The accused student will be notified in a timely fashion of the Academic Honor Appeals Committee’s determination. Decisions of the Academic Honor Appeals Committee are final.

5. If a student elects to file an appeal, pending a decision from the Academic Honor Appeals Committee, the student may continue to attend all courses and participate in College life as usual. However, until a case has been completely resolved (hearing, all appeals, etc.) the student may not graduate from the college. Similarly, a student who has received sanctions must complete any requirements of those sanctions prior to graduation.

6. A student with an “HF” and no other record of academic dishonesty may request, no earlier than one semester before graduation and no later than one academic year after graduation, that the Academic Honor Appeals Committee remove the “H” from the “HF” so that the transcript does not reflect in perpetuity that the failing grade was the result of a case of academic dishonesty. Seniors that receive an “HF” can make a similar appeal no more than one academic year after graduation.

Impeachment Procedures

If any officer or member of the Academic Honor Council is accused of failure to discharge the duties of the office, the Council sitting as a board of impeachment shall hear the accusation. A quorum of two-thirds, excluding the accused, is required for a valid hearing. A majority vote of those present and voting, excluding the accused, is required to uphold the impeachment charge. The chair shall vote with the Council members. Proceedings in such cases shall be initiated by a petition from three members of the Council or by a petition signed by five members of the student body.

Amendment Procedures

The Academic Honor Code may be amended in the following manner:

1. Proposed amendments may come from the Student Government Association, the faculty governance system or the Dean of the Faculty.

2. Amendments are submitted to the Executive Committee of the Faculty. The Executive Committee will then forward the proposed amendment to the body or bodies that did not submit the amendment for approval.

3. Once approved by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Student Government Association, the proposed amendment will become part of the Academic Honor Code.

Miscellaneous Guidelines

Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty Members

1. The faculty member in whose course the infraction may have occurred may appeal the finding of the Council to the Academic Honor Appeals Committee.

2. It is a faculty member’s responsibility to be clear about which assignments are collaborative and which are not. A faculty member may wish to include a “collaborative statement” on an assigned work that requires students to identify the names of other collaborators. A sample statement could read “I worked on this assignment with _____ and received help from ____.”

3. It is the instructor’s discretion whether to proctor an exam. Unproctored exams shall be optional but are highly encouraged.

4. ALL complaints in regards to the Academic Honor Council go to the Dean of the Faculty’s Office and will be reviewed by the Academic Honor Council Appeals Committee.

Student Organization “Test Files” The keeping of unauthorized tests, papers, and other assignments belonging to former students violates the spirit of academic integrity. Organizations keeping unauthorized files must dispose of those files. Organizations who retain these unauthorized files will be cited as a judicial violation, subject to The Code of Students’ Rights and Responsibilities. This does not preclude the keeping of tests, papers, and other assignments when specifically authorized by the instructor.

Assessment. Implementation will begin in fall 2006. Annual reports will be submitted to the Dean of the Faculty and to the Academic Affairs Committee so that this process may be assessed and changes implemented. The Academic Affairs Committee will request a periodic review at least once every five years. The review committee will consist of two faculty members appointed by the Dean of the Faculty, two students appointed by the Dean of Faculty, and one member of the administration.

Education

This honor system, like any honor system, works only to the extent that participants understand and embrace the values and process by which these values are upheld and celebrated.

To this end, it is the responsibility of all members of the academic community to educate new members of the community about the honor system. There should be agreement amongst all members that an honor system is critical to the educational process, to the institution’s mission, and to student’s personal and academic success.

Although not exhaustive, the following are some of the ways in which the College community can learn about (and embrace) the honors system:

1. Presentation to all first year students through the RCC. The Honor Council could provide a common orientation, followed by in class discussions with Peer Mentors and faculty.

2. Peer Mentors, Residential Assistants, and Student Government Association members incorporate a training block as part of their preparation.

3. An on-line web site will be developed with links, expanded details, and descriptions of academic integrity concepts. Specific examples may be cited.

4. Peer education is highly effective, and all efforts should be made to encourage peer education (through the Honor Council).

5. Each faculty member should address the issue of academic integrity not only in the syllabus, but also in class throughout the term.

Acknowledgments

This policy is adapted, with permission, from the University of Maryland, the University of Richmond, and Washington and Lee University. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of many other schools including Trinity University (TX), Birmingham Southern College, James Madison University, Wheaton College, Gettysburg College, Vanderbilt University, Rhodes College, St. Olaf College, University of Miami, Davidson College, Emory University, University of Denver, Valparaiso University and Bucknell University.