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Honor Code FAQs & Violation Reports

The Honor Council is always available to speak with law students and address any questions about the School of Law’s Honor Code and Disciplinary Procedures. Below you will find a compiled list of some of the questions most frequently asked by students as well as the annual Honor Code Violation Report. Please contact the Honor Council if you have additional questions.

Honor Code & Disciplinary Procedures FAQs

What is the Honor Code?

The general purpose of the Honor Code is to maintain the integrity of the School of Law, and prepare students for the standards of personal character and integrity expected of those in the legal profession. The Honor Code can be found in Section VII of the Student Handbook.

Who should I contact with questions about the Honor Code or Honor Code violations?

If you have a reasonable belief that a violation of the Honor Code has been committed by yourself or another student, please report this information to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

General questions regarding the Honor Code and related policies can be directed to instructor in the affected academic program or any Honor Council Member.

When does the Honor Code apply?

The Honor Code applies to the conduct of every student while enrolled at the School of Law, regardless of where the conduct occurs. Violations of the Honor Code can be prosecuted even if the conduct is discovered after the student has graduated. The Honor Code also applies to statements or representations made to employers and potential employers or in connection to a student’s application for admission to the School of Law.

What type of conduct violates the Honor Code?

The Honor Code’s rules for student conduct can be found in Section 2 of the Honor Code: A student shall not lie, cheat, plagiarize, or commit any criminal act.

Student duties under the Honor Code are included in Section 3: A student has the duty to report violations and to cooperate fully with investigations and hearings.

When am I required to report an Honor Code violation?

Students are required under Section 3 of the Honor Code to report to an Instructor or to the Dean of Academic Affairs when they have a reasonable belief that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred. Reasonable belief exists when facts and circumstances would lead a reasonable law student to understand that a violation likely occurred.

Will my name be disclosed if I report an Honor Code violation?

Students may remain anonymous at the reporting stage, if they so choose. However, a reporting student may be called as a witness to testify if the matter proceeds to a Violations Hearing.

What is considered “unauthorized assistance” or “unauthorized materials”?

Under the Honor Code, cheating includes, but is not limited to, giving or receiving unauthorized assistance as well as providing or using unauthorized materials. These terms encompass any conduct that a reasonable law student would believe is an unfair or prohibited advantage. Generally, “unauthorized assistance” involves any contribution to another student’s assignment that is not expressly a group project, whether that assistance comes from a law student or a person unconnected to the law school such as a friend or relative. Additionally, “unauthorized materials” is an intentionally broad term and encompasses any materials, such as another student’s work or an internet database, used in the completion of graded work that are not expressly authorized by the Professor.

In general, it is permissible to use student-made or commercial outlines for purposes of studying, although they may not be used for most open-note exams. Be sure to check with your professors’ specific rules. 

What happens if I am accused of an Honor Code violation?

When the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs receives information indicating a violation has likely occurred, she will appoint an Investigator to interview witnesses and gather more information. Accused students will be notified of the allegations at this point. If, following the investigation, the Dean determines that a violation may have occurred, a Violations Hearing Panel—consisting of three Faculty members and two Honor Council Members—will be called to hear the case and decide by majority vote whether a violation has occurred. If the Panel concludes that a violation has occurred, the Panel will reconvene to determine the appropriate sanction in light of mitigating and aggravating factors. The hearing is confidential and closed unless the accused student requests an open hearing. 

What happens if I admit to an Honor Code violation?

Admissions of Honor Code violations may proceed to a Sanctions Hearing at the Dean’s discretion. Subsequently, the Hearing Panel determines the appropriate sanction considering mitigating and aggravating factors. At the Associate Dean for Academic Affair’s judgement, an investigation may be conducted prior to the Sanctions Hearing to gather pertinent facts. 

Are Honor Code violations kept confidential?

Honor Code violations are published at least once per academic year. However, the published information will not reveal the name of the involved student or disclose any identifying information. 

What are the sanctions for an Honor Code violation?

Sanctions for Honor Code violations are listed in Section 9 of the Disciplinary Procedures and range from an oral reprimand to permanent expulsion from the School of Law. Sanctions are recorded and maintained in the Law Registrar’s Office and reported to the University Office of Student Conduct.

Can I appeal a Violation or Sanction Hearing Panel’s decision? 

Students may appeal the decision made by the Hearing Panel under certain circumstances. Section 10 of the Disciplinary Procedures sets forth the grounds and process for initiating an appeal. 

Honor Council FAQs 

What is the Honor Council?

The Honor Council is composed of law students from each class elected by the student body. Honor Council Members serve the law student community by answering questions about the Honor Code & Disciplinary Procedures, Honor Code violations, and other related issues; sitting on the Hearing Panels for Violation and Sanction Hearings; educating the student body, especially during the 1L Orientation; and acting as liaisons to the law students. 

Who are the Honor Council Representatives?

The following students serve as the Honor Council Representatives for the 2022–2023 Academic Year:

What is the Honor Council’s confidentiality policy?

Honor Council Members are held to strict confidentiality standards regarding any information learned through their role on the Honor Council, and all Members renew their confidentiality pledge every semester. However, Honor Council Members are bound—as are all students—to report Honor Code violations to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. 

Annual Honor Code Violation Reports

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