Millersville University, Faculty Senate

Attachment C
Faculty Senate Minutes
April 16, 2002

The Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Honor Code Committee Recommendation on the Development of an Honor
Code at Millersville University

The Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Honor Code Committee (HCC) was created in late spring 2000 with the charge of determining the feasibility and advisability of introducing an honor code system at Millersville University (MU). A report of the findings was to be presented to faculty senate no later than spring 2002, and was to include a recommendation on the development of an MU honor code and any associated policy elements. This document serves these functions, and reports the findings of the two-year study of the HCC on how best to address academic integrity at MU.

Since its initiation, the HCC has encouraged the campus to consider how the university community might best address academic integrity. Toward this end, the HCC has conducted a faculty forum on options toward academic integrity, surveyed both students and faculty, and organized a convocation centered around issues of academic integrity. Using the feedback from these initiatives, and the existent literature and resources on college academic integrity, the HCC finds:

  1. The introduction of a new honor system to an already-existing institution of higher education is feasible, and would be feasible at Millersville University. Elements of honor systems have been successfully introduced to a number of schools in recent years, including University of Maryland at College Park, University of Tennessee, University of Georgia, University of Minnesota, and Kansas State University.1 Kansas State, like many other colleges, supports their newly instituted honor code system with a well-developed web site which allows students and faculty to quickly and easily access all information related to the program online. The success of this program may be partially assessed by viewing the extensive web site (

    We believe an honor system would work for MU. However, institution of such a program should not be taken lightly and needs substantial support and commitment from the faculty, administration, and students. The HCC believes, given adequate campus commitment, resources, and training, the MU community could effectively develop and institute an honor system.

  2. The implementation of an honor code system at MU is advisable. Specifically, the HCC recommends development of an honor code system which has the following key elements:
    1. required signing of the MU Honor Pledge upon admission to the university and/or at new student orientation,
    2. signing of an academic honesty statement on submitted course work at the option of the course instructor,
    3. required reporting by faculty and staff of alleged violations of the honor code, and optional reporting by students of alleged violations,
    4. a judiciary composed of both students and faculty for adjudication of alleged student dishonesty, and
    5. the creation of an Honor Council, consisting of both students and faculty, which would among other things promote a culture of academic integrity on campus through education, motivational programs, and a system of sanctions for violations of academic honesty.

Full details of the proposed program are outlined in the attached Proposed Millersville University Honor System Constitution and By-Laws.

The HCC believes that the benefits of an Honor Code system would be substantial and sustained for the following reasons:

  1. Significantly fewer cases of cheating are believed to occur on campuses with honor codes2,3, probably because of the culture of mutual trust and respect that develops between faculty and students4,5, and the clarification of expectations and definitions of cheating behaviors. It therefore becomes less easy for the student to rationalize cheating behaviors3.
  2. Greater consistency in addressing cases of academic dishonesty is likely to occur.
  3. Students commonly take considerable pride in their code schools, and find a sense of prestige in having attended such an institution.
  4. Having served on the student judiciary often advances career opportunities for students.
  5. Honor code schools are highly respected by the local community, academia, and potential employers. Such prestige may be attractive to high-achieving prospective students.
  6. Moral norms are more likely to operate within an honor code structure3. Furthermore, learned values may be carried away with students when they leave the university.
  7. The greater discussion and awareness of the value of academic integrity promoted by the honor system supports key elements of General Education Objective 16: Personal, Ethical, and Civic Values and Decision-making.
  8. The honor code system is consistent with that part of the university mission statement designed to "foster the examination, development and understanding of personal values and appreciation of values of others." The Honor Code System embodies MU community values and provides a means to foster them in our students.

Key to the success of any campus integrity program is the promotion of a culture of academic integrity which clearly and frequently communicates the value of and requirements for achieving academic honesty. This culture is promoted by 1) establishing clear guidelines toward academic integrity with frequent encouragement to know the rules, 2) providing an atmosphere which inspires students to value and practice academic honesty, 3) initiating open university dialog on honesty issues, 4) encouraging high student involvement in the integrity program, and 5) carefully monitoring dishonesty and taking offenses very seriously.6 Recognizing this need, the HCC recommends establishment of an MU Honor Council. This committee would function to oversee the honor system, promote education on academic integrity, and develop and maintain the culture of academic integrity that is so integral to the success of integrity programs.

This document has outlined the ingredients the HCC believes are necessary for a successful academic integrity program at MU. These include the use of honor pledges, clear guidelines on how to achieve academic honesty, an active student role in the educational function of the Honor Council, and strong sanctions for violations of the honor code. Given the needed resources and campus commitment, the HCC is confident the proposed MU honor system can truly enhance the educational experience of our students.


1 D. McCabe and G. Pavela. 2000. Some Good News about Academic Integrity. Change. September/October: 32-38.

2Bowers, W.J. 1964. Student dishonesty and its control in college.New York Bureau of Applied Social Research, Columbia University.

3McCabe, D.L., and Trevino, L.K. 1993. Academic dishonesty: Honor codes and other contextual influences. Journal of Higher Education. 64: 522-538.

4McCabe, D.L. and Drinan, P.F. 1999. Toward a culture of academic integrity. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 46(8,Oct. 15):B7.

5Lowry, J.D. 1996. Communities of trust: A recent graduate's experience with honor codes. Journal of College Science Teaching 26(1): 6.

6McCabe, D.L., Trevino, L.K., and Butterfield K.D. 1999. Academic integrity in honor code and non-honor code environments. The Journal of Higher Education. 70(2): 211-234.

Proposed Millersville University Honor System Constitution


  1. The Honor System is designed to promote an environment of academic honesty at Millersville University by 1) educating the academic community on the value of academic integrity, and means by which it may be achieved, and 2) providing timely adjudication for alleged violations of the honor code.

  2. The Honor Code and Pledge are designed to reaffirm and foster the value of integrity within the community. Upon acceptance to the university, all students will sign the following:

      Honor Code:
      The University is an academic community dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge in a supportive academic climate of mutual respect, integrity, and high ethical standards. To this end, the Millersville University Honor Code is designed to promote an environment of ethical conduct, the foundation of which includes the pursuit of academic honesty and integrity. Through an atmosphere of mutual respect we enhance the value of our education and strive for the highest standard of academic excellence. Members of the University community, including students, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees, must not commit any misrepresentation or deception in academic or professional matters.

      As an incoming student to Millersville University of Pennsylvania, I pledge to support the university in its efforts to maintain an academic community founded in honesty and integrity. As such, I understand and agree to abide by the Academic Honesty Policy as defined in the Academic Honesty and Dishonesty at Millersville University brochure, as well as the principles of the Millersville Honor Code, in all my academic endeavors.

  3. The Honor Statement provides further reinforcement of the values of the Millersville University Community. Teaching faculty may require the following signed statement on student assignments, papers, and/or exams:

    On my honor, I have neither plagiarized in any form, nor given or received unauthorized aid in this academic work.

    The Honor Statement is implied for all academic work whether or not the instructor requires the written statement on the work.

  4. Violations of the Honor Code include plagiarism, fabrication, cheating, and/or academic misconduct as defined in the Academic Honesty and Dishonesty at Millersville University brochure.

  5. The MU Honor Council is responsible for overseeing the MU Honor System; coordinating and conducting hearings with the Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services; and providing counsel and support to faculty reporting, and students charged with, academic integrity violations. The Honor Council is also responsible for developing/coordinating educational activities on campus related to academic integrity, and for appointing judicial members to the Honor Court.

  6. The MU Honor Court, with the Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services, adjudicates alleged student violations of the Honor Code, and imposes sanctions in appropriate cases. The Honor Court consists of student and faculty Honor Council members who are appointed by the Honor Council Chair at the time of each hearing. The composition of the Honor Court may change from case to case.

  7. Academic dishonesty and plagiarism by faculty is specifically prohibited under Section 5 of the MU Governance Manual. The SSHE Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits alleged cases of faculty academic dishonesty from being adjudicated by faculty and students. Thus, alleged cases of faculty academic dishonesty should be addressed by notifying the appropriate school dean, the provost, or the university president.

  8. The Student Honor Education and Activities Council (SHEAC) consists of the student members of the Honor Council, and other interested students, who carry out campus educational activities on academic integrity.


  1. The Honor Council includes two faculty members from each of the three schools: Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Science and Mathematics; and one non-school faculty member. The Honor Council also includes at least eight student members. A chair oversees the operation of the Honor Council, and 3 student counselors coordinate administrative, educational, and administrative functions.

  2. Selection of Student Members

    1. Student nominees must have completed 24 semester hours at Millersville University, be in good academic standing and be enrolled with a minimum of 6 credit hours.
    2. At the start of each academic year, students interested in serving on the honor council apply for membership to the Student Senate.
    3. Student Senate elects 8 - 12 Honor Council members and forwards the names to the Honor Council.

  3. Selection of Faculty Members

    1. Faculty are elected in the faculty senate elections at the start of the academic year.

  4. Selection of Chair and Vice Chair

    1. The Chair is elected by majority vote from among the faculty membership of Honor Code Committee at the start of the academic year in which the former Chair's position ends.
    2. The Vice Chair is elected by majority vote from among the faculty membership of Honor Code Committee at the start of the academic year in which the former vice chair's position ends.

  5. Selection of Student Counselors

    1. Student Counselors are elected by majority vote from among the student membership of the Honor Code Committee at the start of the academic year in which the former counselor's positions ends.


  1. Two faculty and three student members of the Honor Council are appointed by the Honor Council Chair to the Honor Court for each alleged violation that is tried.

  2. The Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services shall preside over hearings.


  1. Attend scheduled meetings of the Honor Council.

  2. Serve in one of the student, special-duties positions, as called: Community Education Counselor, Administrative Counselor, Hearings Counselor.

  3. Teach and advance the MU Honor System.

  4. Advise faculty and students reporting/charged with academic honesty violations.

  5. Serve as judging members on the Honor Court.

  6. Participate in a training process that is coordinated by the Honor Council chair.


  1. The COMMUNITY EDUCATION COUNSELOR is responsible for developing educational programs that encourage academic integrity at Millersville University, and educating the Millersville community about the Honor Code.

  2. The ADMINISTRATIVE COUNSELOR is responsible for compiling annual statistics on cases and hearings related to the Honor Code at Millersville University.

  3. The HEARINGS COUNSELOR is responsible for coordinating and scheduling hearings on alleged violations of the Honor Code.



  1. Schedule and preside over meetings of the Honor Council.
  2. Receive alleged violations of the Honor System.
  3. Select members of Honor Court as necessary for hearings.
  4. Review Honor System policies and report annually to the Associate Provost.
  5. Serve as an ex-officio member of the Honor Council.
  6. Develop and conduct a training program for members of the Honor Council, and the incoming Chair.
  7. Supervise the various activities of the Honor Council.

Vice Chair

  1. Perform the duties of the Chair when the Chair is unable to do so.
  2. Maintain the records of all Honor Council proceedings.

Associate Provost

  1. Preside over hearings.
  2. Record findings of the hearing and appeal panels.


  1. Members' terms are two years. Initial appointments are divided equally between one-year and two-year terms.

  2. Members' terms begin at the start of the fall semester and end at the beginning of the fall semester of the final year of their appointment.

  3. If a member resigns or is removed from office, a replacement appointment for the remaining portion of the member's term will be made by the student senate or faculty senate, as appropriate.

  4. Removal from Honor Council

    1. A member of Honor Council may be removed from office by 2/3 vote of the Honor Council for reasons of misconduct, failure to perform duties, or improper execution of duties.
    2. The Honor Council Chair may be removed from office by action of the Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services for reasons of misconduct, failure to perform duties, or improper execution of duties.


  1. Students' rights are explained in the Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.


  1. Constitutional amendments may be recommended by any member of the faculty or student body at Millersville University.

  2. All amendments must be approved by 3/4 vote of the entire Honor Council body.

  3. All amendments are subject to approval by Faculty Senate and Student Senate.


  1. By-Law revisions must be approved by a 2/3 vote of the entire Honor Council body.



To administer the Millersville University Honor System.


  1. Any faculty or staff member who witnesses a violation is obligated to report the violation to the Honor Council within 5 school days of the incident. A reasonable effort should be made to inform the alleged violator of the allegation to allow the alleged violator the opportunity to self report the incident. A student is considered notified if a reasonable effort has been made to contact the student.

  2. Any student who witnesses a violation is strongly encouraged to report the violation either to the instructor of the class in which it was observed, or directly to the Honor Council. The student reporter may choose to remain anonymous, and is not required to confront the alleged violator. The student witness is encouraged but not required to testify before the Honor Court.

  3. If a violation is reported directly to the Honor Council, the Honor Council should inform both the course instructor and the alleged violator within 5 school days.

  4. Every effort should be made by the course instructor or a member of the Honor Council to meet with the alleged violator to discuss the allegation. During this meeting the following events should occur:

    1. The alleged violator should be informed of the nature of the allegation.
    2. The alleged violator should be presented with any evidence of the alleged violation.
    3. The alleged violator will be given the opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the alleged violation.
    4. The alleged violator will be informed of her/his right to contest the allegation in the Honor Court.
    5. The alleged violator must be informed of the availability of an Honor Council advisor to answer procedural questions relating to the allegations, honor court process, possible sanctions, and mechanisms for appeal. The advisor will appear with, but will not defend, the student in Honor Court.
    6. An academic honesty violation form must be completed at the instructor/student meeting describing the allegation, the evidence supporting the allegation, the instructor-recommended sanction(s) to be applied (if any), and any other information deemed relevant by the course instructor or Honor Council member. If further action is warranted, the instructor will check the 'further action warranted' box. The form should be signed by both the instructor or Honor Council member, and the alleged violator, and submitted to the Honor Council Chair.
    7. An instructor or Honor Council member may, after meeting with the alleged violator, decide that no further action is warranted. This decision may be based on lack of evidence or other circumstances which arise during the meeting with the alleged violator. In this case, the instructor or Honor Council member will check the 'no further action warranted' box on the violation form, and provide a reason for the decision. The form is then submitted to the Honor Council Chair.


  1. The collection of evidence to support an allegation of academic dishonesty will be the responsibility of the course instructor, who may request the assistance of the Honor Council.

  2. The evidence should consist of more than the allegation itself, and may contain copies of exams, reports or other relevant materials.


  1. Meetings of the Honor Court

    1. The Honor Court shall first meet within 30 calendar days after student notification of a suspected academic honesty violation to hear the charge of academic dishonesty and make a determination of whether a breach of academic honesty has occurred.
    2. All members of the Honor Court must be present when considering charges and sanctions. If a member cannot be present, a proxy must be designated by the Chair of the Honor Council. This proxy will be selected from the list of active Honor Council members.

  2. Membership

    1. The Honor Court, selected by the Chair of the Honor Council, shall be composed of two voting faculty members and three voting student members of the Honor Council.
    2. The Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services shall form the sixth non-voting member of the honor court, and shall preside over the hearing.

  3. Procedures of the Honor Court

    1. If the student, having been properly notified, fails to appear at trial, the honor court chooses whether to proceed in the student's absence.
    2. The investigators of a case may not serve on the Honor Court for that same case.
    3. Both the alleged violator and the instructor of the class in which the alleged violation occurred are expected to attend the hearing. The student reporter may attend the hearing, or, if choosing not to attend, may submit an anonymous written statement detailing evidence of the violation.
    4. The charge and associated facts of the case will be considered by the Honor Court, but the honor hearing is not a trial and therefore does not require formal rules of evidence associated with civil or criminal trial. The Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services will accept all evidence which reasonably appears to hold probative value in the conduct of the Honor Court's affairs. The review of facts will be non-adversarial.
    5. Only members of the Honor Court shall question participants and/or witnesses. Character references will not be allowed as part of the proceedings.
    6. If a student accused of a breach of academic honesty chooses to present an explanation for her/his actions, he/she must present this defense alone; the student may use optional counsel only in an advisory capacity.
    7. The evidence considered and a final vote regarding conviction by the Honor Court shall focus on whether a breach of academic honesty occurred and the seriousness of the act.
    8. A majority vote among the members of the Honor Court shall be required to reach a decision on the guilt of the alleged violator.
    9. The Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services shall inform the Honor Council Chair in writing of the final decision. The Honor Council Chair will then notify the alleged violator, instructor, and student reporter of the decision in writing.
    10. If a breach of academic honesty arises during the summer, that case shall be tabled until hearings resume in the fall.

  4. Honor Court Records

    1. The results of the hearing are recorded and kept as part of the permanent record.
    2. All records are confidential and subject to the provisions of the Family Rights and Privacy Act.


  1. Only the Honor Council can authorize and apply sanctions. If charges of academic dishonesty are upheld by the Honor Council, a sanction must be applied.

  2. In the absence of significant mitigating circumstances, the Honor Council should follow the recommendation for sanctions of the course instructor or Honor Council member who submits the Violation Form, given that the sanction is within the range of sanctions prescribed in Article V. Section 3.

  3. Schedule of Sanctions for Violations of Academic Dishonesty

    1. Class 1. The most serious breaches of academic honesty fall into this category, as well as any and all second or more offenses of any sort. Sanctions: 1) XF grade and suspension, or 2) XF grade and expulsion. The XF grade indicates that a student has failed a course due to academic dishonesty. Examples of violations include, but are not limited to:

      1. cheating on a test which involves premeditation and conspiracy of effort,
      2. taking a test for someone else, or permitting someone else to take a test or course in one's place,
      3. plagiarizing, where the majority of the submitted work was written or created by another,
      4. obtaining, stealing, buying, or sharing all or part of an unadministered exam,
      5. selling, or giving away all or part of an unadministered test.,
      6. bribing, or attempting to bribe any other person to obtain an unadministered test or any information about the test,
      7. buying, or otherwise acquiring, another's course paper and resubmitting it as one's own work, whether altered or not
      8. entering a building, office, or computer for the purpose of changing a grade in a grade book, on a test , or on other work for which a grade is given,
      9. changing, altering, or being an accessory to changing and/or altering a grade in a grade book, on a test, on a "Change of Grade" form, or other official academic University record which relates to grades, and
      10. entering a building, office, or computer for the purpose of obtaining an unadministered test.

    2. Class 2. These include other serious offenses for which strong sanctions are applied. Sanctions: 1) grade of XF in the course and disciplinary probation, or 2) grade of XF and suspension. Examples of violations include, but are not limited to:

      1. cheating on an exam which does not involve premeditation,
      2. copying from another's test or allowing another student to copy from your test, where no prior plans were made for such collaboration,
      3. submitting work for a class that was already submitted for another, when unauthorized,
      4. failing to cite information from the correct source,
      5. listing sources in a bibliography that were not used in the paper, and
      6. copying, or allowing one to copy, homework assignments that are to be submitted for credit.

  4. XF Grade Policy

    1. If the Honor Court sanctions a student with a course grade of XF, and this sanction is not appealed by the student, the Honor Council Chair notifies the Registrar to place a grade of XF for the applicable course on the student's academic record.
    2. Student appeals of the XF grade follow the procedure for all other appeals of academic dishonesty sanctions, as outlined in Article VI of the By-Laws. If the Appeals Board denies the right to another hearing, or another hearing is granted and the Honor Court decides to uphold the XF grade sanction, the Honor Council Chair notifies the Registrar to assign the XF grade to the student's academic record. If another hearing is granted and the Honor Court finds there was no violation of academic dishonesty, or assigns a different sanction, the Honor Council Chair notifies the Registrar to remove the academic hold on the student's academic record.
    3. If grades are due but an academic dishonesty hearing is still in progress, a grade of 'I' shall be applied to the course until the hearing process is complete.
    4. An XF grade shall maintain a quality point value of 0.0.
    5. The XF must stay permanent on the transcript for at least two years.
    6. After two years, a student may petition the Honor Council to exchange the XF for an F. The petition must be in written form and provide the reason for removal of the XF. Additionally, the petitioner must appear before the Honor Council to explain the request. If the student petitions and a majority of the Honor Council agrees to remove the XF, the Honor Council outlines conditions under which the XF is removed. The conditions may include serving on the Honor Council, serving in SHEAC, giving testimony of dishonesty during freshman orientation or other organized Honor Council events, and/or performing specific tasks aimed at increasing the education of the violator and/or campus on the value of academic integrity. When these conditions are met, the XF is removed entirely from the transcript, leaving no past evidence of the XF. A grade of F is recorded in its place.
    7. If a petition to change an XF grade to an F has been made and denied, another petition may not be made for another 4 years.
    8. If the student is/has been found guilty of an additional violation of academic honesty, either in the past or future, the XF remains. For cases where the XF was changed to an F and the student is later found guilty of an additional act of academic dishonesty, the XF grade is restored for the course. In these cases, the XF remains permanent. The student may not petition for an F in exchange for the XF in these cases.
    9. A student who has received an XF in a course and needs to pass the course for a requirement may retake the course. If the student passes the course, the requirement is met, but the course grade will remain as an XF.


  1. Filing an Appeal

    1. A student has the right to appeal the verdict and/or sanctions imposed during the initial hearing of the Honor Court on any of the following three grounds.
    2. A student may file one appeal based on availability of substantial new evidence. Substantial new evidence is defined as substantial evidence unavailable at the time of the initial hearing that is now available and has a direct bearing on the verdict. An appeal based on substantial new evidence must be filed within three months from the date of the Honor Court's initial decision.
    3. A student may file one appeal based on sufficient good cause. Sufficient good cause is defined as infringement on the rights of the accused student because of any irregularities in the conduct of the hearing process. Irregularities occur when the Honor Court fails to abide by the established procedures as detailed in this document. An appeal based on sufficient good cause must be filed within 10 school days of the initial decision of the Honor Court.
    4. The student may file one appeal of the sanctions on the grounds of disproportionate severity of the sanction. Disproportionate severity of a sanction refers to the excessive severity of a particular sanction compared to the severity of the act for which it was applied. An appeal based on disproportionate severity must be filed within 10 school days of the initial decision of the Honor Court.
    5. Appeal requests must be submitted in writing to the Chair of the Honor Council. The written request must clearly state the grounds for appeal, and fully describe the new evidence, irregularities that occurred in the initial hearing of the Honor Court, and/or reason supporting disproportionate severity of the sanction. This written request shall serve as the primary basis for granting or denying a request for a new hearing.
    6. The student may appeal on up to three grounds, but generally all the grounds shall be considered together in one hearing. An exception to this policy shall be granted in the case that substantial new evidence becomes available after the appeal hearing is finished, but before the end of the three month period following the date of the Honor Court's initial decision.

  2. The Appeals Board and Appeals Process

    1. Upon receipt of a written appeal, the Honor Council Chair will empanel a separate six-member Appeals Board. The Appeals Board will consist of three student members, two faculty members, and a non-voting chair selected from the Honor Council. The chair may be either a student or faculty member.
    2. The Appeals Board will hold a hearing and either grant or deny appeal requests within 30 school days of receiving a written appeal.
    3. The Appeals Board will review the appeal request, transcripts from the initial hearing, and may request additional written statements from any parties involved in the initial hearing.
    4. If the Appeals Board grants an appeal of the initial Honor Court's verdict, the entire investigation/hearing process will be repeated, and the case will be assigned to a new Honor Court panel.
    5. If the Appeals Board grants an appeal of the sanctions imposed by the initial Honor Court, the appeals board is empowered to impose sanctions in accordance with Article V. Section 3.


  1. Members of the Honor Council will immediately notify the Chair of the Honor Council of any conflicts of interest.

* The MU Honor Code Committee would like to acknowledge and thank both Kansas State University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology for the permitted use of many ideas from their honor code constitutions in the development of this document.

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