Millersville University, Faculty Senate
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:
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:
- 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
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.
- 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:
- required signing of the MU Honor Pledge upon admission to the
university and/or at new student orientation,
- signing of an academic honesty statement on submitted course work at
the option of the course instructor,
- required reporting by faculty and staff of alleged violations of the
honor code, and optional reporting by students of alleged violations,
- a judiciary composed of both students and faculty for adjudication of
alleged student dishonesty, and
- 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.
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:
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
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.
- 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.
- Greater consistency in addressing cases of academic dishonesty is
likely to occur.
- Students commonly take considerable pride in their code schools, and
find a sense of prestige in having attended such an institution.
- Having served on the student judiciary often advances career
opportunities for students.
- Honor code schools are highly respected by the local community,
academia, and potential employers. Such prestige may be attractive to
high-achieving prospective students.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Proposed Millersville University Honor System
ARTICLE I. PURPOSE AND ROLE OF THE HONOR SYSTEM AND HONOR
ARTICLE II. HONOR COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP
- 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.
- 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:
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
ARTICLE III. HONOR COURT MEMBERSHIP
- 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.
- Selection of Student Members
- Student nominees must have completed 24 semester hours at Millersville
University, be in good academic standing and be enrolled with a minimum of 6
- At the start of each academic year, students interested in serving on
the honor council apply for membership to the Student Senate.
- Student Senate elects 8 - 12 Honor Council members and forwards the
names to the Honor Council.
- Selection of Faculty Members
- Faculty are elected in the faculty senate elections at the start of
the academic year.
- Selection of Chair and Vice Chair
- 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.
- 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.
- Selection of Student Counselors
- 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.
ARTICLE IV. RESPONSIBILITIES OF HONOR COUNCIL MEMBERS
- 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.
- The Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services shall preside
ARTICLE V. RESPONSIBILITIES OF SPECIAL DUTIES COUNSELOR POSITIONS
- Attend scheduled meetings of the Honor Council.
- Serve in one of the student, special-duties positions, as called:
Community Education Counselor, Administrative Counselor, Hearings Counselor.
- Teach and advance the MU Honor System.
- Advise faculty and students reporting/charged with academic honesty
- Serve as judging members on the Honor Court.
- Participate in a training process that is coordinated by the Honor
ARTICLE VI. RESPONSIBILITIES OF OFFICERS OF THE HONOR COUNCIL
- 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.
- The ADMINISTRATIVE COUNSELOR is responsible for compiling annual
statistics on cases and hearings related to the Honor Code at Millersville
- The HEARINGS COUNSELOR is responsible for coordinating and scheduling
hearings on alleged violations of the Honor Code.
- Schedule and preside over meetings of the Honor Council.
- Receive alleged violations of the Honor System.
- Select members of Honor Court as necessary for hearings.
- Review Honor System policies and report annually to the Associate
- Serve as an ex-officio member of the Honor Council.
- Develop and conduct a training program for members of the Honor
Council, and the incoming Chair.
- Supervise the various activities of the Honor Council.
- Perform the duties of the Chair when the Chair is unable to do so.
- Maintain the records of all Honor Council proceedings.
ARTICLE VII. HONOR COUNCIL TERM OF OFFICE
- Preside over hearings.
- Record findings of the hearing and appeal panels.
ARTICLE VIII. STUDENT RIGHTS
- Members' terms are two years. Initial appointments are divided equally
between one-year and two-year terms.
- 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.
- 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.
- Removal from Honor Council
- 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.
- 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.
ARTICLE IX. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
- Students' rights are explained in the Student Bill of Rights and
ARTICLE X. BY-LAW REVISIONS
- Constitutional amendments may be recommended by any member of the
faculty or student body at Millersville University.
- All amendments must be approved by 3/4 vote of the entire Honor
- All amendments are subject to approval by Faculty Senate and Student
ARTICLE I. RESPONSIBILITIES
To administer the Millersville University Honor System.
ARTICLE II. REPORTING AND PRELIMINARY ACTIONS
- By-Law revisions must be approved by a 2/3 vote of the entire Honor
ARTICLE III. INVESTIGATION
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- The alleged violator should be informed of the nature of the
- The alleged violator should be presented with any evidence of the
- The alleged violator will be given the opportunity to explain the
circumstances surrounding the alleged violation.
- The alleged violator will be informed of her/his right to contest the
allegation in the Honor Court.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
ARTICLE IV. THE HONOR COURT
- 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.
- The evidence should consist of more than the allegation itself, and
may contain copies of exams, reports or other relevant materials.
ARTICLE V. SANCTIONS
- Meetings of the Honor Court
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- The Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Services shall form
the sixth non-voting member of the honor court, and shall preside over the
- Procedures of the Honor Court
- If the student, having been properly notified, fails to appear at
trial, the honor court chooses whether to proceed in the student's absence.
- The investigators of a case may not serve on the Honor Court for that
- 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.
- 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.
- Only members of the Honor Court shall question participants and/or
witnesses. Character references will not be allowed as part of the
- 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.
- 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.
- A majority vote among the members of the Honor Court shall be required
to reach a decision on the guilt of the alleged violator.
- 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.
- If a breach of academic honesty arises during the summer, that
case shall be tabled until hearings resume in the fall.
- Honor Court Records
- The results of the hearing are recorded and kept as part of the
- All records are confidential and subject to the provisions of the
Family Rights and Privacy Act.
ARTICLE VI. APPEALS
- Only the Honor Council can authorize and apply sanctions. If charges
of academic dishonesty are upheld by the Honor Council, a sanction must be
- 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
- Schedule of Sanctions for Violations of Academic Dishonesty
- 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:
- cheating on a test which involves premeditation and conspiracy of
- taking a test for someone else, or permitting someone else to take a
test or course in one's place,
- plagiarizing, where the majority of the submitted work was written or
created by another,
- obtaining, stealing, buying, or sharing all or part of an
- selling, or giving away all or part of an unadministered test.,
- bribing, or attempting to bribe any other person to obtain an
unadministered test or any information about the test,
- buying, or otherwise acquiring, another's course paper and
resubmitting it as one's own work, whether altered or not
- 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
- 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
- entering a building, office, or computer for the purpose of obtaining
an unadministered test.
- 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:
- cheating on an exam which does not involve premeditation,
- copying from another's test or allowing another student to copy from
your test, where no prior plans were made for such collaboration,
- submitting work for a class that was already submitted for another,
- failing to cite information from the correct source,
- listing sources in a bibliography that were not used in the paper, and
- copying, or allowing one to copy, homework assignments that are to be
submitted for credit.
- XF Grade Policy
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- An XF grade shall maintain a quality point value of 0.0.
- The XF must stay permanent on the transcript for at least two years.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
ARTICLE VII. CONFLICT OF INTEREST
- Filing an Appeal
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Appeals Board and Appeals Process
- 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.
- The Appeals Board will hold a hearing and either grant or deny appeal
requests within 30 school days of receiving a written appeal.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
* 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.
- Members of the Honor Council will immediately notify the Chair of the
Honor Council of any conflicts of interest.
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