Honor Code and Code of Non-Academic Conduct
Student academic and non-academic behavior is governed by the Honor Code or the Code of Non-Academic Conduct. In matriculating at Wesleyan, students make a commitment to uphold both codes. Violations of the codes are adjudicated by the peer Honor Board and Student Judicial Board. The administrative advisor to the Honor Board is the vice president for student affairs, who serves as an ex officio member of the Board. The Student Judicial Board has two faculty advisors and an administrative advisor from the Office of the Dean of Students; these advisors have voice but no vote. Records are kept for six years following the violation. Brief summaries of the boards and procedures appear below. The text of the codes and full descriptions of the procedures and sanctions can be found online at www.wesleyan.edu/studenthandbook/3_univreg.html. Students found in violation of either code have the right to appeal the finding and the sanction to the president.
- Honor Board Procedures
Notification and Investigation
Through the clerk of the Honor Board, the Honor Board receives notice of a suspected violation. Notification may be initiated by the suspected student, another student, a member of the faculty or an administrator. The Board proceeds to gather as much documentation of the suspected violation as is available. Examination papers, term papers, reference sources, and any other materials related to the incident are solicited from the instructor(s) and/or student(s) involved. The instructor may be asked to provide a written description of the events that first aroused suspicion and an analysis of the apparent violation.
The Honor Board encourages members of the faculty to discuss suspected violations with the students involved. It should be emphasized that the Honor Board must be notified, either by the faculty member or by the student, if suspicion of a violation persists.
The Board views faculty witnesses primarily as experts who can aid the Board in understanding the nature of a suspected Code violation. The faculty member not only commands the language of the academic exercise, but also is most familiar with the conditions under which the exercise was to be performed. The faculty member also can help the Board assess the seriousness of a violation. The Board does not expect faculty witnesses to persuade the Board that a violation has occurred or that the student charged with the violation actually committed it. The faculty member who alerts the Board to a possible violation is viewed not as an adversary of the suspected student, but rather as a concerned member of the community who is discharging his or her obligation to the Honor System.
Hearings are normally held by the full Board, consisting of four students, with the vice president for student affairs or a designee as an advisor. Honor Board procedures have traditionally been kept simple and flexible, so as to reduce the emotional stress that the hearing may engender, and to encourage all participants, including the suspected student, to cooperate actively with the Board in determining whether a violation of the Code has occurred.
A finding of an Honor Code violation is reported to the vice president for student affairs and remains a part of the student’s record for six years following the violation. A finding of a violation therefore may have a significant impact on any evaluation of character and academic behavior that a student might request from the Deans’ Office.
The Honor Board has a range of sanctions available. Those that affect a course grade are recommended to the instructor. The others are recommended to the vice president for student affairs.
Summary reports of Honor Board cases for the previous year, omitting the names of the individuals involved, are available online at www.wesleyan.edu/deans/hbsummaries.html.
- Student Judicial Board (SJB) Procedures
The SJB uses a variety of procedures for dealing with complaints. They include full hearings, simplified hearings, referrals to mediation, and administrative disposition.
Initiation of Complaint
All complaints to the SJB must be submitted in writing to the clerk of the SJB in the Office of the Dean of Students. Any member of the community who believes that a violation of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct has occurred may submit a complaint. Complaints may also be brought by the University. The complaint must identify the individual or group believed to have committed the violation, and describe the circumstances of the violation.
The SJB is responsible for determining whether it is more likely than not that the alleged violation occurred. The party bringing the charges need not provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. The SJB forwards its decision and sanction recommendations to the dean of students, who reviews them and implements them in the name of the University.
It should be emphasized that the SJB is not a court and that the Code of Non-Academic Conduct is not part of civil law. The SJB is guided not by the elaborate procedures of the civil courts, but rather by a common-sense standard of fairness and openness and concern for the general welfare of the Wesleyan community.