The Honor Council

Purpose and Scope

The chief function of the Honor Council is to administer the Lawrence University Honor System.  This task of administration includes:

  1. Informing all new members of the Lawrence University community about the philosophy and stipulations of the Honor System.
  2. Ensuring that all members of the student body have signed an agreement to abide by the stipulations of the Honor Code.
  3. Assuming responsibility for educating the entire academic community about the Honor System.
  4. Acting as a judicial body when suspected violations of the Honor Code are reported.
  5. Reviewing the Honor System with the stipulation that any major change in the system is subject to the provisions outlined in section IV, “Amendments and Alterations.”
The Academic Integrity Committee

The Academic Integrity Committee is composed of five members: the co-chairs of the Honor Council and three faculty members appointed by the Faculty Committee on University Governance. The purpose of this committee is to manage ongoing cases and lead outreach and education efforts that are required of the Council. Two faculty members will act as ex-officio non-voting advisors during sanctioning conferences and hearings, while the Chair of the AIC will be responsible for all other administrative duties, including record-keeping.

Membership

The Honor Council consists of at least ten and no more than thirteen students who serve two years from the time of appointment.  Members who wish to serve for a third year must request an extension of their appointment from the returning members of the Honor Council, who will vote on all such requests.  New members are chosen annually or when the membership of the council falls below seven. 

Persons who have been sanctioned by the Judicial Board or the Honor Council are not eligible to serve on the Honor Council.  Continuing membership is contingent upon fulfillment of duties and maintaining the confidence of the Council.

Method of Selection of the Honor Council
  1. During third term or when vacancies arise, Lawrence University students, faculty, and staff are given the opportunity to submit nominations.
  2. A list of nominations is compiled by the Honor Council.
  3. All nominees are given the opportunity to participate in a group interview, which consists of a mock hearing.
  4. Based on their written application and their ability as demonstrated in the mock hearing, a slate of candidates is prepared by the Honor Council.  This slate will ideally include twice the number of vacancies.  However, the number of candidates on this slate must exceed the number of vacancies but total no more than twice the number of vacancies.  The Council will consider the continuity of Council membership when compiling its slate.
  5. Each year an Honor Council Selection Board will be appointed.  The members of this Board will include two representatives from the LUCC Committee on Committees or its designees (who are not currently serving on the Honor Council), two faculty members serving on the Academic Integrity Committee, and two Honor Council members.
  6. The Honor Council will submit its slate of candidates, ranked in order of preference, to the Honor Council Selection Board.  The Selection Board will conduct individual interviews.  The Selection Board will then vote on the new members of the Honor Council. Approval of new members requires a two-thirds vote of the full Selection Board.
  7. The Selection Board will submit its decisions to the Honor Council in writing.  If vacancies remain, the Selection Board may request an additional slate of candidates from the Honor Council. The Honor Council will then notify the new members of their appointments.
Judicial Procedures
  1. Suspected violation:  Every member of the Lawrence community is responsible for maintaining the Honor Code. If community members suspect a violation, they have the following choices:  a) Discuss their concerns with the persons involved in the suspected violation.  If they continue to think that a violation has occurred, encourage all persons involved to turn themselves in.  b) Report their concerns to the faculty member involved, to the Honor Council advisor, or to a member of the Honor Council. This reporting does not automatically commit them to pursuing additional action. 
  2. Preliminary inquiry:  When a suspected violation is reported, the Honor Council chair and advisor conduct a preliminary inquiry by discussing the incident with the person or persons involved.  From this point on all persons involved are expected to maintain strict confidentiality.  If it is a first violation and the respondent admits that a violation has occurred, the respondent has the right to request a sanctioning conference under the stipulations outlined below.  If the evidence warrants a hearing, the complainant, respondent, and witness, if any, are sent a letter stating the time and place of the hearing and a description of the alleged violation. All parties are expected to attend the hearing.
  3. Respondent rights:  The respondent has the right to strike one member of the council from a list received with the letter.  This must be done by a date specified in the letter.  No explanation need be given, and the request will be automatically granted.  Prior to the hearing or sanctioning conference, the respondent has the right to submit documentation or witness information for consideration, in addition to documentation submitted by the complainant.
  4. Procedural advisor:  The respondent must have a member of the Honor Council as a procedural advisor. If the respondent does not select a procedural advisor by a date specified in the letter, one will be appointed by the chair.  The procedural advisor meets with the respondent before the hearing or sanctioning conference to answer questions and assists the respondent during the hearing or sanctioning conference as a guide, not an advocate. 
  5. Quorum:  Five members plus the non-voting chair and the non-voting advisor constitute a quorum.  Judicial Board members may serve as alternates for Honor Council hearings when necessary to meet a quorum. When possible, the Chair should create a quorum of members with no prior cases with the respondent.
  6. Sanctioning conference:  For a first violation in which the respondent admits to the violation, a sanctioning conference may be employed if both the complainant and the respondent agree to this option. Those present at the sanctioning conference include: an Honor Council faculty advisor (who convenes the conference), the complainant, respondent, procedural advisor, and two other voting Honor Council members. The sanction determined by the voting Honor Council members must be agreed to by both the complainant and the respondent. If no sanction can be agreed upon, the case will go to a hearing. An agreed-upon sanction may not be appealed.
  7. Hearing:  Honor Council hearings consist of opening statements followed by a series of questions. The hearing is recorded. During this time any participating member of the hearing, including the complainant, respondent, or witness, may ask the chair for a recess. After the Council decides that all relevant evidence has been sufficiently presented, closing statements are given. The Honor Council then breaks for deliberation. The respondent has the right to hear all evidence presented; however, deliberations of the Honor Council are held in private and are not recorded.
  8. Determination of violation and sanctions:  In making its decision the Council first votes on whether the Honor Code has been violated. If the Council decides that a violation has occurred, the Council then moves to a discussion of a sanction. A second vote determines the sanction. The Council will take into consideration any previous violations or warnings. Any Council decision requires four votes or a majority of those members voting, whichever is greater.
  9. Communication of decision:  The decision of the Council will be presented in writing, and the statement must include the information that the student may appeal the decision to the Provost of the University within one week of receipt of the letter.
  10. Record keeping:  The written decision will be sent to the student and, when appropriate, to the professor involved, and a copy will be placed in the confidential files maintained by the university. The decision will be added to a summary of previous decisions, which will be used to establish precedents. This list will be maintained by the Chair of the Academic Integrity Committee.
  11. Confidentiality:  All identifying information regarding hearings and decisions will be considered confidential and shared with select university personnel only on a “need to know” basis unless all those participating in the hearing before the Honor Council, including respondent, complainant, and witness, agree in writing to make public information from the case.
  12. Appeal:  A student may appeal a hearing decision to the Provost within one week of receiving the communication of decision. A careful and impartial recorded and written record of the hearing is kept for the use of the Provost in the case of an appeal. If the student appeals the decision, the Honor Council's decision stands until the Provost completes the review of the case. The Provost has one month to respond after receiving the appeal.
  13. Reporting:  At the beginning of each academic year the Honor Council will publish summaries of the cases of the preceding academic year. The summaries will in no way identify any individuals involved in the case.
Warnings

The Honor Council may issue a written warning in cases where it does not find a specific violation, but believes that the student’s actions raised serious questions. This warning does not become a part of the student’s permanent confidential file. If the student comes before the Honor Council again, however, the Council will be informed that a warning was issued.

Sanctions

The Honor Council has the authority to mandate specific grade reductions on an assignment or in a course or to recommend suspension or separation to the Faculty Subcommittee on Administration. Sanctions are based on precedents, i.e., sanctions assigned in previous cases, to provide continuity between Honor Councils and to ensure equitable sanctioning.

Listed below are the standard sanctions applied by the Honor Council. Alternative sanctions may be applied where appropriate, particularly during sanctioning conferences.

  1. Penalty applied to grade on assignment:  The Council can mandate a specific grade or establish a ceiling for the grade on the assignment or specify a lowered grade from that which the student earned.
  2. Penalty applied to grade in course:  The Council can mandate a specific grade or establish a ceiling for the grade in the course or specify a lowered grade.
  3. Suspension:  Suspension is for a specified period of time. The student may register at the end of the expiration of the suspension. The suspension can be applied to the term in which the hearing occurs, or to that term and the following term, in which case the student loses all credit for the term of the hearing and is denied the privileges of the campus during the period of suspension.
  4. Separation:  Separation is an indefinite suspension. The student must be readmitted by the Faculty Subcommittee on Administration. Penalty of separation is made as a recommendation to the Faculty Subcommittee of Administration and is only enacted when confirmed by this committee.

In conjunction with any sanctions the Council can impose educational sanctions. For example, the Council may ask the student to redo the documentation of the paper either for the professor or the Honor Council to ensure that the student knows how to document a paper properly.