What do faculty need to know about the Honor Code?

[Editor’s Note: Members of the University Teaching Project and new faculty members met with two representattives of W&M’s Honor Council. These question were compiled from their discussion and the answers were confirmed by the Honor Council, Dean of Students Office and the Office of the Provost]

As a faculty member, am I bound by the Honor Code?

Should I have have someone else in the room when I first confront the student about an Honor Code violation?
The issue here is confidentiality. For example, if you ask another faculty member, or your department chair, to sit in, you risk hurting the standing of that student with the other faculty member. This can be especially harmful if the student later takes a class from that professor. If you wish to have a third party present for the initial meeting, the Dean of Students can arrange for someone to be present.

If I ask a student if he or she has plagiarized, and the student denies it, is this a second violation of the honor code if the student is found guilty of cheating?
Yes. Lying about violating the Honor Code is a second offense.

When I give an exam, should I be in the room to proctor the test?
The Honor Council prefers if you proctor exams or at least “make the rounds” when students are taking a test.

Is it against the Honor Code for students to study using past tests from my class?
Not automatically. Unless you specify that this is not allowed, students are not breaking the honor code by looking at previous exams you have written.

If I suspect someone of cheating, am I obligated to use the Honor

Yes. The Provost Office phrases this requirement like this,

After meeting with the student (or making a good faith effort to do so), if the student has not offered a satisfactory explanation to negate the concern about a possible violation, the Provost has directed that faculty must report the matter for review by the Honor Council. Faculty members may not issue punitive sanctions based on the conclusion that there is a violation (this is distinguished from an instructor penalizing a student for poor scholarship) unless the student has been found guilty by the Honor Council. The faculty member plays an important role in the process, including providing an account of his or her concerns and appearing in a hearing if necessary.

Are students required to turn their peers in if they know someone has


Are there degrees of punishments for violating the Honor Code?
Yes. If a student is found guilty of violating the Honor Code there are different sanctions, ranging from a written warning to expulsion.

How can I get more information about the Honor Council?
The Honor Council maintains a website at www.wm.edu/honor and can be reached via email at honorcouncil@wm.edu. The Dean of Student’s office also maintains a FAQ section of their own.

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