Honor Council

Honor Council School of Nursing Bylaws | Procedures of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing Honor Council | Investigation | Hearings | Penalties for an Honor Code Violation | Appeal Process

 

Honor Council School of Nursing Bylaws

Article I – Name

The name of the Council shall be the Honor Council of the School of Nursing of Vanderbilt University.

Article II – Purpose

The Council is an organization of students that seeks to preserve the integrity of the Honor Code at the School of Nursing at Vanderbilt University. The Honor Council aims to secure justice for any student under suspicion of dishonesty, to vindicate the student’s name if dishonesty is not proved, and to protect the honor and standing of the remaining students by imposing penalties as shall be set forth in the bylaws if dishonesty is proved. It proposes to do this in accordance with the procedures, rules, and organization hereinafter set forth.

Article III – Jurisdiction

Nursing students (MN, MSN, post-master’s certificate, DNP and non-degree seeking students enrolled in a nursing course) are subject to the jurisdiction of the Honor Council of the School of Nursing.

Article IV – Membership, Elections, and Vacancies

Membership on the Nursing Honor Council consists of at least four (4) PreSpecialty students, four (4) Masters level Specialty students, and at least one (1) member from the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. The Honor Council shall consist of a minimum of nine (9) and a maximum of thirty-one (31) members.

The Honor Council solicits members through a self-nomination process. 

All members of the Honor Council shall serve a term of one (1) calendar year beginning September and ending in August. Honor Council members must be students in good academic standing as defined in the VUSN Student Handbook (https://nursing.vanderbilt.edu/students/current/pdf/handbook.pdf) and may be called for duty at any time during their term.

In the event of a membership of less than nine (9), another call for self-nominations will be made.

Article V – Duties of Officers and Members

The Council shall elect the following officers:

  1. President
  2. Vice President
  3. Recording Secretary

The duties of the President shall include:

  1. Presiding at all meetings of the Council;
  2. Consulting with the Honor Council adviser to determine whether to notify the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity (OSACSAI) to appoint an Investigator;
  3. Determining (in consultation with the Honor Council adviser) whether a hearing will be held based on the investigative report;
  4. Appointing a member of the Honor Council to serve as Presiding Officer at the hearing in the event the President is unable to attend the hearing;
  5. Working with the Faculty Adviser(s) to prepare an annual report following guidance provided by the OSACSAI;
  6. Performing all duties common to the office.

The duties of the Vice President shall include:

  1. Serving as President when the President is unable to perform their duties;
  2. Arranging for the hearing of any student accused;
  3. Summoning the accused and witnesses in all hearings and all persons coming before the Council;
  4. Notifying members of all hearings and meetings;
  5. Swearing in material witnesses during a hearing;
  6. Performing all duties common to the office.

The duties of the Recording Secretary shall include:

  1. Keeping full minutes of all meetings and hearings and placing them in Honor Council electronic archive;
  2. Preparing a summary of the proceedings immediately following a hearing. If the Recording Secretary is not present at the hearing, a member of the hearing panel will be appointed to serve in this capacity;
  3. Sending Honor Council decision letters. If the Recording Secretary is not present at the hearing, a member of the hearing panel will be appointed to serve in this capacity;
  4. Keeping a roster of Honor Council members and placing in Honor Council electronic archive;
  5. Updating the Honor Council web page. (https://nursing.vanderbilt.edu/students/current/honorcouncil.php)

The duties of all members of the Honor Council shall include:

  1. Attending all meetings and hearings as requested;
  2. Maintaining confidentiality of all Honor Council matters;
  3. At least five (5) members will agree to serve in the role of student advisers. Names of advisers will be posted on the Vanderbilt School of Nursing Honor Council website.

The duties of the Student Adviser:

Every accused student will have the option to select a student adviser from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Honor Council. A list of all possible student advisers will be on the Honor Council website (https://nursing.vanderbilt.edu/students/current/honorcouncil.php) . The adviser will serve during the investigation and hearing. The accused may also select an adviser from the Vanderbilt University community: faculty, staff, or student. However, persons related to the accused or who have formal legal training are not eligible to serve as advisers.

An adviser may accompany (either in person or remotely) the accused student to investigative meetings and the hearing. The adviser will refer the accused student to the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Student Handbook for procedures of the Honor Council regarding investigations, hearings, and the possible penalties. In addition, an adviser may confer with the accused during the investigation and a hearing but may not speak directly with Honor Council members on the panel during the hearing. The student adviser does not participate in the deliberations and does not vote.

Discretion and Disqualification of Council Members:

  1. During the investigation and throughout the entire course of the Honor Council’s proceedings, Honor Council members may not express an opinion concerning the offense to witnesses, the accused, or members of the community at large.
  2. Honor Council members and investigators may not participate in cases where their relationship with the accused, the accuser, or a material witness raises a reasonable inference of prejudice on their part. Examples of such relationships include close friendship, kinship, organizational affiliation, or evidence of past prejudice.
  3. Honor Council members are not allowed to serve as character witnesses in any cases.

Article VI – Meetings

One (1) organization meeting of the Honor Council shall be held within one (1) month after conclusion of the self-nomination process. The President may call special meetings at any time.

Article VII – Faculty Adviser

At least one (1) faculty member appointed by the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Programs will serve as Faculty Adviser to the Honor Council. The Faculty Adviser will sit in on every hearing. The Faculty Adviser may ask questions and participate in discussions but does not have a vote in the outcome.  At year-end, the Honor Council officers, and the Faculty Adviser may meet to review and discuss the cases that have been decided that year. The Faculty Adviser works with the President to prepare an annual report following guidance provided by OSACSAI.

Article VIII – Violations

The Honor Code at Vanderbilt specifically prohibits actions deemed as breaches of the mutual trust for which the honor system stands. Violations of the Honor Code are cause for disciplinary actions imposed by the Honor Council.

A suspected violation of the Honor Code must be reported to the Honor Council after the student or instructor becomes aware of the suspected violation. The suspected violation should be reported using the OSACSAI's online portal. (https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?VanderbiltUniv&layout_id=5)

Possible violations include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Giving and/or receiving unauthorized aid on an assignment, report, paper, exercise such as simulation, problem, test, examination, tape, film, recordings or computer program submitted by a student to meet course requirements. Such aid includes the use of unauthorized aids which may include crib sheets, answer keys, discarded computer programs, the aid of another person, copying from another student’s work, unauthorized use of books/notes/outside materials during “closed book” exams, soliciting/giving/receiving unauthorized aid orally or in writing, or any other similar action that is contrary to the principles of academic honesty.
  2. Plagiarism on an assigned paper, theme, report, care plan, clinical documentation, or other material submitted to meet course requirements. Plagiarism is defined as the act of incorporating into one’s own work the work of another without indicating that source. A full description of plagiarism can be found in the Vanderbilt University Student Handbook. (https://www.vanderbilt.edu/student_handbook/the-honor-system/#the-honor-code-applied-to-preparation-of-papers)
  3. Failure to report a known or suspected violation of the Honor Code in the manner prescribed in the individual student responsibility section of the Vanderbilt University Student Handbook. (https://www.vanderbilt.edu/student_handbook/the-honor-system/#responsibility-of-the-individual-student)
  4. Any action designed to deceive a member of the faculty, a staff member, or a fellow student regarding principles contained in the Honor Code.
  5. Use of texts, papers, computer programs, or other class work prepared by commercial or noncommercial agents and submitted as a student’s own work.
  6. Submission of work prepared for another course without the specific prior authorization of the instructors in both courses.
  7. Falsification of results of study and/or research.
  8. Any falsification of class records or other materials submitted to demonstrate compliance with course requirements or to obtain class credit, including falsifying records of class or clinical attendance, attendance at required events or events for which credit is given, or attendance or hours spent at internships or other work service.
  9. Altering a grade on a previously graded examination or test.
  10. Any action to circumvent or avoid the remote proctoring system.

Article IX – Hearing

Hearings will be conducted in a manner congruent with the procedures of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Honor Council as published in the Student Handbook.

A suspected violation of the Honor Code must be reported to the Honor Council after the student or instructor becomes aware of the suspected violation. The President or the Faculty Adviser will notify the accused of the charges and that an investigation is being conducted. 

A quorum shall exist when six (6) of the representatives on Honor Council attend the hearing either virtually or in person.

Persons related to the accused or who have formal legal training are not eligible to serve on the Hearing Panel. A member may also exclude themselves from serving on the Hearing Panel related to a conflict of interest. The President and/or the Presiding Officer has the ability to exclude someone from the Hearing Panel if a conflict of interest is identified.

The hearing will be conducted in private, and all members of the Honor Council will be required to preserve the confidentiality of the proceedings in all cases.

Within forty-eight (48) hours following the conclusion of a hearing, the recording secretary will inform in writing the accused, the accuser, the course instructor, the academic director, and the Senior Associate Dean for Academics of the decision and the penalty, if any. 

Article X – Penalties

If the accused is found guilty, a penalty will be determined by the Honor Council consistent with the following: the flagrancy of the violation, the degree of premeditation, the truthfulness of the accused throughout the investigation and the hearing, and any mitigating circumstances that may enter the case. These three factors are ranked on a scale of low, medium, or high.

The specific penalty chosen is limited to one of the following alternatives:

  1. The presumptive penalty for a first offense is failure in the course. A vote of two-thirds of the members of the Hearing Panel will be required to administer this penalty. A grade of “F” will be administered automatically to the student’s record. The course may be repeated; however, course offerings will not be altered.
  2. At the discretion of the Hearing Panel, a first offense penalty can be reduced to failure of the work involved. The work may not be repeated.
  3. The minimum penalty for a second offense is failure in the course and suspension for no less than a semester; furthermore, depending upon the severity of the violation, the penalty may be suspension for multiple semesters or expulsion.
    • Suspension from the School of Nursing graduate program. If the penalty of suspension is assigned before the end of the seventh week in a 14-week semester, the suspension goes into effect immediately. If the suspension occurs after the seventh week of the semester, the suspension will begin at the start of the next semester. The Council may use its own discretion in setting the dates of the suspension. The penalty of a multiple semester suspension requires a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Hearing Panel.

4. In the case of a student convicted of providing false information at an Honor Council hearing or to an Honor Council investigator in either verbal or written form, that student may be suspended for up to three semesters from the end of the semester in which he or she was convicted. A vote of two-thirds of the members of the Hearing Committee is required to impose this penalty.

5. Expulsion must be approved by a vote of at least five of the six panel members. (Note that for a third offense, a vote of guilty by five of the six panelists automatically imposes a penalty of expulsion.)

Article XI – Appeals 

Appeals of decisions made by the Honor Council must follow the procedure outlined by the University Appellate Review Board. (https://www.vanderbilt.edu/student_handbook/student-conduct/#appeals-and-the-appellate-review-board)

Article XII – Amendments

Amendments to the Honor Council bylaws may be adopted by the approval vote of two-thirds of the members of the Honor Council.

PROCEDURES OF THE VANDERBILT SCHOOL OF NURSING HONOR COUNCIL 

Proceedings of the Honor Council – investigations, interviews with potential witnesses, and hearings may be recorded by Vanderbilt University. Recordings not authorized by the Honor Council adviser, the Honor Council officers hearing a case, the Dean of Students, or the Dean’s designee are prohibited.

INVESTIGATION

  • When an alleged violation of the Honor Code is reported, a member of OSACSAI will be assigned to investigate the incident.
  • The assigned investigator will interview the accuser and collect any available information or documentation related to the alleged violation.
  • The accused will be notified via e-mail that a report has been filed, and will be asked to schedule a meeting. The accused is required to respond to the investigator's inquiries within a reasonable period of time. The Honor Council may send a notice to the Office of the University Registrar to enter an Incomplete and add a notation to the accused’s academic record stating "Honor Council Investigation Pending," if the accused is not compliant or if the investigation or hearing will continue beyond the end of the semester (i.e., becomes a “holdover case”).
  • The accused student will have the option to select a Student Adviser from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Honor Council. A list of all possible Student Advisers will be made available on the Honor Council website, and a Student Adviser may be selected from it during the investigation. The accused student may also select a Student Adviser from the Vanderbilt University community: faculty, staff, or student. However, persons related to the accused student or who have formal legal training are not eligible to serve as Student Advisers and may not participate in the hearing. A Student Adviser may accompany (either in person or remotely) the accused student to investigative meetings and the hearing and refer the accused student to the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Student Handbook. The Student Handbook contains the procedures of the Honor Council regarding investigations, hearings, and the penalties that may be assigned. In addition, a Student Adviser may confer with the accused student during the investigation and a hearing but may not speak directly with Honor Council members on the panel during the hearing. The accused student may separately obtain professional legal representation, advice, and counsel. However, an attorney may not participate in or be present during an Honor Council interview or hearing. The Honor Council is a student tribunal untrained in the law. An attorney representing an accused may work directly with the Office of the General Counsel.
  • The investigator will meet with the accused student in the first meeting to present the accused with a written Statement of Charges that includes the specific charge(s), a brief description of the alleged violation, and an explanation of the possible consequences if the accused student is found guilty of a breach of the Vanderbilt Honor Code. The accused has the option to wait for a period following the presentation of the Statement of Charges. The accused student should not be able to review the evidence against the student until the student is prepared to give a formal statement to the investigator. During the first meeting, the accused student will also be informed of the procedures that will be followed. The accused student may choose not to make any statement at the time of the first meeting or defer making a statement to an agreed upon time prior to the hearing. The investigator will ask the accused to sign the Statement of Charges indicating that student understands the charges, possible penalties if found guilty, the procedures to be followed, and that the student will or will not move forward with a statement at the first meeting. Signing the Statement of Charges does not imply or acknowledge guilt.
  • During the meeting where the accused student will make a statement, the investigator will ask the accused student to give an account of the events surrounding the alleged violation. The accused student may also provide relevant documentation or information to support the student’s account of events. The accused student will ultimately be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty prior to the hearing.
  • The accused student is required to notify the investigator of any material witness(es) before the hearing has been scheduled so that the investigator may contact the witness(es) and prepare a statement for inclusion in the investigative report. No material witness will be allowed to testify at the hearing unless the witness has previously given a statement to the investigator. The accused may also have one (1) character witness testify at the hearing. The investigator will not interview the character witness and it is the responsibility of the accused student to ensure the character witness provides a written statement to the investigator in advance of the hearing or is aware of the time and place of the hearing and to ensure the attendance of the witness. Given the nature of University judicial proceedings (including the proceedings of University Honor Councils), the testimony of, and information derived from, experts, such as the reports of handwriting experts, are not admissible and will not be considered, except in rare circumstances. In those rare cases, determinations as to the admissibility of testimony of or evidence derived from an expert will be made in the sole discretion of the Director of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity. The Honor Council president may appoint a faculty member as an expert witness. Under no circumstances, however, will the use of polygraph examinations be permitted.
  • The investigator will assemble the relevant evidence and testimony in a concise, logical report. The investigator will provide the investigative report to the president of the Honor Council, who with the Council Advisor, will determine whether sufficient evidence exists to warrant a hearing by the Council. If the president determines that a hearing is necessary, the president will also determine whether the charges will be heard by a full panel or a small panel .
  • At least twenty-four (24) hours before the hearing, the accused student will be presented with a copy of the investigator’s report via Vanderbilt email so that the student may comment at the hearing on any corrections or clarifications the accused student feels are necessary or appropriate.

HEARINGS

If after an investigation the Honor Council President and Council advisor determine that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a formal hearing, the President will send official notification to the accused that a hearing will be scheduled. The Vice President will arrange any details necessary for conducting the hearing, including reserving rooms where the witness(es) and the accused may be placed during the hearing. The Vice President will also inform the members of the hearing panel, accused, and the witness(es) as to the date, place, and time of the hearing; however, the accused student is responsible for arranging the attendance of the character witness. The hearing should not be held earlier than seventy-two (72) hours after the investigator has met initially with the accused unless an earlier time is agreed to by the accused. 

Hearings may be conducted with participants gathered in a location on campus, online or in a hybrid of in person and online participation.

Attendance at the Hearing by the Accused Student

All students, including the accused student, are required to cooperate with investigations and at hearings conducted by the Honor Council. In the event an accused student refuses to participate in or cooperate with an Honor Council investigation or hearing, the hearing may take place without the participation of the accused student. All reasonable efforts will be made to inform the accused student of the time and place of the hearing and the findings of the proceeding. In addition, the accused student may inform the Honor Council that the accused student will not attend the hearing and submit a written statement regarding the charges prior to the hearing date.

Withdrawal from the University before the Hearing

If an accused student who has been reported for a suspected violation of the Honor Code withdraws from the University before a hearing has been conducted, the fact will be recorded by the Honor Council. A letter will be sent to all parties stating that the student is suspected of an Honor Code violation, that an investigation has been or will be conducted, and that a hearing may be held.

The accused may respond in one of three ways: 1) participate in the hearing either in person or by video conference, 2) waive the right to give testimony personally (thereby acknowledging that the hearing may proceed in his/her/their absence), or 3) waive the right to appear and send a written, signed statement to be presented on his/her/their behalf at the hearing. Failure by the accused to respond will be considered a waiver of the right to appear.

During the time prior to the hearing, a notation will be placed on the academic record of the accused stating that an Honor Council case is pending. A letter will also be sent to the Office of the University Registrar, the dean of the school in which the accused was enrolled, and other relevant University personnel indicating that an Honor Council case is pending. If the accused attempts to re-enroll before the case is heard, the Registrar will notify the president of the Honor Council. The case must be resolved before the accused may re-enroll.

A six (6) member-hearing panel (consisting of a presiding officer and five (5) Council members) will hear the evidence in the case. A Faculty Adviser will also be present and may ask questions and participate in the discussion, but the Faculty Adviser does not have a vote in the outcome. For training purposes, faculty or student observers may be allowed to be present but may not speak or take part in the proceedings.

Order of Events for Hearing 

  1. Presentation of the investigative report.
    1. The investigator is sworn in by the recording secretary (or designee).
    2. The investigative report is presented: the interviews with the accuser, the accused student, and the witnesses are reported briefly and impartially; the material evidence is presented and explained without opinion.
    3. The Honor Council may question the investigator. At no time does the investigator express an opinion as to whether the accused is guilty or not guilty.
  2. Testimony. The accused student(s) (if in attendance) and the accuser(s) are allowed to be present during the presentation of all testimony. If witnesses are to testify in person, by written attestation or virtually, they will appear separately and await their appearances alone. When called, each (except for the character witness) is sworn in by the recording secretary.
    1. Accuser. If the accuser testifies, the presiding officer will invite a general account of the events in question. The Honor Council may then direct its questions to the accuser. The investigator may question the accuser, after the Honor Council has concluded its questioning, to clarify points that may have been obscured. The accused may also direct questions to the accuser, after the Honor Council and the investigator have concluded their questioning. In the case of the accuser’s absence, the Honor Council will proceed to the testimony of the witness(es).
    2. Material Witnesses. First, the presiding officer invites a general account of the events in question. The Honor Council may then direct its questions to the witness(es). The investigator may question material witnesses, after the Honor Council has concluded its questioning, to clarify points that may have been obscured. The accuser and the accused may also direct questions to the material witnesses after the Honor Council has concluded their questioning.
    3. Character Witness. One (1) character witness may answer questions concerning the background of the accused. If a character witness cannot attend the hearing in person or by remote technology, the character witness may send a written statement to the investigator to be read at the hearing. A character witness is not allowed to testify or express an opinion concerning the alleged violation. Discretion will be exercised to avoid questions that a character witness is not allowed to answer. Generally, a character witness will be asked the following three questions:
      • “How long and in what capacity have you known the accused student?”
      • “Can you please tell the panel about a time in which you placed trust in the accused student?”
      • “In general, and without reference to this case, can you please describe the accused student’s character?”
    4. Accused Student. The presiding officer presents to the accused the charge(s) and asks if the student is familiar with the charge(s), the evidence, and the possible penalties if found guilty. The accused student enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. The presiding officer asks the accused to give an account of the events in question. The student adviser may confer with the accused during the hearing but may not speak directly with Honor Council members on the panel during the hearing. After the student testifies, the Honor Council may then direct its questions to the accused. The investigator may question the accused, once the Honor Council has concluded its questioning, to clarify points that may have been obscured.  The accuser may also direct questions to the accused, once the Honor Council and the investigator have concluded their questioning.

PENALTIES FOR A HONOR CODE VIOLATION

When the Honor Council is satisfied that all pertinent testimony has been received, the accused student, the student adviser, and the investigator leave the hearing room so that the panel may deliberate. The panel will proceed to discuss and decide the question of guilt. The proof that a person is guilty of a charge must satisfy a “preponderance-of-the-evidence” (or more likely-than-not) standard. A majority of the six (6) members of the panel must vote “guilty” to find the accused guilty.

  1. If the accused is found guilty, the Honor Council determines a fitting penalty based upon:
    1. The flagrancy of the violation,
    2. Premeditation involved in the offense, and
    3. The truthfulness of the accused throughout the investigation and the hearing.

 These three (3) factors are ranked on a scale of low, medium, or high. 

  1. The specific penalty chosen is limited to one of the following alternatives:
    1. The presumptive penalty for a first offense is failure in the course. A vote of two-thirds of the members of the Hearing Panel will be required to administer this penalty. A grade of “F” will be administered automatically to the student’s record. The course may be repeated; however, course offerings will not be altered.
    2. At the discretion of the Hearing Panel, a first offense penalty can be reduced to failure of the work involved. The work may not be repeated.
    3. The minimum penalty for a second offense is failure in the course and suspension for no less than a semester; furthermore, depending upon the severity of the violation, the penalty may be suspension for multiple semesters or expulsion.
      1. Suspension from the School of Nursing graduate program. If the penalty of suspension is assigned before the end of the seventh week in a 14-week semester, the suspension goes into effect immediately. If the suspension occurs after the seventh week of the semester, the suspension will begin at the start of the next semester. The Council may use its own discretion in setting the dates of the suspension. The penalty of a multiple semester suspension requires a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Hearing Panel.
    4. In the case of a student convicted of providing false information at an Honor Council hearing or to an Honor Council investigator in either verbal or written form, that student may be suspended for up to three semesters from the end of the semester in which he or she was convicted. A vote of two-thirds of the members of the Hearing Committee is required to impose this penalty.
    5. Expulsion must be approved by a vote of at least five of the six panel members. (Note that for a third offense, a vote of guilty by five of the six panelists automatically imposes a penalty of expulsion.)
  2. If, after review by (and at the discretion of) the Director of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity, mitigating circumstances exist with regard to the commission of the violation in question, then the presiding officer will be provided relevant information and may introduce those circumstances to be considered in the discussion of penalty. Such circumstances may not relate to the possible ramifications of the panel's decision. 
  3. The accused and Student Adviser (if applicable) are brought back into the hearing room either in person or virtually for of the Honor Council’s decision. As part of the verbal notification, the presiding officer will inform the accused about the right of appeal.

APPEAL PROCESS

Decisions of the Council are subject to appeal through the Appellate Review Board. Requests for appeal must be submitted by the petitioning student using the online Petition for Appeal (https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?VanderbiltUniv&layout_id=12) form by no later than 5pm on the tenth (10th) calendar day following the date that the student is formally notified of the determination of the Honor Council. Refer to Appellate Review Board .  (https://www.vanderbilt.edu/student_handbook/student-conduct/#appeals-and-the-appellate-review-board)

After the Hearing 

  • At the conclusion of the hearing, the Presiding Officer will gather all the material evidence, investigative reports, notes, and other records of the investigation and hearing and place them in a file in the OSACSAI. VUSN Honor Council’s electronic file.
  • If the accused student is found guilty, written notice of the decision is sent to the following parties: (a) the accused student, (b) the accuser, (c) the Senior Associate Dean for Academic programs, (d) staff in the Office of University Registrar, (e) the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity, and (f) other relevant University personnel. A copy of the notice must also be kept in the electronic files of the Honor Council.
  • Following a hearing, the Recording Secretary or another member of the hearing panel will prepare a summary of the proceedings and place it in the Honor Council files.
  • The accused student may file an appeal from a decision with the Appellate Review Board but must do so within ten days of the date the student is formally notified of the panel’s decision. Refer to the Appeals Process section for details.
  • The Honor Council adviser maintains records of Honor Council proceedings and investigations in accordance with the University’s document retention policy. Records of convictions and penalties will not be released outside the University absent a written release from the convicted student or unless otherwise required by law in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). However, students should be aware that they may be required to sign such a waiver when applying to graduate or professional schools or in the course of any employment or governmental background check.

WITHDRAWAL FROM THE UNIVERSITY BEFORE THE HEARING

 If a student who has been reported for a suspected violation of the Honor Code withdraws from the University before a hearing has been conducted, the fact will be recorded by the Honor Council. A letter will be sent to all parties stating that the student is suspected of an Honor Code violation, that an investigation has been or will be conducted, and that a hearing may be held.

The accused may respond in one of three ways: participate in the hearing either in person or by video conference, waive the right to give testimony personally (thereby acknowledging that the hearing may proceed in his/her/their absence), or waive the right to appear and send a written, signed statement to be presented on his/her/their behalf at the hearing. Failure by the accused to respond will be considered a waiver of the right to appear.

During the time prior to the hearing, a notation will be placed on the academic record of the accused stating that an Honor Council case is pending. A letter will also be sent to the Office of the University Registrar, the dean of the school in which the accused was enrolled, and other relevant University personnel indicating that an Honor Council case is pending. If the accused attempts to re-enroll before the case is heard, the Registrar will notify the president of the Honor Council. The case must be resolved before the accused may re-enroll.