Home » Bylaws
BYLAWS OF THE VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATE HONOR COUNCIL
Responsibility of Students
If a student has reason to suspect that a breach of the Honor Code has been committed, he or she must:
1. Issue a personal warning to the suspect, or
2. Report the incident to the Honor Council for action to the acting president:
a. An official warning will be issued by the Honor Council to the suspect.
b. An investigation will be held by the Honor Council, or
3. Inform the instructor in the course of the suspicions and identify, if possible, the person(s) suspected.
The administrative vice-president shall appoint a member of the Office of Student Conduct & Academic Integrity, which may include a graduate student, and/or one or two student member(s) to investigate each case and report its findings to the Honor Council. In case of a hearing, the investigator(s) shall present evidence to the Honor Council and shall be ineligible to serve as members of the Honor Council in this case. The president shall decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to hold a hearing on the case in question. In all cases, the reporting party shall be notified fully of the Honor Council’s action.
Penalties given to those declared guilty will be decided upon by the Honor Council, shall be based on the Honor Council’s determination of the seriousness of the offense, and shall conform to the limits herein set forth:
1. For the first offense, the penalty may be Honor Council reprimand, a failure on the assignment or examination at issue, failure in the course, suspension for one or more semesters, or expulsion. For the second offense, the penalty shall not be less than suspension for one semester and, depending on the severity of the violation, the penalty may be suspension for multiple semesters or expulsion. For the third offense, the penalty is expulsion.
Penalties must be approved by a vote of four of the six members. The guidelines that should be considered in deciding the penalty are the following: the flagrancy of the violation, the degree of premeditation and the truthfulness of the accused throughout the investigation and the hearing. During discussion of penalty for second offense cases, panels may also consider the ratings assigned to the previous violation. A student who is suspended by the Honor Council will have a note attached to his or her transcript indicating this action. At the end of the period of suspension, the note will be removed from the transcript, and letters to the University registrar and the registrar of the school in which the student was enrolled at the time of the violation will be removed from the student’s files in those offices and placed in the permanent Honor Council files in the office of the Honor Council adviser.
2. If the presiding officer questions whether a penalty for a violation of the Honor Code is warranted under the particular circumstances of the case, he or she may open discussion among members concerning suspension of the penalty. The Honor Council may, by a vote of five out of six members, elect to suspend the penalty. However, suspension of the sentence shall in no way serve to alter the finding of guilty under the Code.
3. Failure to cooperate with the Honor Council in providing information about an alleged offense shall constitute a conduct violation. If a personal warning is not issued, failure to report a known or suspected violation of the Honor Code shall also constitute a conduct violation.
Any undergraduate student may bring a charge to impeach, suspend, or otherwise discipline members of the Honor Council for negligent or incompetent performance of their responsibilities as Honor Council members by contacting an Honor Council officer. Officers of the Honor Council may make similar charges on their own or on behalf of a member of the faculty, student body, or Honor Council. The president or acting presiding officer shall appoint two investigators to investigate the charge, and a seven-member committee to hear the case. A majority of the hearing committee is required to find the member guilty and to impose discipline, including impeachment.
Summer Honor Council
Section 1. Transfer of Power: The regularly elected Honor Council shall have the authority to transfer jurisdiction over all infractions of the Honor Code during the summer sessions to the Summer Honor Council. This Summer Council shall have the same authority as set forth in the constitution except that it may not vote on proposed amendments to the constitution.
Section 2. Membership: The Summer Council shall consist of all regular members present during the summer.
Section 3. Officers: The president will appoint as necessary.
Section 4. Hearings: Hearings shall be constituted according to Article XI of the constitution, except that summer hearings shall consist of four members and one member of the Board of Faculty Advisors. Each member of this panel has one vote; conviction requires four or five members to vote guilty.
Section 5. Penalties: Penalties shall be determined pursuant to Article III of these Bylaws except that penalties must be approved by a vote of at least three of the five members. If the panel decides that the regular panel is desirable, the case will be referred to a full panel for decision at the beginning of the fall semester.
Section 6. Final report: At the end of his or her term, the president shall leave a full report of the summer’s activities for the regular president.
Appointment of Committee Chairs
Each spring and fall semester, the president shall appoint, from members of The Honor Council, chairs of the following standing committees: Student Relations Committee, Elections Committee, Faculty Relations Committee, and Orientation Committee. These chairs shall be eligible for reappointment for succeeding semesters.
Role of Student Advisors
Section 1. Members of the Undergraduate Honor Council shall serve as advisors to support accused students during the investigatory and hearing process and to educate accused students about the Honor Code. Advisors will explain to an accused student the procedures of the Honor Council, the hearing, and the penalties that may be assigned. An advisor may also answer questions about the Honor Code or help students understand responsibilities under the Code. If a student is not sure what constitutes a violation or does not understand what actions to take after witnessing a violation, an advisor may help.
Section 2. Every accused student will be assigned a Student Advisor from the body of Honor Council members. However, a list of all possible Student Advisors also will be given to the accused student, and he or she may select one to serve as advisor during the investigation, hearing, and appeal. The accused also may select an individual not on the list from the University community, including faculty, staff, or students. Persons with formal legal training are not eligible to serve as advisors. The accused student’s advisor may attend all meetings that the accused student may have with investigator(s). The advisor also may be present in the hearing room with the accused student; however, the advisor may not question witnesses or address the panel. The advisor’s role in a hearing is to provide support to the accused student and advice and information regarding hearing procedures and the Honor Code.