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(Adopted by the Student Body, May 23, 1945; amended April 27, 1949; May 15, 1957; February 11, 1959; March 14, 1962; April 26, 1967; January 28, 1971; March 3, 1971; March 8, 1972; October, 1974; April, 1975; February 28, 1978; September 25, 1979; February 24, 1981; January 8, 1986; January 14, 1988; January 8, 1990; February 25, 1997; December 13, 2000; February 16, 2001; June 18, 2008, February 10, 2010.)
All academic work at Vanderbilt University is conducted under the Honor Code. For the successful operation of the honor system, the cooperation of the whole student body is essential. It is the duty of each member of the student body to show his or her appreciation of
the trust placed in him or her under this system, not alone by his or her own conduct, but by his or her insistence on the absolute honesty of others in his or her class. It should be a point of honor among the various classes to hold their members to the standard of the University, and all students should be ready to report to the Honor Council anyone who may violate this trust, immediately and without discrimination. For the purpose of encouraging honesty and investigating cases of alleged dishonesty on the part of the students, an Honor Council is established with the following Constitution.
The name of the council shall be the Undergraduate Honor Council of Vanderbilt University. The Undergraduate Honor Council of Vanderbilt University shall hereinafter be referred to as the Honor Council.
The Honor Council is an organization of students that seeks to preserve the integrity of the Honor Code at Vanderbilt University. It aims to secure justice for any student under suspicion of dishonesty, to vindicate his or her name if innocent, and, if guilty, to protect the honor and standing of the remaining students by his or her punishment as shall be set forth in the Bylaws. It proposes to do this in accordance with the procedures, rules, and organization
hereinafter set forth.
Section 1. The Honor Council shall take cognizance of the giving or receiving of aid by any student without the knowledge or consent of the instructor concerned.
This applies to all tests, themes, term papers, and examinations, and to any other work unless specifically designated by an instructor not to be under the Honor Code.
Section 2. Any student taking a course or courses in the College of
Arts and Science, Peabody College, the School of Engineering, or Blair School
of Music, regardless of where registered, is, to this extent, under the
jurisdiction of the Honor Council and subject to any penalties it may impose.
Section 3. The following pledge shall be signed on all work: “I pledge my honor that I have neither given nor received aid on this examination.”
Membership and Elections
Section 1: At the close of the fall semester each year, applications for undergraduate students to join the Honor Council will be made available. Applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of student members, faculty and the Honor Council advisor. Students who submit outstanding applications will be interviewed. Based on application and interview performance, applicants will be placed on an Honor Council ballot to be voted on by students within their undergraduate college.
Section 2: During each election cycle, students will be elected to the Honor Council as follows:
Nine Arts and Science students distributed among the freshmen, sophomore, and junior classes.
Three Blair students distributed among the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes.
Four Peabody students distributed among the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes.
Four Engineering students distributed among the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes.
The above distributions may be adjusted within each election cycle as necessary by the Honor Council President and as necessary based on the distribution of students in each college.
Section 3: Members of the Honor Council must maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA to remain in good standing.
At the end of the first full year of an Honor Council member’s term, he/she will have the option to resign his/her membership. In case a vacancy occurs on the Honor Council, it shall be filled at the next scheduled selection. The person selected will serve only for the unexpired term.
The Honor Council shall elect from its number the following officers:
A president, who must be either a junior or a senior and shall have served one year previously as a member of the Honor Council;
Three Vice Presidents; and
Up to three recording secretaries;
Both men and women may be represented in these offices.
Duties of Officers
Section 1. The administrative vice president shall supervise all investigations. The administrative vice president may appoint, with the approval of the president, up to three chief investigators to assist with large caseloads at specific points in each semester. The administrative vice president shall oversee the chair of advisors and the corresponding secretary.
Section 2. The public affairs vice president shall be responsible for publishing a report of
recent Honor Council decisions in the Hustler at least once per semester, and shall also coordinate the new member selection process. The public affairs vice president shall also oversee committees, and the chair of faculty relations, and shall oversee all educational efforts.
Section 3. The hearing vice president shall assist with administrative duties as requested by the president.
Section 4. The president, public affairs vice president, and the hearing vice president shall
share the duties of chairing panels.
Section 5. The recording secretaries shall keep full minutes of all meetings and the proceedings of all hearings. They must be kept in permanent files. The recording secretaries shall administer to all witnesses and accused the following pledge: “I, ___, will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in relation to the inquiry about which I am to give evidence.”
Board of Faculty Advisors
Section 1. The Chancellor shall appoint a board of advisers to advise the Honor Council during hearings and investigations.
Section 2. The board of advisers shall consist of 30 faculty members who shall serve at the pleasure of the Chancellor.
Section 3. The board shall elect its own chair who shall be responsible for coordinating and assigning all duties in consultation with the president of the Honor Council.
Section 4. The chair of the board, along with the president of the Honor Council, shall mail an annual report to the Faculty Senate on the status of the Honor System.
Section 1. Regular meetings of the Honor Council shall be held at the discretion of the president.
Section 2. It shall be the duty of each Honor Council member to attend all meetings and hearings as requested. Each member is entitled to a number of absences; the president shall set this number.
Section 3. All meetings shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
Two-thirds of the members then serving shall always constitute a quorum of the Honor Council, except in case of a hearing, when six members shall constitute a quorum.
Section 1. No one shall be competent to sit on the Honor Council if he or she is related by blood or marriage to an accused, or is a member of the same fraternity or sorority as the accused. The Honor Council may, by a majority vote, declare any member incompetent for other grounds.
Section 2. All cases shall be heard privately.
Section 3. All hearings shall require the presence of a member of the board of advisers to proceed. This faculty member shall file a written report with the secretary and chair of the board of advisers after each hearing.
Section 4. In case of a hearing, the verdict shall be “guilty” or “not guilty,” and five votes out of the six shall be necessary to convict the accused. The presiding officer must vote in all decisions. Written notice of the decision will be sent to the accused, the registrar of the school in which he or she is enrolled, the University registrar, the instructor concerned, and, with the permission of the accused, the parents, and the accuser not later than two days after the hearing has been held. Also, a copy must be kept in the permanent files of the Honor Council.
Announcement of the facts and results of the case shall be made in the Hustler, but any facts which might tend to identify the student or students involved shall be withheld.
Section 5. The president may appoint a faculty member as an expert witness.
Section 6. All business conducted on investigations, hearings, business meetings, retreats, and other official Honor Council functions shall be held in strictest confidence among the members of the Honor Council. In addition, all information concerning investigations and hearings shall be so held by the individual members of the Honor Council then present; they may not discuss this information with other persons, including other Council members who are not on that particular case. However, information of a nonconfidential nature may be made available by the Honor Council president to the student body through the campus newspaper, radio station, et cetera.
Small Panel Hearing
Section 1. In the event that an accused student admits guilt during an investigation, that student shall have the right to request a small-panel hearing rather than the regular panel hearing.
Section 2. A small-panel hearing shall consist of a member of the board of advisers, the president of the Honor Council, and one additional member chosen by the president.
Section 3. Any decision reached by the panel must be unanimous. If the panel is unable to reach a unanimous decision, the case must be referred to a full hearing.
Section 4. If the panel decides that the penalty for the accused student should be more severe than suspension for one semester or that consideration by the regular panel is desirable, the case should be referred to a full hearing.
The Honor Council shall have the power to impeach, suspend, or otherwise discipline its own members as shall be prescribed in the Bylaws.
Each new student entering the University will be informed by the Honor Council as to the functions of the honor system and his or her obligations to the Honor Code and will be provided
with a copy of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Honor Council on request and will be bound by the honor system upon registration.
Section 1. In case a student withdraws from the University after a charge has been made against him or her by another student or by the Honor Council and before the hearing, the facts shall be recorded by the Honor Council just as if the accused had been present. The president will place a notation on the transcript of the accused, who will not be allowed to reenter the University until he or she has had a hearing before the Honor Council. Notice of such hearings will be sent to the student at his or her home or other known address.
Amendments to this constitution shall require for their adoption the approval of two-thirds of the total membership of the Honor Council and ratification by a majority of the voting student