Honor Court Constitution

Take a look at the revised Honor Court Constitution, created March 2012 and supported by the SGA. The current version of the Honor Court Constitution is also shown below.

(Adopted March 12, 2012)

ARTICLE I. Honor Code

Each student who enrolls in Centenary College undergraduate classes becomes a part of the Centenary Honor System and is responsible to the Honor Code in both day and night classes. The Honor Code of Centenary College is founded on the idea that honor is that intangible quality which, if it pervades all phases of campus life, will tend to foster a spirit of dignity and personal integrity.

Inherent in the system must be the premise that students will not tolerate a violation of the Honor Code. The Honor System is established with the realization that honor must be fostered and not forced, and with the awareness that it will be successful only through the combined and cooperative efforts of faculty, administration and students.

ARTICLE II. The Pledge

Students are required to write the following pledge at the end of any examination or assignment: “I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this examination (paper), nor have I seen anyone else do so.” If the student has received aid or suspects others of violating the Honor Code, the following clause is to be added to the pledge “...except as I shall report immediately to the Honor Court.”

The complete pledge must be written and signed by the student, shall not be abbreviated, and should never be written until the test or paper has been completed for submission to the professor. Any violation shall be reported immediately to the Honor Court.

Students are bound by the Honor Code even if they fail to write the pledge on their assignment or examination.

ARTICLE III. Organization of the Court

Section One: Composition

The Honor Court shall consist of ten student members nominated by the faculty and student body. Five members of the Court shall vote on each case. The Court shall be advised by three faculty members.

Section Two: Nominations of Student Members

During the Spring semester, the student body and the faculty will be asked to nominate students for the Honor Court. All students nominated will be invited to apply to fill the vacancies on the Honor Court. After conducting interviews of all applicants, the Court shall then choose qualified applicants to fill the vacancies on the Court. The new Court shall assume its duties in the fall semester after they are elected. Newly selected members will attend meetings in the spring and summer immediately after being elected. If necessary, they can vote during this time. The new Court shall assume its duties at the end of the semester in which it is chosen. In the event that vacancies on the Court should develop at a time other than the end of the school year, the remaining members of the Court will determine the appropriate method of filling said vacancies.

Section Three: Qualifications for Student Members

The student members of the Honor Court shall:

  1. Be of junior or senior standing at Centenary College by the end of the semester in which they are nominated.
  2. Be enrolled in at least their second semester at Centenary College.
  3. Not hold any elected office to the Student Government Association, membership on a college judicial board, or membership on the Conduct Review Committee.
  4. Have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above at the time of election.

Section Four: Term of Office

Terms of members of the Honor Court shall be from the time of selection until graduation, impeachment, or voluntary withdrawal from the Honor Court or the College.

Section Five: Permanent Officers of the Honor Court and Duties

1. Chief Justice

The Honor Court shall elect the Chief Justice from its members before the end of the spring semester of each year. The term of office of the Chief Justice shall be one year. The Chief Justice may serve more than one term.

The Chief Justice shall:

  1. have overall supervision of the work of the Court;
  2. call sessions of the Court as the need arises;
  3. preside over the Court;
  4. appoint an unbiased member of the Court as Investigating Officer for each case;
  5. appoint, or approve the selection by the accused, of an unbiased member of the Honor Court to serve as the Representative for the accused; and
  6. determine from the remaining members who shall serve as the voting members for each case.
  7. The Chief Justice shall prepare a report of the decisions rendered in the previous semester for publication in The Conglomerate at the start of every semester. In such reports, facts shall be omitted which would lead to the identification of the principal parties involved.

The Chief Justice, if present, will always serve as a voting member unless he/she disqualifies him/herself.

2. Associate Justice

The Associate Justice shall at the same time be elected from the membership of the Court. The Associate Justice shall serve in the place of the Chief Justice in the event of absence or inability to serve. In case of a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice, the Court may, at its discretion, elect a new Chief Justice or elevate and replace the Associate Justice. The Associate Justice, if present, will always serve as a voting member unless he/she disqualifies him/herself.

3. Clerk

The Court shall at the same time select from its membership a Court Clerk who shall be responsible for maintaining the necessary records. In the absence of the duly elected Clerk, the Chief Justice shall appoint one of the Court members to serve in that capacity.

Section Six: Other Members and their Duties

1. Investigating Officer

The Investigating Officer, appointed by the Chief Justice on case-by-case basis, shall:

  1. investigate the suspected violations, interviewing the accused, the accuser, and the professor of the class;
  2. present to the Court all information and evidence at the preliminary review; and
  3. clarify initial reports and question witnesses at the hearing.
    The Investigating Officer will not vote on cases for which he/she is serving in this capacity.

2. Representative for the Accused

The Representative, as appointed by the Chief Justice or selected by the accused and approved by the Chief Justice, shall:

  1. meet with the accused prior to the preliminary review to discuss the case and explain procedures;
  2. be present at the preliminary review as an observer;
  3. listen to all testimony in the Honor Court proceedings and question witnesses;
  4. maintain the confidentiality of the accused.

The Representative will not vote on cases for which he/she is serving in this capacity.

3. Voting Members

The appropriate number of voting members shall be appointed by the Chief Justice for each case. The voting members shall fully participate in the proceedings. This participation will include hearing all testimony, questioning witnesses at the hearing, deliberating, and voting.

4. Non-voting Members

Any remaining members may participate in the case proceedings. This participation may include hearing all testimony, questioning witnesses, and deliberating. The non-voting members will not vote on the decision or penalty.

Section Seven: Faculty Advisors

The Honor Court shall select three members of the full-time faculty, one from each of the three academic divisions of the College, to serve as faculty advisors. The three faculty members will serve staggered three-year terms so that typically there is only one new faculty advisor each year. Selection of the next year’s new faculty member will be made by the end of the Spring semester. Faculty members cannot serve more than one term consecutively. At least one advisor must be present at all proceedings. The advisors may hear all testimony, question witnesses, and participate in deliberations.

Faculty advisors are not voting members of the Court.

Section Eight: Impeachment Proceedings.

Any member of the Honor Court may be removed from office by a 2/3 vote of the student members of the Honor Court for:

  1. consistent failure to discharge duties;
  2. conviction of an Honor Code offense;
  3. breach of confidentiality; or
  4. giving inappropriate advice to the accuser or accused.

The member under consideration for removal may not vote in the removal proceedings.

ARTICLE IV. Orientation Procedures of the Honor System

Section One:

Responsibility for conducting the Honor System orientation shall rest upon the Honor Court.

Section Two: Presentation to the Faculty

At the beginning of each school year, the Faculty shall be briefed on the Honor System by the current Chief Justice of the Honor Court, or a representative of that body and made aware of their responsibilities. The responsibilities of the faculty as outlined in this Constitution, Article V, shall be stressed as being an integral part of the Honor System.

Section Three: Presentation to New Students

The current Honor Court shall be responsible for explaining the purposes and operations of the Honor System to all new students at Orientation. However, it is the students’ responsibility to familiarize themselves with the Honor System.

Section Four: Presentation to the Student Body

Each semester an effort shall be made by the Honor Court to inform the student body of the purposes and procedures of the Honor System.

ARTICLE V. Faculty Responsibilities

  1. As a member of the Centenary Community, each faculty member is responsible for reporting all cases of suspected cheating on tests, plagiarism, and other violations of the Honor Code to the Court, rather than handling the case and penalty personally.
  2. Faculty shall treat any suspected violation of the Honor Code confidentially except in communication with the Honor Court.
  3. Faculty members shall abide by the decision of the Court in assigning a grade to any student found guilty of a violation of the Honor Code.
  4. In their classes faculty members shall:
  1. Inform students verbally and in writing on the course syllabus of regulations that apply to academic integrity in their courses, and make clear to what extent collaborative work or exchange of aid and information (studying together, tutoring, proof-reading of papers) is acceptable.
  2. Constructively admonish students who they feel are drifting into questionable practices.
  3. Explain directions on examinations (preferably in writing), especially any limitations on students’ whereabouts while taking the exam and any restrictions on use or possession of cell phones or other electronic devices, and inform students of their own whereabouts during an examination should questions arise.
  4. Instruct students to write and sign the Honor Code on each test and each piece of work that is to be done independently. In the case of electronically submitted assignments, the instructor shall establish a policy for students to attest to their adherence to the Honor Code.
  5. Impress upon students their responsibility to report all suspected instances of cheating, plagiarism, or other violations of both the Honor Code and the class requirements.
  6. Explain all requirements for take-home tests.

ARTICLE VI. Student Responsibilities

  1. Students should make every effort to place themselves in the classroom seating arrangement so as to minimize the suspicion of a violation.
  2. Students should remove all notebooks, textbooks, and other written material from their desks. Only exam material should be within view.
  3. Students should check with professors concerning any questions about papers.
  4. Students should realize that permission for combined work on projects and assignments does not necessarily imply authorized collaboration on resulting papers and reports.

ARTICLE VII. Grounds for Conviction for a Violation of the Honor Code

Section One: Violations on Tests and Examinations

The following constitute violations on tests and examinations:

  1. Using notes, textbooks, or other reference material during a test or examination unless specifically authorized by the instructor of the class.
  2. Looking on the test paper of another student in the class.
  3. Giving or receiving unauthorized aid verbally or in writing.
  4. Failure to adhere to specific requirements of the professor.

Section Two. Violations on Papers

The following constitute violations on papers:

  1. Plagiarism, which is defined as borrowing phrases, ideas, or other material (e.g., maps and charts) from any source without giving adequate credit;
  2. Submitting any work which has been submitted for credit in another course without permission. For courses during the same semester, permission from both instructors is required.
  3. Failure to adhere to the specific requirements of the professor.

Section Three: Violations on All Other Assignments

Falsifying data or representing other people’s work as your own are considered violations of the Honor Code. Individual faculty members may have additional requirements for written homework, lab reports, tutoring, and other work. It is the student’s responsibility to know how the Honor Code governs these requirements. Failure to adhere to these requirements is a violation of the Honor Code.

Clarifications and Exceptions

1. On papers professors may:

  1. prohibit proofreading by parties other than the author;
  2. prescribe limitations on the sources to be used;
  3. make special stipulations concerning crediting of sources;
  4. grant permission to any student to submit any work which he/she has submitted for credit in any other course.

2. On written homework and laboratory reports, students may:

  1. work together provided that each member of the group understands the work being done, and the instructor has authorized this procedure;
  2. report their individual data as observed in their experiment.

3. On written homework and laboratory reports, professors may

  1. require that all or part of the assignment be done by each student individually;
  2. require that secondary sources consulted be credited.

4. Students may receive aid on assignments from the Academic Research Center or other college sanctioned tutoring services, unless explicitly prohibited by the professor. Other aid from tutors on graded work must be approved by the professor.

Section Four. Failure to Appear

If the accused fails to appear, or fails to submit an adequate excuse for not appearing to the Court prior to the preliminary review or hearing, he/she may receive an Honor Court conviction. If the accuser or called witness(es)fail to appear, he/she may be fined for obstruction of proceedings.

ARTICLE VIII. Reporting a Suspected Violation

Anyone suspecting that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred, shall report this suspicion to either the Chief Justice or one of the Faculty Advisors. All communications with the Honor Court must be written and signed. All communication shall be confidential and known only to the members of the Honor Court, including the names of the accused and the accuser. The Honor Court members are required to keep all information received confidential.

Any student neglecting to report a witnessed violation of the Honor Code may be summoned to appear before the Honor Court and may be convicted for an Honor Code violation.

ARTICLE IX. Procedures

Section One: Preliminary Actions

  1. After receiving notice of a suspected Honor Code violation, the Honor Court shall have three regular class days to send written notice of the violation to the accused. A regular class day shall be defined as any day during the Fall or Spring semesters that classes are in session.
  2. From the date the notice is sent, the accused shall have at least three regular class days, but under normal circumstances no more than seven, to prepare for the preliminary review. The accused has the right to waive the preparation period.
  3. During the preparation period a Representative for the accused will be appointed by the Chief Justice or chosen by the accused and approved by the Chief Justice. The accused has the right to waive representation.

Section Two: Preliminary Review

  1. The accused shall be called before the Honor Court. Those present must include the Chief Justice, the Clerk, the Investigating Officer, a Faculty Advisor, the Accused, and the Representative for the Accused. The other members of the Court are often present as well. Other than the accused, no one that is not a member of the Honor Court will be allowed into the preliminary review.
  2. At this review, the Investigating Officer shall present the case to all present. After the case is presented, the Chief Justice shall ask the accused to enter a plea of either NOT GUILTY or GUILTY. In the case of a guilty plea, which is binding, the Chief Justice shall advise the accused of his/her right to make a statement to the Court.
  3. If the accused wishes to make a statement at that time, the statement shall be recorded by the Clerk.
    Alternatively, the accused may submit a statement in writing for the Honor Court to consider during the penalty deliberation.
  4. In the case of a not guilty plea, the Chief Justice shall set a date for a full hearing to be held.

Section Three: Honor Court Proceedings

1. The Honor Court shall meet at a time and place specified by the Chief Justice. A complete list of witnesses shall be provided to the Chief Justice by the Investigating Officer and/or the Representative for the accused at least twenty-four hours prior to the hearing. Those participating in the hearing, in any capacity, have the responsibility to maintain confidentiality. Other than the accused, the accuser, and the called witnesses, no one that is not a member of the Honor Court will be allowed into the proceeding.

2. All students and faculty members shall appear before the Court when requested to do so. The Chief Justice shall determine in what order witnesses shall be called from the witness list.

3. Procedures for the Hearing

  1. Those present for the entire hearing shall include the Representative for the accused, the Investigating Officer and the voting members of the Honor Court.
  2. Prior to any testimony, the Chief Justice will appoint the five voting members from the Honor Court members present. The Chief Justice may select up to two alternate voters to serve in case one of the original five is unable to be present for all testimony.
  3. The Investigating Officer shall present any new information pertaining to the case and the Chief Justice will then ask if the accused wishes to change the original plea of not guilty.
  4. If the accused changes his/her plea to guilty, the Chief Justice shall advise the accused of his/her right to make a statement to the Court. If the accused does not change his/her plea, the hearing will continue.
  5. Witnesses are called by the Chief Justice one at a time.
  6. Questioning shall begin with the Investigating Officer, then the Representative of the accused, and
    finally the members of the Court.
  7. Conviction of any student shall always require the vote of four of the five voting members present in favor of conviction.
  8. If the accused is convicted of a violation, the Court will determine the penalty. The penalty will be decided by a majority vote of the five voting members.
  9. As soon as a decision is reached, the accused shall receive written notice of the decision (by email and hard copy letter in the accused’s campus mail box) within three regular class days except under very exceptional circumstances.

ARTICLE X. Penalties

1. For conviction on the first offense, the Honor Court has the option of the following penalties:

  1. no further penalty.
  2. the option to redo the work with no grade assessed to the original work. The new work shall be submitted to the professor for a grade. Should the student fail to submit the new work within a time limit agreed upon by the student and the professor, the work shall receive a grade of zero.
  3. the option to redo the work with a set maximum grade (which is determined by the Court) that may be earned on the redone work.
  4. “F” on the work. The numerical value of the “F” is to be determined by the teacher of the course with the stipulation that the “F” be less than any honestly obtained “F” on the work by any member of the class (or group of classes).
  5. zero on the work.
  6. “F” in the course.
  7. “F” in the course with a recommendation to the Provost of the College for suspension for a semester.
  8. “F” in the course with a recommendation to the Provost of the College for dismissal from the College.

2. Any piece of work on which the Honor Court makes a ruling may not be dropped by a professor.

3. Conviction on subsequent offenses will result in an automatic penalty of “F” in the course and referral to the Provost with a recommendation of dismissal from the College. If the accused wishes to appeal the recommendation of dismissal, he/she must submit an appeal in writing to the Provost within seven regular class days of written notification of conviction by outlining the reason(s) for appeal. The Provost must hold any recommendation of dismissal for seven days to allow time for proper appeal before making a final decision. Instructions on the appeals process can be found in Article XI.

ARTICLE XI. Appeals

  1. The Chief Justice or his or her representative must advise defendants of their right to appeal and to whom the appeal should be addressed. Only the faculty advisor(s)to the Honor Court may provide guidelines to defendants on the appeal process, the writing of an appeal, or possible outcomes of an appeal.
  2. Appeals of any penalty or of a recommendation for expulsion shall be addressed to the Provost, in written form, within seven regular class days of written notification of conviction and/or recommendation of expulsion by outlining the reason(s) for appeal. The Provost will forward the appeal to the Appeals Committee, made up of an Associate Dean, a student member of the Honor Court who did not vote or serve as a representative or investigating officer on the case, and a former faculty advisor to the Honor Court. The accused will be given the opportunity to present his/her case for appeal to this Appeals Committee. In addition, the Chief Justice and any other members of the Honor Court, as are necessary will be given an opportunity to present the Court’s rationale for the decision to the Appeals Committee. The Appeals Committee will decide whether the appeal is justified and send their decision to the Provost. A final decision on whether or not the conviction should be overturned will be made by the Provost and shall be considered final.

Note that students who are still dissatisfied with the final decision can appeal further to the President. As is stated in the Student Handbook, the President is a last source of appeal “This obligation is reserved for emergency or extraordinary circumstances only.”

ARTICLE XII. Finals Week, Module, and Summer Sessions

Section One. Finals Week

Reports of violations during final exam week shall be as follows:

  1. The student will receive an “I” for the course. The Chief Justice of the Court will notify the faculty member of the course to turn in an “I” for this student.
  2. Within seven working days after being notified of a suspected violation, the Chief Justice or a faculty advisor to the Honor Court shall inform the student in writing. If the student’s permanent mailing address is available, a certified letter will be sent to that address. In all cases, a letter will be sent through campus mail notifying the student of the alleged violation.
  3. The preliminary review will be held within fifteen regular class days after the start of the next regular (Fall or Spring) semester and the student will be notified of the hearing date, time, and place no later than the seventh regular class day.
  4. Oral or written statements shall be considered official testimony from individuals involved in the case who do not return for the next semester (Fall to Spring, Spring to Fall).

Section Two. Module and Summer Sessions

Reports of violations during Module and Summer Sessions shall be processed as follows:

  1. The student will receive an “I” for the course. The Chief Justice of the Court will notify the faculty member of the course to turn in an “I” for this student.
  2. Within seven working days after being notified of a suspected violation, the Chief Justice or a faculty advisor to the Honor Court shall inform the student, in writing. If the student’s permanent mailing address is available, a certified letter will be sent to that address. In all cases, a letter will be sent through campus mail notifying the student of the alleged violation.
  3. A preliminary review will be held within fifteen regular class days after the start of the next regular (Fall or Spring) semester and the student will be notified of the hearing date, time, and place no later than the seventh regular class day.
  4. Oral or written statements shall be considered official testimony from individuals involved in the case who do not return for the next semester (Fall to Spring, Spring to Fall).

ARTICLE XIII. Amendments/Revisions

Section One: Proposal

Amendments to and/or revisions of this constitution may originate with either the Honor Court or the Student Government Association. Suggestions for amendments may be submitted to either body.

Section Two: Ratification

  1. Proposed changes to the Honor Court Constitution originating in the Student Government Association shall be approved by the Honor Court with a 4/5 majority vote. Changes originating in the Honor Court must be approved by the Student Government Association with a 2/3 majority vote.
  2. Changes must be approved by the faculty and, in a general election, by 2/3 majority of the voting student body to become a part of this constitution. Approval may be made first by either body.
  3. The changes shall take effect immediately upon ratification.
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