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Honor Code

What the Honor Code Is

The Honor Code is the university's statement on academic integrity written by students in 1921. It articulates university expectations of students and faculty in establishing and maintaining the highest standards in academic work.

Honor Code

  1. The Honor Code is an undertaking of the students, individually and collectively:
    • that they will not give or receive aid in examinations; that they will not give or receive unpermitted aid in class work, in the preparation of reports, or in any other work that is to be used by the instructor as the basis of grading;
    • that they will do their share and take an active part in seeing to it that others as well as themselves uphold the spirit and letter of the Honor Code.
  2. The faculty on its part manifests its confidence in the honor of its students by refraining from proctoring examinations and from taking unusual and unreasonable precautions to prevent the forms of dishonesty mentioned above. The faculty will also avoid, as far as practicable, academic procedures that create temptations to violate the Honor Code.
  3. While the faculty alone has the right and obligation to set academic requirements, the students and faculty will work together to establish optimal conditions for honorable academic work.

Violations of the Honor Code

Examples of conduct that have been regarded as being in violation of the Honor Code include:

  • Copying from another’s examination paper or allowing another to copy from one’s own paper
  • Unpermitted collaboration
  • Plagiarism
  • Revising and resubmitting a quiz or exam for regrading, without the instructor’s knowledge and consent
  • Giving or receiving unpermitted aid on a take-home examination
  • Representing as one’s own work the work of another
  • Giving or receiving aid on an academic assignment under circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that such aid was not permitted

Sanctions for Violating the Honor Code

In recent years, most student disciplinary cases have involved Honor Code violations; of these, the most frequent arise when a student submits another’s work as their own, or gives or receives unpermitted aid. The standard sanction for a first offense includes a one-quarter suspension from the University and 40 hours of community service. In addition, most faculty members issue a "No Pass" or "No Credit" for the course in which the violation occurred. The standard sanction for multiple violations (e.g. cheating more than once in the same course) is a three-quarter suspension and 40 or more hours of community service.

Honor Code and the Remote Environment

Please see the following resources for more information about how the Honor Code applies to the remote teaching and learning environment:

Common Misconceptions

If asked what constitutes a violation of the Honor Code, most students might say "copying," "cheating" or "plagiarism." As examples, they may think of someone purchasing a paper and submitting it for class, or looking over someone’s shoulder during an exam.
However, some Honor Code concerns are more subtle. They may seem perfectly OK to the person committing violation. They may even be OK in non-academic settings. Unfortunately, merely having benign intentions is not enough.


Here are some examples.

Copying and Plagiarism

Example 1—Computer Science

Most people know that you are not allowed to look over someone’s shoulder during an exam and use their answers as your own. Suppose, though, that you are writing code for a computer science project, and use code from a website for a minor function that is not crucial to the main goal of the assignment. This is still a violation of the Honor Code, because you are submitting the work as your own, rather than writing the code yourself. While it’s true that in the real world, reusing code, particularly if it is efficient, is desirable, while you are in class, you are being graded on what you can write yourself.

Example 2—The Humanities

You read a book and write your paper about the same concept that the book discussed. Do you need to cite the book?
Yes, you do. Not citing concepts, premises and ideas is plagiarism just as much as failing to cite specific text. It is also a violation of the Honor Code.

 

Unpermitted Collaboration

Example 1—Take-home Exam

Generally, the rules of take-home exams state that you can’t share your answers with others in the class. However, you are also not allowed to create outlines together or "prepare" your answers in some other way once the exam has been distributed.

Example 2—Lab Class

In laboratory experiment courses a student "submitting work (including work on protocols, problem sets, and lab reports) that is identical or very similar to his/her partner's work, either in organization or structure, is a violation of the Honor Code. Specifically, this means that sharing of any written material is a violation." (Introductory Experimental Biology: Stanford University)

You may have a lab partner in such classes, and work on the experiments together. Isn’t it natural in those cases to share information for the lab reports? Not if you are responsible for submitting lab reports individually.

Example 3—Computer Science

You have a bug in the program you are writing, and can’t find it. Your roommate offers to help you with debugging. She may suggest strategies for debugging the code, but she may not look at your code for you and tell you where the bug is—not even if you sit together and look for the bug. Again, you and you alone are responsible for the work you submit in class. While you may collaborate with others when you write code at an internship or elsewhere, doing so for coursework is a violation of the Honor Code.

 

Dual Submission of Work

Example—The Humanities

You wrote a paper last year for a History class that would be perfect, with some minor changes, for the Feminist Studies class you are taking this quarter. You did all the work yourself, properly cited everything…it should be OK, right?
No, submitting work more than once is a violation of the Honor Code—unless you have sought and been granted your professor’s approval.