Campus / News / February 20, 2013

Honor Code Review Committee recommendations


The Honor Code Review Committee has delivered its recommendations on how to update the Honor Board Constitution. Below are the proposed changes. These changes still require the approval of the Student Senate, the Academic Standing Committee and the current Honor Board in order to be put into effect. The full report is available at

 1.  Replace all references to “guilt” and “innocence” with “responsible” and “not responsible,” respectively.

2.  Require complainant to complete a standard reporting form for each case of alleged academic dishonesty.

3.  For first offenses only, a full hearing could be replaced by a conference that includes the complainant (typically faculty), the respondent and one or two members of Honor Board.

4.  For each hearing going before the Board, both complainant and respondent will be provided with an adviser (either selected from the Honor Board itself or chosen by the person him/herself). Such advisors can take active roles in preparing both complainants and respondents for hearings.

5.  All respondents who wish to present “non-accusatory” testimony regarding extenuating circumstances must provide documentation (most notably in cases where alleged medical or psychological difficulties pertain) at least 72 hours before the hearing.

6.  Prohibit all interested parties in an HB hearing from waiting in or near the building where a hearing is being held to prevent confrontations.

7.  The HB co-chair who presides at a hearing should do so without a vote.

8.  Make all evidence collected by the co-chair for an HB hearing available in a secure location at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.

9.  Change existing language regarding the required burden of proof from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “clear and convincing” or “preponderance of evidence.”

10.  Increase the size of the Honor Board and adjust accordingly the number of votes necessary to find a respondent “responsible.”

11. Adjust how many offenses a respondent must typically have before expulsion is a penalty option.  (Seriously considering adopting a “three strikes” model.)

12.  Require a review meeting (Honor Board, dean, associate dean and president) whenever a significant number of case verdicts or penalties are overturned within a particular span of time (e.g., more than 15 percent of cases in a 12-month period).

13.  Charge the HB Selection Committee each year with achieving a balance of representation with regard to academic division and gender and to take care to include international students, students of color, low-income and first-generation college students.  (This goal may require an overall increase in the number of students appointed to the HB.)

14.  Allow upperclassmen as well as freshman students to apply for positions on the Honor Board.

15.  Change the point at which members are appointed as co-chairs, perhaps deciding one year in advance.

Tags:  honor board honor code review committee

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Matt Barry
Matt Barry is a senior majoring in international relations and double minoring in economics and German. This is his third year working for TKS, having served previously as discourse editor. He has worked for such organizations as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Premier Tourism Marketing and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago, where his work appeared in such publications as Leisure Group Travel, Ski & Ride Club Guide and The Chicago Monitor. Matt has written his political opinion column, "The Voice of Reason," weekly for three years, which finished in first place at the 2012 Illinois College Press Association conference and was also recognized at the 2013 conference.

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1 Comment

Feb 27, 2013

9. Change existing language regarding the required burden of proof from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “clear and convincing” or “preponderance of evidence.”

I believe that it should be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a student is responsible for violating the Honor Code. This wording puts a necessary responsibility on the complainant bringing forth a case that could ultimately seriously effect a student’s reputation and academic standing. It is necessary to protect students.

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