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Public Summaries

These public summaries are meant to better inform the University student body about the workings of the Honor System in regard to the major issues brought forth at Honor hearings. These summaries are in no way meant or permitted to be used as a system of precedent, binding or otherwise. Per the Honor Committee’s By-laws, Public Summaries are not relevant evidence at Honor hearings. Each case reported to the Honor Committee is judged independently on the specific facts of that case at each stage of the adjudicative process.

The male pronoun is used only for consistency. All public summaries are meant to be gender-neutral.

Public Summaries from February 17 to December 7, 2015

Conscientious Retractions

The Honor System permits a student to atone for his or her mistakes by filing a Conscientious Retraction (CR). A valid and complete CR involves the admission of a possible Honor Offense before the student has reason to believe that such offense has come under suspicion by anyone.

CR 1: In April, a student filed a CR for cheating on a homework assignment by collaborating with another student.
CR 2: In November, a student submitted a CR for giving unauthorized aid to two students working on a take-home exam.

Informed Retractions

The Informed Retraction (IR) permits a student to atone for his or her mistakes after an Honor Report has been made. An IR is predicated on a student taking responsibility for the commission of an Honor Offense and making amends with all affected parties. A student must then take a two-semester leave of absence from the University.

IR 1: In May, a student filed an IR for cheating on a computer science homework assignment by copying code from another student.
IR 2: In May, a student filed an IR for plagiarizing his part of a group assignment.
IR 3: In May, a student filed an IR for submitting as her own a student’s assignment from a previous year.
IR 4: In September, a student filed an IR for plagiarizing elements of a final paper in an economics class.
IR 5: In October, a student filed an IR for lying about an exam grade using a fabricated test in order to have the TA change his grade in the grade book.
IR 7: In October, a student filed an IR for lying about reasons for needing to withdraw from a summer class.
IR 8: In November, a student filed an IR for stealing by finding another student’s wallet and using his credit card to pay for groceries.

Leaving Admitting Guilt

At any point during the Honor process, a student may waive his or her right to an investigation and/or hearing and Leave Admitting Guilt (“LAG”).

LAG 1:  In October, a student Left Admitting Guilt for stealing medical equipment during his medical rotations.

Honor Hearings

Hearing 1: A student in the College of Arts & Sciences was accused of Cheating on four laboratory reports in a Chemistry class. The case was reported by the professor. The Community argued that the student plagiarized significant portions of text and figures from a previous year’s student. Moreover, the Community argued that the student admitted to committing an Honor offense in an exchange of emails with the professor. The Accused Student argued that scientific writing is restrictive and reports are expected to have similarities. The student met with the previous year’s student to gain clarity on the structure and format of the lab reports and to learn how to concisely write the reports. A panel of randomly-selected students found the Accused Student guilty.

Hearing 2: A student in the College of Arts and Sciences was accused of cheating on a final exam by using unauthorized resources. Another student in the course reported the case. The Community argued that the student was witnessed accessing both electronic and paper resources repeatedly throughout the exam. They argued that the accused student’s recounting of the events in question were inconsistent with the resources turned in at the end of the exam. They argued that the use of these unauthorized resources would constitute cheating and be incompatible with a Community of Trust. The accused student argued that she only used authorized paper resources, including sheets of scratch paper designed for calculations, and that while her electronic resource was not in fact an authorized resource, it was used only for authorized functions. This function included primarily its use as a calculator, and that she derived no tangible benefit beyond what was explicitly allowed for the final exam.  A panel of randomly-selected students found the Accused Student not guilty on the basis of Significance.

Hearing 3: A student in the College of Arts and Sciences was accused of cheating on several homework assignments in a computer science class and then lying about his actions. The case was reported by the course professor. After the professor received the homework assignments (all submitted at once after their deadlines had passed), he determined that it was very likely that the Accused Student copied large sections of code from his lab partner. The professor subsequently confronted both students and ultimately decided that only the Accused Student was involved in the act of cheating. The Community argued that the Accused Student copied the work of another student in the class — the Accused Student’s lab partner — and then turned in the work claiming it as his own. The Accused Student, while acknowledging that the assignments were submitted through his email account and likely copied from another student, argued that he did not actually send those emails or even complete the assignments in the first place. The Accused Student then suggested that it was possible another person had access to his NetBadge account and independently submitted the homework assignments. The Community countered that it would be highly difficult for another student to gain access to his NetBadge account, carry on a conversation with the professor over many hours, and know exactly which homework assignments to submit for credit, all without the Accused Student’s knowledge. The Community concluded by arguing the Accused Student submitted the homework assignments knowing that they were copied, and then knowingly lied about it to avoid further consequences, two acts that are detrimental to the Community of Trust. A mixed panel of randomly-selected students and Committee members found the student guilty of both lying and cheating.

Hearing 4: A student in the College was accused of cheating by using unauthorized materials on a closed-book in-class exam in a history class. The case was reported by a student who was sitting behind the accused student. The Community argued that the student had several scraps of paper that appeared to be ripped from a notebook paper and that the student was consistently taking them out of his pocket, shielding them from the students around him and studying the notes on the scraps. The Community also claimed that the student did well on the relatively fact-based portion of the exam because of the notes and poorly on the analytical portion.  The Accused argued that the scraps of paper were gum wrappers, and that the student did not cheat on the exam. He simply replaced his gum two or three times throughout the exam period. Because the reporter did not directly see any written material on the scraps of paper, they claimed the student could not be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  A mixed panel of Committee members and randomly-selected student panelists found the student not guilty because there was not enough evidence outside of the testimony of one eye-witness (the reporter) to prove that cheating occurred beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hearing 5: A student in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was accused of cheating on an assignment by soliciting unauthorized aid on an online platform of freelancers. The case was reported by the professor for the course. The Community argued that the Accused Student posted on the website in order to have a freelancer complete the final report of his assignment and that the freelancers potentially contributed to his submitted. The Community argued that a reasonable student would know this use of unauthorized aid would constitute an act of cheating. The Accused Student argued he only sought help from freelancers in order to learn from their work and improve his independently-completed assignment, and that he did not ultimately receive any assistance from the freelancers with whom he was in contact. A panel of randomly-selected students found the Accused Student not guilty of cheating on the basis of Act and Knowledge.