I. The Honor Code and Introduction to the Honor System
II. History of the Honor Board
III. Administration of the Honor System Procedures of the Honor System
We, the students of Barnard College, resolve to uphold the honor of the College by refraining from every form of dishonesty in our academic life. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any papers or books not authorized by the instructor in examinations, or to present others’ work as our own. We consider it dishonest to remove without authorization, alter, or deface library and other academic materials. We pledge to do all that is in our power to create a spirit of honesty and honor for its own sake.
The Honor Code is a vital part of the Barnard community because it helps to shape the character of Barnard College. The “Honor System” refers to the combination of the Honor Code, the Honor Board, and the members of the entire Barnard community who together strive toward building a community of academic integrity.
The Honor Code was approved by student vote on January 9, 1912. Today, a century later, the Code continues to shape the distinctive culture of the College. Barnard students enrolled in Columbia courses are bound by the Code, as are Columbia students enrolled in Barnard courses.
Based on the recognition that academic integrity requires active commitment by all members of the community, the Honor System has evolved from focusing primarily on the responsibility of students to a system involving shared responsibility.
The Honor Board is responsible for administering the Honor System by developing and upholding the rules of procedure and educating the community about the Honor System.
A. Composition of the Honor Board
The Honor Board is composed of no fewer than eight, and no more than twelve, student members from the sophomore, junior and senior classes and up to three faculty members, all of whom have voting privileges. The student members select a student Chair and Co-Chair from among the most senior members.
Students apply for Honor Board membership in the spring semester. All applications are reviewed by current student members, and final decisions are made after interviews. Three faculty members are appointed by the Faculty Governance and Procedures Committee for overlapping, two-year terms.
Students and faculty members who are selected to serve on the Board are expected to exhibit sensitivity, integrity, professionalism in their actions, and to respect privacy and confidentiality in this role. The Dean of Studies (or designee) serves as adviser to the Board. Regular attendance at meetings and a high level of involvement are requisite components of membership on the Honor Board.
A member who regularly fails to attend scheduled meetings and hearings or to meet any other Honor Board obligation will be contacted by either the Dean of Studies or the Chair of the Honor Board to encourage a higher level of participation. If attendance or participation does not improve, however, the member may be dismissed from the Honor Board.
B. Responsibilities of the Honor Board
The Honor Board is responsible for developing and following its rules of procedure, in consultation with the adviser to the Board, and for educating the community about the Honor System.
To fulfill its educational role, the Honor Board:
The procedures of the Honor System are designed with these goals in mind:
Reports to the Dean of Studies regarding possible infractions can come from several sources, namely faculty, students, staff, and administrators. The procedures of the Honor System allow for the potential resolution of an allegation of dishonesty at several levels, and are depicted in the diagram below.
A thorough explanation of the diagram is provided in the following text.
A. Disciplinary Sanctions:
Sanctions include, but are not limited to:
In addition, educational projects, follow up meetings, counseling referral, or other appropriate treatment or actions may be required. This is consistent with the Honor Board’s goals of education, remediation, and support.
B. The Honor Process Carried Out By Faculty:
Any and all appeals following the admission of responsibility are restricted to appeal of the sanction imposed.
C. The Honor Process Through Dean’s Discipline
A letter detailing the Dean’s actions is also forwarded to the instructor who initiated the allegation, if applicable.
D. Honor Board Hearings
1. Arranging a Hearing
Once a student contests a charge or requests sanction determination by the Board, the Dean (or designee) informs the Honor Board that a hearing will be required. The Board, in consultation with the Dean, sets a date for the hearing, and the respondent is notified by e-mail of the date, time, and location of the hearing. The hearing may take place no sooner than four days nor more than thirty days after the date of the meeting notice letter unless all parties agree that a hearing shall be scheduled sooner. Any delays in scheduling will be clearly communicated to all parties.
2. Pre-Hearing Procedures
a. Responsibilities of the Dean of Studies
At least three days prior to the scheduled hearing, the Dean of Studies (or Class Dean or designee) must inform the student of her rights pertaining to the hearing, including:
In addition, the Dean shares any relevant documentation with the members of the Honor Board and with the respondent. The student’s name and address do not appear on any documents. The student must be provided with a list of the names of the current members of the Honor Board. If the student has any concern about whether a particular Honor Board member should hear the case, she may express that concern to the Dean. Based on this information, the Dean may request that the Board consider whether to exclude that member from the hearing. The student and members of the Board are not to discuss the case with one another or with others outside of the hearing process. Prior to the hearing, any questions regarding process or expectations should be directed to the Dean, Officer of Record, or Dean’s designee.
b. Responsibilities of the Honor Board
Before conducting a hearing, the Board receives material from the Dean detailing the alleged violation and relevant evidence. All details of the case must be kept in the strictest confidence. The evidence is reviewed by Board members prior to the hearing, and the review serves as the basis for any questioning by the Board during the hearing.
The Board also decides who will be summoned to participate, and informs potential witnesses of the hearing. (Character witnesses are not allowed during the hearing; however, if the respondent so requests, character witnesses may submit letters on behalf of the respondent. Such letters are not considered in the determination of responsibility for violation(s) and should be limited to two.)
3. Hearing Protocol
A quorum consisting of five voting members, of which student members are the majority, is needed for a hearing. Additional Board members (up to four) may be present to observe as alternates (and for training purposes), but decision making is determined by the five Board members identified as serving in the given case. The final decision is made by the majority of the voting Board members. In the unusual circumstance that five current members are unavailable, students or faculty members who served on the Board in the recent past may be called upon to constitute a quorum.
Hearings are limited to members of (or participating alternates to) the Board, the Officer of Record, and the respondent. Those witnesses summoned to appear, or any others designated by the Board, participate as requested and are not present for the entirety of the hearing. The Officer of Record, designated by the Dean of Studies, maintains a record of the hearing.
The respondent is allowed the support of an adviser, who must be a current member of the Barnard faculty, administration, staff, or student body. Prior to the hearing, the respondent must inform the Dean of the name of the adviser. The adviser may be present throughout the student’s appearance to provide support and speak with the respondent as needed, but the adviser may not address the Board and is not an active participant in the process.
All testimony at a hearing is audio-recorded to document the evidence relevant to a case. The Board may use the recording to come to a decision or determine a sanction, or the recording may be forwarded for review in case of an appeal. For a period of seven business days after the issuance of the Board’s decision, a respondent or the alleging instructor (if applicable) may listen to the recordings, by appointment, in the office of the Dean of Studies.
Although there is considerable flexibility in hearing procedures, the following paradigm is provided for guidance:
4. Honor Board Determinations
The evidence is considered during deliberation after all witnesses have been heard. During Board discussion, the five deciding members can review and discuss amongst themselves the information and evidence. The majority of Board members must agree on a decision utilizing a more likely than not standard, meaning that based upon the available information related to the case, the Board will determine whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Honor Code occurred. Once a decision is determined, all members of the Board agree that this is the outcome of the Board. The Dean of Studies does not vote, but as adviser, s/he may answer questions related to process, and is available should the Board wish to consult him or her. If a student is found to be responsible for violation of the Honor Code, the Board will determine the appropriate sanction(s) within five business days of the end of the hearing.
Each case is considered individually. At a minimum, a student found responsible for any violation of the Honor Code will be placed on disciplinary warning. If the respondent has any academic disciplinary history, her disciplinary status is shared with the Board only after a finding of responsibility, as prior history is a factor in determining sanction(s). If a disciplinary warning was imposed for previous violations, further violations will likely lead to disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion. The Board may consult the Dean of Studies to determine an appropriate sanction. Disciplinary sanctions are described above, in section IV A.
Any student who receives a disciplinary sanction, excluding a warning, becomes ineligible to run for or continue in any elected office for at least one year, meaning the two semesters following the situation’s resolution. This outcome is in effect following the period of appeal. The graduation date of a student who receives disciplinary probation in her senior year is delayed if the end of the probationary period designated follows her completion of degree requirements. Such disciplinary sanction(s) may be shared with organization, athletic, or academic program advisers, where deemed appropriate.
5. Post-hearing Procedures
The Officer of Record notifies the student and relevant parties by email within five business days of the Board’s determination. Unless otherwise noted, only if the student is suspended or expelled do her parents receive a copy of the letter. If a student admits to or is found responsible for any violation of the Honor Code, a record of the violation is kept in a disciplinary file in the Office of the Dean of Studies for ten years from the student’s date of graduation. Support of applications for transfer, graduate study or employment may be affected by a record of a student’s violation of the Honor Code. Although the College will not voluntarily divulge information about disciplinary action, a direct question from a school or employer regarding a violation will be answered truthfully.
Grounds and Timing for Appeals
An appeal request must be submitted in writing, detailing the reason for appeal, to the Dean of Studies within five business days of the date of the decision letter. Instructions regarding a request for appeal will be provided with the decision and sanction information.
Students may appeal for three reasons:
If the Dean of Studies (or designee) determines that an appeal request meets one of the above criteria, an appeal request based upon process violations or new information will be referred for a new hearing. Once it is determined that the case will be reheard, a review hearing is to be scheduled within thirty days.
If only the sanction decision is to be reviewed, the Dean of the College or her designee will review the case and make a final determination of sanction within ten business days of granting the review of sanction(s).
Any appeal request that is reviewed may result in one of the following:
Nota Bene: These guidelines are subject to amendment from time to time at the discretion of the Honor Board and without prior notice.
Barnard Resources and Academic Support Services
The mission of the Honor Board is to foster academic integrity through continual community building. While the Honor Code articulates the overall goals of the College to provide a sound academic environment that promotes leadership in the classroom, our aim is to provide a close knit community in which respect for ideas is preserved and academic integrity may flourish.
As always, the Honor Board seeks greater interaction with the student body and welcomes inquiries and comments. We are here for you as a peer resource that wishes to guide you through your academic journey. You may reach us via our webpage (the address is below). The following are some helpful campus resources that will support you in your time at Barnard.
Erica Jong Writing Center223 and 224 Barnard Hall, x48941
Math Help Room
334 Milbank, x43577
Dean of Studies Office
Barnard Personal Librarian Program
Furman Counseling Services
First Floor Hewitt, x42092
Office of Disability Services
Barnard Primary Care Health Service
Lower Level Brooks, x42091
Your adviser and class dean are also valuable resources!
Meet with the Deans
Visit the Honor Board website: