Honor Code (with Honor Council Bylaws)
Honor Code Violation Allegation Forms for Faculty
Honor Code Violation Allegation Forms for Students & Staff
Possible Syllabus Text


Academic Honor Code FAQ's


What are the mitigating factors that could influence my sanction if found responsible?

There are three mitigating factors which could influence your sanction.  The first factor is the amount of plagiarism; the second is cooperation before and during a hearing, including entering a plea of responsible; and the third is “extenuating circumstances”.  All of these factors are dependent upon the individual case and may not be used at all if the hearing panel does not find them applicable.

Who can I talk to about acceptable citations before turning in an assignment?

The easiest way to make sure everything with your assignment is in order is to talk with your professors.  They are the ones grading what you turn in, so they know what they expect.  If the professor is unclear or other ambiguities present themselves, ask questions. You can always email the Honor Council to ask questions about proper citations. Finally, consult a style guide such as the MLA Handbook, or the Writing Center in the library.  

What violations are covered by the AHC?

The Academic Honor Council deals strictly with academic integrity violations that occur at any time during any class offered at Trinity.   We have nothing to do with other conduct related violations, such as getting written up for possession of alcohol.

What happens when a complaint is filed against me?

An email will be sent to you informing you that a complaint has been filed and accepted.  Contained within this email will be information regarding the date and time of your hearing.  An advocate-presenter will also get in contact with you to help you prepare for the hearing.  The advocate-presenter is not a legal representative and will only present relevant evidence that you supply.

What recourse do I have to appeal a sanction?

Once a sanction has been issued, there are two ways in which a sanction may be appealed.  The first is if a procedural error occurred during the hearing; however, two faculty advisors are present during each hearing to call points-of-order, which are designed to prevent such errors from occurring.  The second option is if you discover new evidence or witnesses, which completely changes the nature of the case.


What are the baseline sanctions for students found responsible?

All sanctions begin with: an F in the course, a zero on the assignment, Academic Honor Code probation, and completion of a CD-ROM course entitled Honor in Academia. The baseline sanction of an F in the course can be mitigated based on three factors: cooperation, amount of plagiarism, and extenuating circumstances.

How does the Honor Council benefit faculty?

The Honor Council provides an impartial adjudicator for suspected student offenses, allowing the professor to avoid face-to-face confrontation with students. The duty of creating and imposing a sanction against responsible students is also lifted from professors and is conducted in a consistent, impartial manner.

Should I communicate with a student before or after I file a complaint against him/her?

No. Avoid all direct or indirect communication about the case with the student before and after the case. If the case is not accepted, communication with the student regarding the suspected violation should still be avoided.

How do I file a complaint?

All faculty members have the ability to speak confidentially with Dr. Sheryl Tynes, AVPAA, prior to filing a complaint. Complaints should be filed by filling out the form found on the Honor Council website, under the Academics section of Trinity University’s homepage.

What happens once a complaint is accepted?

The External Chair of the Honor Council will contact you to verify that your complaint has been received. You will then be copied on an email sent to the student informing you of the time and place of the hearing, as well as the Honor Council members who will participate in the hearing. Finally, an advocate-presenter will contact you to help present relevant information to the hearing panel.

What should I do to prepare for a hearing?

Your advocate-presenter is not a legal representative, nor is s/he allowed to act in an investigatory capacity. It is the professor’s job to gather relevant evidence and give it to the advocate-presenter. This may include, but is not limited to, finding plagiarized sources online or highlighting plagiarized sections of an essay. (The professor is also responsible for any translation necessary for a foreign language course.) The advocate-presenter will help you develop a narrative account of the violation to be read to the hearing panel; s/he will then present your evidence to the panel.

On what basis can I appeal a sanction?

Faculty cannot appeal decisions based on the belief that the sanction is too light or too harsh. Appeals should be based on substantive reasons for amending the sanction. Appeals may also be based on new evidence or procedural irregularity.  

How do I emphasize the honor code in my classes?

  • Include the honor code text in your syllabus. Because it is a generic text for all departments, you can and should modify it slightly to add relevance to your specific course.
  • Encourage students to ask you about proper citation methods. Do not assume that all students have learned to cite sources or ideas correctly. Pay particular attention to international students who seem to be struggling with citations.
  • Require a works cited section for all research projects.
  • Give examples of what type of citations you expect with projects, presentations, PowerPoint, etc. PowerPoint projects in particular pose difficulties regarding citations. If assigning an “informal” citation style, specify where and what information you expect students to cite in their project.
  • Discuss intellectual property and the ethics of using information in the class.
  • Make sure your syllabi and assignments are very clear about the kinds of collaboration you allow (or not) and the kinds of documentation you require.

What do I do if I have more specific questions?

The Honor Council set up a new program this semester to connect members with faculty members. Each department has a student liaison and professors should contact their liaison with any further questions. Ask the department chair for liaison contact information.

Click here for the Liaison Contact list