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
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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