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Honor Code

All students enrolled in the academic health professional programs are expected to abide by the stipulations of the Honor Code.

Student Honor Council and Code

I. Preamble

The students, faculty, and administration of the Emory University School of Medicine join together in support of this HONOR CODE for the purposes of (a) providing an atmosphere of mutual trust, concern, and respect; (b) fostering honorable and ethical behavior; and (c) cultivating lifelong professional conduct.

To promote this purpose, matters regarding misconduct of an academic nature shall fall under the jurisdiction of the Honor Code, while other aspects of a student’s professional education will be covered by the guidelines stated in the Student Conduct Code.

Students enrolled in the Emory University School of Medicine are required to uphold the Honor Code.

A. The Medical Student Council on Honor will have primary jurisdiction over the supervision of the Honor Code as it applies to medical students.  That Honor Council is outlined in the School of Medicine Student Handbook for Medical Students.

B. The Academic Health Professions Student Honor Council (hereafter referred to as the Honor Council) will have jurisdiction over the adherence to and supervision of the Honor Code as it applies to students in the Academic Health Professions Programs.

II. Statement of the Honor Code

A. Any action indicating lack of integrity or dishonesty in academic matters is considered a violation of academic ethics.  Such offenses include, but are not limited to, engaging in or attempting to engage in cheating, plagiarism, sabotage, falsifying or manipulating data, or knowingly passing off work of another as ones own.

1. Cheating includes knowingly acquiring, receiving, or passing on information about the content of an examination prior to its authorized release or during its  administration, provision or utilization of un-authorized aids, or impermissible collaboration.

2. Plagiarism is defined as the act of incorporating into ones own works the work or expression of another without appropriately and adequately indicating the source.

 3. Sabotage is defined as intentional and malicious actions that impair another student’s academic performance.

 4. Falsifying or manipulating data is defined as the act of creating, enhancing, or otherwise changing actual results in academic, clinical, or research matters.

B. Acts observed that appear to be in violation of the Honor Code will be reported to the Honor Council.  Failure on the part of a student to report such apparent violation will itself be considered a violation of the Honor Code.

 C. Lack of knowledge of the aforementioned precepts will not stand as adequate defense of violation of the Honor Code.

 D. The following pledge may be signed at the end of all final examinations, hour quizzes, and other important projects on which the pledge is required by an instructor:

             “On my honor, I have neither given nor received any aid on this (examination, quiz, or paper), nor am I aware of anyone who did.”

              However, absence of this pledge does not exempt the student or the assignment from the obligations set forth under this Honor Code.

 E. Each student upon entering the School of Medicine must sign a matriculation pledge stating that he/she has read, understands and is aware of his/her responsibilities under the Honor Code. 

III. The Academic Health Professions Councils on Honor

1. Membership

a. The Honor Council

(1) The Honor Council will consist of one elected Student Representative from each program and 2 (two) Faculty Representatives.  In addition, there will be two (2) alternate Student Representatives from each program, and four (4) Alternate Faculty Representatives.  The leadership of the Council will be under the direction of a Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary who are elected by the student membership from the Student Representatives on the Honor Council.

(2) Student representatives and alternates

(a) Elections will be held by November 1st of each academic year.  A Student Representative and two Alternate Student Representatives will be elected by each program’s students to serve for a one-year term.  The elections will be open to any student, including previous members of the Honor Council.  The list of candidates will be approved by the Dean.

 (b) Vacancies will be filled by special election of the respective program, when possible.  If a program is unable to elect any representatives, alternates from other programs will serve on a rotational basis until a new Student Representative can be elected.

(3) Faculty representatives and alternates

(a) To establish a pool of six faculty members, three of whom are replaced each year, the following process will be utilized:

i) Programs will submit nominations for faculty membership to the Academic Health Professions Advisory Committee for consideration for appointment. Selected faculty nominees will be forwarded to the Dean.

ii) In the first year, the Dean will appoint one Faculty Representative and two Alternate Faculty Representatives for a one year term, and one Faculty Representative and two Alternate Faculty Representatives for a two year term. 

iii) Each November thereafter, the Dean will appoint one Faculty Representative and two Alternate Faculty Representatives for a two year term.

(b) Each appointed member can serve no more than two years without reappointment by the Dean.

(c) Faculty members will be limited to three consecutive terms.

(d) Vacancies will be filled by appointments by the Dean.

(a) By April of each academic year following implementation, a student representative and two alternate student representatives will be elected by each program¿s students to serve on the Program Honor Council for a one-year term. The elections will be open to any student, including previous members of the program or Joint Honor Council. Candidates are approved by the dean (or his/her designee).
(b) Vacancies will be filled by special election of the respective class, when possible. If the class is unable to elect any representatives, alternates from other classes will serve on a rotational basis until a new student representative can be elected.
(c) Program Honor Council student representatives are not required to serve as program¿s student representative to the Joint Honor Council.

(3) Faculty representatives and alternates

(a) To establish a pool of four faculty members, two of whom are replaced each year, the following process will be utilized:

i) Program faculty will submit nominations for faculty membership to program director for consideration for appointment and selected faculty nominees will be forwarded to the dean.
ii) In the first year, the program director will appoint one faculty representative and two alternate faculty representatives for a one-year term, and one faculty representative and two alternate faculty representatives for a two-year term with approval of the dean.
iii) Each April thereafter, the program director will appoint one faculty representative and two alternate faculty representatives for a two year term with approval of the dean.

(b) Appointees can serve no more than two years without reappointment by the program director and reconfirmation by the dean.
(c) Appointees will be limited to three consecutive terms.
(d) Vacancies will be filled by appointment by the program director with approval of the dean.

2. Leadership of the Honor Councils

Hereafter, Honor Council refers to either the Academic Health Professions Student Honor Council or to the program Honor Council depending upon the specific program of the student. (See Section III. B.)

a. Chair and Vice-Chair: The Chair and Vice-Chair will be Student Representatives elected by the student membership of the Honor Council who are presently enrolled in programs of at least two years in length.  This election will be held by December 1st of each academic year following the first year of implementation.  These elected officers must be approved by the Dean.

 b. Secretary:  The Secretary will be a Student Representative and will be elected for a one year term by the entire Council from the pool of Student Representatives whose program length allows fulfillment of the term.  This officer is approved by the Dean.

 c. All matters reviewed by the Council will be kept strictly confidential.

IV. Procedures for Reporting and Investigating Violations

 A. If an individual believes that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred, that individual must report the violation as soon as possible to any member of the Honor Council.  Failure to report the violation will itself constitute a violation of the Honor Code.

 B. Once an allegation has been made, the individual making that allegation must draft, sign, and submit to the Honor Council Secretary a brief statement for Honor Council documentation.

C. Upon notification of a possible violation of the Honor Code, the Council Secretary will choose two investigators from available alternate Council members whose responsibility it will be to gather information about the case.  The Secretary will then inform the Honor Council Chair that an investigation has been initiated.  The Chair shall subsequently inform the Council faculty members and the Executive Associate Dean of OMESA that an investigation is being conducted, but the name of the student and details of the incident will remain known only to the Chair, the Secretary, the investigators, and any individuals the Chair may deem necessary.  The student named in the allegation will be informed of the investigation prior to its onset.  Upon notification of the investigation, the student will be provided with a list of available advisors with whom to consult, at the student’s discretion.

D. After information concerning the case has been gathered, this information shall be submitted to the Chair of the Honor Council, who along with the two investigators, will judge whether sufficient evidence exists to warrant a formal hearing.  Among the Chair and two investigators, the decision to continue with a formal hearing or cease the investigation will rest upon the concurring views of at least two of the three participants.

E. If a hearing is deemed warranted, the student will be notified by the Secretary of the Honor Council in writing of the date, time, and place of the Hearing; the nature of the violation with which the student is charged; the evidence of the investigation, including the name of the individual making the initial allegation, and the options available to the student concerning assistance by an advisor.

F. The hearing will take place within a reasonable time (no more than 21 days) after the accusation is reported to the Honor Council.  (In rare instances, a different time period may be determined by the Honor Council based upon the specific circumstances of the case.)

G. The student will be permitted to continue academic endeavors until a final decision is made.  The student and advisor may review and gather evidence prior to the hearing.

H. For each hearing, the Honor Council consists of eight members: five student members, the Chair (or Vice-Chair) and two faculty members.  The five student members are randomly chosen by the Chair and will include a student member from the program of the accused.  If any member is unable to serve for any reason, including conflict of interest, then an alternate member will sit on the Honor Council.  The alternate members who serve as investigators will present pertinent information but will not be allowed to vote in the proceedings or to be present during deliberations.

I. It will be the responsibility of the Secretary to inform the Honor Council members of the alleged violation (date, person involved, and nature of the accusation).  The Chair (or Vice-Chair) will preside over the hearing and participate in discussion and deliberation of the case but will not have a vote.

V. The Hearing

Rules of law do not apply to any hearings or proceedings regarding the Honor Code.

A. Order of Proceedings

1. Call to order

2. Reading of Parts I and II of the Honor Code (Preamble and Statement of the Honor Code).

3. Statement of the alleged Honor Code violation

4. Presentation of evidence:  The Investigators and the accused may present testimony and other evidence as appropriate and relevant to the case.  The Chair and members of the Honor Council, the accused, and the advisor to the accused may ask questions of witnesses, but the Chair shall have the right to determine whether such questions are appropriate.

5. Discussion and deliberation by the Council is held in a private executive session.

B. Rules Governing Proceedings

1. All hearings will be conducted in closed-door session and will remain confidential.

2. Participants in the hearing will be limited to the following:

a. Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Honor Council

b. Honor Council Representatives to include the Secretary or, if needed, a temporary secretary appointed by the permanent Secretary.

c. Student accused of violation 

d. Two Alternate Council Representatives who served as investigators for the case.                             

e. Relevant witnesses who may be present only while testifying

f. Advisor for the accused.

4. The Secretary or his/her appointee will take notes of the hearing and make them available to the Honor Council.

5. The accused has the option of selecting an individual from the School of Medicine, but not a member of the Honor Council, to assist in an advisory capacity prior to the hearing and to be present at the hearing.  This individual will not be permitted to testify or to make statements of any nature other than asking questions.

VI. Decision and Penalties

A. For a student to be found guilty of an Honor Code violation, the unanimous vote of the seven voting members of the Honor Council will be required [the Chair (or Vice-Chair) will not be eligible to vote].

B. The penalty recommended for an Honor Code violation will be by a plurality vote of the seven voting members of the Honor Council.  In case of a tie, the Chair (or Vice-Chair) will cast a vote.

C. The Dean will be informed promptly following the decision of the Honor Council.

D. Recommendation for penalties regarding violations of the Statement of the Honor Code.:

1. The standard penalty for violation of the Honor Code is (a) mandatory leave of absence from Emory University School of Medicine for at least one academic term (semester); and (b) a grade of “Incomplete” for all courses in which the student is enrolled at the time of the infraction.

2. The Honor Council may recommend to the Dean a penalty more severe than a mandatory leave of absence (e.g., permanent expulsion) or may recommend a less severe penalty (e.g., disciplinary probation for Honor Code violation), dependent upon the circumstances of the case.

3. Upon receipt of a mandatory leave of absence, the student cannot advance to the next term until he/she has completed the term in which the “Incomplete” grades were given.

4. At the discretion of the Program Director, the student may be required to enroll as a student in special standing for purposes of review prior to re-enrollment as a full-time student.

E. Decision of the Dean of the School of Medicine

The final decision rests with the Dean.  The decision of the Dean will be effective immediately unless there is an appeal.  The appeal, including the basis for the appeal, must be submitted by the student in writing to the Dean within one week after the decision of the Dean.  If an appeal is requested, an ad hoc committee consisting of three faculty members from the School of Medicine will be appointed by the Dean.  The committee will review the data and render its recommendation to the Dean for upholding or repealing the decision, following which the Dean will issue the final decision in the matter.

VII. Amendments

Amendments to the Honor Code may be proposed by the Honor Council at any point in the academic year; proposed amendments must be approved by the Dean before becoming effective.  If an amendment is approved while a case is under active review that amendment will not apply to that case.  Any new amendment, once approved, will become effective as soon as all academic health professions students have been notified of the change via mail or email.