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Honor 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 shall fall under the jurisdiction of the Honor Code, while other aspects of a student's medical education will be covered by the guidelines stated in the Student Conduct Code.

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 one's 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 unauthorized aids; or impermissible collaboration.
  2. Plagiarism is defined as the act of incorporating into one's own work or 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 for 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 Medical Student Council on Honor

The Medical Student Council on Honor, hereafter referred to as the Honor Council, will have primary jurisdiction over the supervision of the Honor Code as applies to medical students. A separate Academic Health Council on Honor will supervise the Honor Code as applies to academic health students.

A. The Medical Student Honor Council will consist of 5 (five) elected student representatives (one M1, one M2, one M3, and a chair and vice chair both elected from the M4 class), approved by the dean (or his/her designee, hereafter called the dean), and 2 (two) faculty members appointed by the dean. Two alternate members from each class will be elected and approved by the dean. In addition, the dean will appoint two faculty member alternates in basic science and two in clinical education.

1. Student Representatives

(a) In April of each academic year following implementation, the members and alternates of the rising M2, M3, and M4 classes will be elected by their own class members to serve on the Honor Council for a one-year term. The elections will be open to any student, including previous members of the Honor Council, who wishes to run. No one previously found to be in violation of the Honor Code is allowed to serve.

(b) M1 students will elect Honor Council members and alternates following the first two months of classes.

2. Faculty Representatives

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

  1. The dean will appoint two faculty members (one from the pre-clinical faculty and the alternate from the clinical faculty) to serve a two-year term, and two faculty members (one clinical and one alternate pre-clinical) to serve a one-year term.
  2. After one year, two more faculty members (one clinical and one preclinical alternate) will be appointed by the dean for full two-year terms. Members who served during the first year for a one-year term will be eligible for reappointment.
  3. From that time forward, each appointed member can serve no more than two years without reappointment by the dean.
  4. Faculty members will be limited to three consecutive terms.
  5. An assistant or associate dean in the School of Medicine will function as an ad hoc advisor to the council indefinitely in order to provide guidance and continuity in the day to day operations of the council. The assistant or associate dean will not be directly involved in investigations and/or hearings but will serve primarily in an administrative role facilitating contact between faculty advisors, students, and council members.

(b) Vacancies will be filled by appointments by the dean.

B. Leadership of the Honor Council-the Spring Elections

  1. Chair: The chair will be an M4 council member selected to a one-year term by the rising M4 class
  2. Vice chair: The vice chair will be a M4 council member elected to a one-year term by the rising M3 class in the spring.
  3. Secretary: The secretary will be an M2 council member elected to a one-year term by the rising M2 class.

Rising M2, M3, and M4 class elections for the Honor Council will be held in April, and M1 class elections will be held in August at the beginning of the M1 year. The newly spring-elected council will be in charge during the summer term.

C. All matters reviewed by the council will be kept strictly confidential.

IV. Procedures for Reporting Violations 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. Should the student be a member of the first- or second-year medical school class, he or she will be informed by the chair of the Honor Council. If the student under investigation is a member of the third- and fourth-year class, one of the faculty members of the Honor Council will inform the student. 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 concurrent 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 twenty-one 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 will consist of seven members: five student members [the chair (or vice chair) and four student members consisting of one member from each class] and two faculty members. If members decide they cannot serve for any reason, including conflict of interest, or if representation from each class is not possible, 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 nor 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 Proceeding

  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:

  3. (a) Chair (or vice chair) of the Honor Council.
    (b) Members of the Honor Council to include the secretary or, if needed, a temporary secretary appointed by the permanent secretary.
    (c) Student accused of violation.
    (d) Two alternate council members who serve 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 during 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 six 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 plurality vote of the six 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) if the student is in the first or second year of medical school, or for at least four months if the student is in the third or fourth year of medical school; 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. If the student is in the first or second year of medical school, he/she will return from a mandatory leave of absence to the beginning of the uncompleted term. If the student is in the third or fourth year of medical school, he/she will return from a mandatory leave of absence to the beginning of the uncompleted clerkship.

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 to the Honor Code

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 medical students have been notified of the change via mail or email.