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Honor Code of Augustana College

In the 2005-06 academic year, Augustana College students — "committed to the ideals of integrity, accountability, fairness and honesty" — researched and drafted an academic Honor Code for Augustana. Approved by the student body and faculty in May 2006, the Honor Code "sets the foundation and boundaries to ensure academic excellence and stability in an evolving and dynamic world."

The code cites the need for honor and integrity in carrying out the college mission of "offering a challenging education that develops mind, spirit and body," concluding that "the Honor Code holds each individual accountable to the community of Augustana College."

To report infractions, complete and send the following forms to Stefanie Bluemle, research & instruction librarian, 309-794-7167, Tredway Library 221, and Kristin Douglas, associate dean, 309-794-3443, Founders Hall 116.

For first offense, minor violations of the Honor Code, submit the Minor First Offense Form. (Before submitting a minor first offense, please get in touch with Kristin Douglas to confirm the violation qualifies.)

For all other violations, submit the Honor Council Reporting Form.

Printable version

Honor Code

Approved by full faculty 3-22-18

Section 1: Mission

We, the students of Augustana College, committed to the ideals of integrity, accountability, fairness, and honesty, hereby establish this academic Honor Code in order to promote and foster intellectual and personal growth. 

Section 2: Statement of Purpose

According to its mission statement Augustana College “…is committed to offering a challenging education that develops qualities of mind, spirit, and body.”  To achieve this goal Augustana expects its community to practice honor and integrity.  The Honor Code sets the foundation and boundaries to ensure academic excellence and stability in an evolving and dynamic world.  The Honor Code holds each individual accountable to the community of Augustana College.

Section 3: Infractions

Section 3.1 Cheating
To cheat on an exam is:

  1. to use books, notes, or other materials not explicitly permitted by the instructor in taking the exam;
  2. to copy other students’ work in taking an exam;
  3. to use copies of examination material (whether stolen or accidentally obtained) in preparing for an examination when the instructor has not made these materials public by prior distribution;
  4. to assist a student in cheating in any of the aforementioned three ways.

To cheat on an assignment is:

  1. to use materials or sources explicitly forbidden by the instructor in completing the assignment (including the ideas and work of other students when forbidden);
  2.  to copy another individual’s work; or
  3. to assist students in cheating as defined above.

Section 3.2: Lying
Lying is any falsification that is committed with the intent of gaining an academic advantage.  A falsification is: a) the manifestation of untruth with the intent to mislead; b) disregard for the truth; c) false representation of one’s self; or d) intentionally creating false data.

Section 3.3: Stealing
Stealing is the deliberate taking of another individual or group’s property without consent, permission, or acknowledgement with the intent of gaining an academic advantage. 

Section 3.4: Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the misrepresentation of someone else’s research, thought, or writing as one’s own.  Plagiarism occurs when a student uses the ideas or phrasing of another individual or group and presents the information as their own without crediting the original source. 
Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Use of direct wording, artistic creations and/or expressions (written or musical) without proper acknowledgements
  2. False Citation: incorrect or inadequate citation of sources
  3. Purchasing, downloading, or using papers written by another individual

Section 3.5: Multiple Submission
“Multiple submission involves the submission for credit—without authorization of the instructor receiving the work—of substantial portions of any work (including oral reports) previously submitted for credit at any academic institution, or attempts thereof.”It is assumed that the work you submit for credit is original in each and every assignment, unless stated otherwise. If allowed to use previous work, both you and your instructor(s) need to agree to alternate terms, including using proper citations for your previous work. Augustana is committed to each student’s intellectual growth and so it is expected that all assignments demonstrate new knowledge particular to that individual assignment and class.

The following are examples of multiple submission and would require informing and receiving permission from the instructor(s):

  1. Submitting the same paper or nearly the same paper in the same or different classes, at any time during your academic career.
  2. Submitting work that you previously submitted and revised.
  3. Submitting group work from another assignment and representing it as one’s own.

Section 4: Honor Pledge

Upon or prior to entering Augustana College students must sign the Honor Pledge, “My name, below, signifies that I have read and understand the Honor Code of Augustana College.  By signing this pledge, I am accepting the Honor Code and acknowledge that it is my responsibility to uphold its principles.” Signing the pledge signifies that the student understands and supports the Honor Code. 

In addition, a Professor may elect to require a student to include the statement, “In compliance with the Augustana Honor Code, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this piece of work.” on all academic work or sign a similar statement at the beginning of the term, but this elective step is not required to enforce the pledge.   

Section 5: Honor Council

Section 5.1 Purpose
The purpose of the Honor Council shall be to govern and interpret the Honor Code. 
It is the responsibility of each individual to take pride in his or her work, uphold the Honor Code, and encourage others to do the same.  Every member of the Augustana Community has the obligation to report violations of the Honor Code to the Honor Council. 

Section 5.2 Composition
The Honor Council shall consist of thirteen members, including three members of the faculty.   In selecting members of the Honor Council, the Council should aim for balance between members of the senior, junior, and sophomore classes. There will be three officers of the Honor Council: a Chair, a Vice Chair, and a Secretary.  A junior or senior member will be the Chair, and student members of the Council will be the Vice Chair and Secretary, respectively. Each member of the Honor Council must sign a statement saying he or she will keep all details of the hearings, individuals and outcomes confidential.  Failure to do so may result in removal from the Honor Council.

Section 5.3 Elections
Faculty will be chosen for a three year term following the normal procedures established by the Committee on Nominations and Rules.  All members of the student body shall be allowed to apply for a position on the Honor Council as long as they meet the following criteria:

  1. Applicant must be a Senior, Junior, or Sophomore in school the year in which they serve on the Honor Council.
  2. Complete an application and personal statement stating why they wish to be a part of the Honor Council. Members reapplying may forgo the process of completing a new application and personal statement and can simply submit their previous ones, provided they have an attendance/participatory record of at least 75%.
  3. Obtain two letters of recommendation from faculty or administration to be sent to the selection committee (the two letters must be from different departments).  Members reapplying must obtain only one letter of recommendation, which must be from a different faculty or administration member than submitted in previous years.
  4. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.

The student members shall undergo a selection process in which they complete an application, write a personal statement, and request two letters of recommendation from faculty or administrators.  Applications will be made available on seventh week of winter term and are due by the end of the first week of spring term.  The completed applications will be reviewed by the selection committee consisting of the three faculty members and the four longest-serving members of the current year’s Honor Council.  In the event that it is unclear which students should serve on the selection committee because they share an equal amount of experience on the Honor Council, the faculty members shall select which of those students will serve on the committee. This selection committee will review applications and interview qualified applicants if they deem necessary.  No current student member reapplying for next year’s Honor Council can review their own application. The selection committee will pick the top applicants for each class, and then the student body will vote during SGA's election for Honor Council members.  The student body will be able to vote yes, no or abstain for each applicant.  The applicants are not allowed to campaign. 

Section 5.4 Officers
The Honor Council has three officers: a Chair, a Vice Chair, and a Secretary.  The Chair is a junior or senior class member of the Honor Council who has been enrolled at Augustana for a minimum of six academic terms, has served for at least one year on the Honor Council, and is elected by the student members of the Honor Council. Two students may be elected to share the position as Co-Chairs. The Vice Chair and the Secretary are students elected by all student members of the Honor Council.  The duties of the officers are:

Chair: The Chair shall preside over all meetings and advise the accused of the procedures of the Honor Council.  The Chair will also see that the duties of the Honor Council are carried out properly.

Vice Chair: The Vice Chair shall upload new cases to the Honor Council Moodle site in a timely manner and communicate the alleged violation and the meeting/hearing date with the accused. The Vice Chair will also track the completion of sanctions required by the Honor Council for all students found responsible for Honor Code violations.

Secretary: The Secretary shall communicate with the Vice Chair and notify members of the Honor Council of meetings and hearings.  The Secretary will take minutes of every meeting and distribute these minutes.

Sections 5.5 Members
The members of the Honor Council will have the following responsibilities:

  1. Attend all meetings and hearings that are required of the Honor Council.
  2. Not to disclose specific information regarding hearings and individuals involved or brought before the Honor Council.
  3. Maintain the minimum GPA of 3.0.
  4. Maintain good standing with all academic and social conduct policies.

Members are expected to uphold all responsibilities or disciplinary actions, including removal from the Honor Council, could result.

Section 5.6 Turnover
After the Spring Term election, the newly elected members of the Honor Council will participate a training session with the current year’s Honor Council before the end of the year.  This is to ensure that all members of the Honor Council understand their roles and the rules governing the Honor Code.

Section 5.7 Vacancies
Should a vacancy occur in the Honor Council, the position will be offered to an individual from the original applicant pool who received the next highest percentage of votes in the SGA election.  Should this individual refuse or be ineligible to serve on the Council, then the vacancy will be offered to the person who received the next highest percentage of votes and so forth until the position is filled.  If the position cannot be filled, the Honor Council will nominate students who meet criteria 1 and 4 in Section 5.3.  Nominated students will come before the Honor Council for an interview.  The Honor Council will then vote on a new member.

Section 5.8 Removal
If a member is absent for more than 20% of meetings and hearings (except under extraordinary circumstances) or otherwise violates section 5.5, the Honor Council may remove that member from the Council by a two-thirds majority vote of the other members of the Honor Council.  To fill a spot the Honor Council shall follow the guidelines in Section 5.7.

Section 5.9 Meetings
The Honor Council shall meet at least once per academic year in addition to any hearings, to review policies and procedures and discuss any concerns.  Students who wish to learn more about the Honor Council may contact the Chair or the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. In addition to answering any inquiries by members of the student body when requested, the Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary will hold an informal meeting with the student body to explain the role of the Honor Council and answer any questions concerning it or the Honor Code. This meeting will occur prior to the Honor Council’s electoral process and the Secretary will send a campus-wide email detailing the specific date, time, location, and purpose of the meeting.

Section 5.10 Emergency Hearings
An emergency hearing may be authorized by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the Honor Council Chair in a case that requires immediate attention after an academic term has ended.  Such a hearing would only require the presence of two student members  and one faculty member.  These members will plan a specific day they will return to campus for any emergency hearings.  An emergency hearing may be conducted via teleconference or other electronic means.  The reported student does not have to be physically present.  The reported student must be notified of the hearing and retains the right to make a statement.  This statement may be written or verbal. 

Section 5.11 Annual Report
Before the end of the academic year, the outgoing Chair shall submit a written report to the President of Augustana College on violations of the Honor Code.  A copy of this report shall be given to the next year’s members of the Honor Council as well.  These reports along with the minutes from meetings and hearings will be kept on file, so the Honor Council can review them if necessary.

Section 6: Reporting

All reports filed will be kept in the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Academic Affairs, depending on the type of report.  The administration and members of the Honor Council will have the authority to view the reports.  No record or information concerning alleged Honor Code violations will be included in a student’s permanent file, unless there has been a finding of responsibility.  Reports made at the end of spring term, or during the summer will be heard at the beginning of fall term for the following academic year unless moved to an emergency hearing by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the Honor Council Chair. 

Section 6.1 Student Reporting
If a student member of the Augustana Community has reason to believe that someone has violated the Honor Code they should report the incident to the Honor Council.  Forms will be available in the Academic Affairs Office and online.  In order for the form to be valid, the reporter must include their ID number.  The form will ask who, when, and where the violation occurred, and will require a detailed description of what was witnessed.  Students may also go to the faculty member and report the incident.  Reports of academic dishonesty must be made to the Honor Council in a timely fashion following the incident, or at the discretion of the Honor Council. 

Section 6.2 Faculty, Staff, and Administrator Reporting
When academic dishonesty (i.e., cheating, plagiarism) is observed or deduced from an evaluation of submitted work, faculty will not give credit for the test, examination, paper or assignment, and will not permit retaking or resubmitting the work.  The faculty has agreed that the penalty for academic misconduct may, at the discretion of the faculty member, be an "F" in the course, but must be a "0" for that piece of work. 

If the incident is a first offense that is considered a minor violation of the Honor Code, a faculty member may recommend not sending the case to the Honor Council.  In this circumstance, a Minor First Offense form is signed by the student and instructor, and the faculty member then submits the form and a summary of the violation including related documents (exams, papers, assignments, etc) to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.  Upon approval of the Associate Dean, these materials are stored in a “Minor First Offense” file in the Office of Academic Affairs and checked against future cases.  Second infractions result in a hearing with the Honor Council. 

A more serious violation of the Honor Code warrants immediate referral to the Honor Council.  The faculty member must fill out an Honor Council Reporting Form that describes the incident, the individual(s) involved, the nature of the assignment, the severity of the violation, and the action taken.  Reports of academic dishonesty must be made to the Honor Council in a timely fashion following the incident, which will usually be within the same term of the incident or by the end of week one of the following term.  If the incident is a second violation, a contested Minor First Violation, or grievous first violation and disciplinary action beyond the grade is necessary then the accused individual shall be brought before the Honor Council.

Staff and administrators who become aware of a possible Honor Code violation will consult with the Dean of Students and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to determine whether the incident is more appropriately handled as a violation of the Honor Code or as a violation of the Social Code of Conduct. If it is determined that the incident is a violation of the Honor Code, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will determine if it is a Minor First Offense, or if it should be sent to the Honor Council.

Section 6.3 Self-Report
Any individual may turn him or herself in to the Honor Council if they have violated the Honor Code.  This will be reported the same way as in section 6.1.

Section 7: Informing the Accused

In the case in which a student reports another student, an email will be sent to the accused student’s Augustana email account.  The email message will inform the student of the academic misconduct reported, the options available to the accused student, and the process that the Honor Council will follow.  The faculty member whose class the incident occurred in will also be informed. If the accused student does not reply to the email message from the Honor Council, the Council will move ahead with the case with the presumption that the accused student is pleading “not responsible to the incident.” The Honor Council will then conduct a hearing, as outlined in Section 9 to determine the accused student’s responsibility for the reported academic misconduct and, where appropriate, whether further sanctions are necessary.

If a faculty member reports a student, the faculty member will handle informing the student of the incident and the grade assigned. If a student is unresponsive to a faculty member’s request for a meeting, the faculty member may inform the student about the violation via email.  In addition, the student will receive an email from the Honor Council stating that the incident has been recorded.  If further action is necessary, the Honor Council will inform the individual. Information on the appeals process will also be made available to the accused individual at this time. 

A student accused of academic dishonesty in a class will not be permitted to drop the course involved until he/she has been cleared of the report of academic misconduct or has the permission of both the instructor and the Honor Council. 

Section 8: Student Pleas of Responsibility

If the accused student chooses to take responsibility for the incident it will not be necessary for the Honor Council to conduct a hearing to determine responsibility.  In such a case, the accused student will come before the Honor Council and the Honor Council will determine the appropriate sanction(s).  If the individual declines responsibility for the incident, the Honor Council will conduct a hearing, as outlined in Section 9 below. 

Section 9: Honor Council Meetings

Section 9.1 Individuals Present
At least seven members of the Honor Council, including at least one faculty member, shall constitute a quorum for all Honor Council meetings.  If a quorum is not reached, the Honor Council may proceed if:

  1. The accused student has been notified that quorum was not achieved for the hearing;
  2. The accused student has been notified of the definition of quorum for Honor Council purposes;
  3. The accused student, understanding (a) and (b), still wishes to proceed despite a Council attendance below quorum.  If the student does not wish to proceed, then the meeting of the Council will be rescheduled. 

Unless specifically provided for otherwise, an accused student is expected be present while the Honor Council considers his or her matter. The person filing the report of a violation of the Honor Code and any witnesses need only be present when they are providing statements.

Section 9.2 Hearing to Determine Responsibility
In cases where a student has either not responded to the request for a plea of responsibility, or has affirmatively declined responsibility for the academic misconduct, the Honor Council will conduct a hearing to determine the accused student’s responsibility for the academic misconduct reported.   Prior to the hearing, the Honor Council will collect information it deems relevant to the matter, including but not limited to speaking with the following individuals: the individual who reported the academic misconduct, faculty member(s) involved, as well as any other member of the Augustana College community who may have information the Council determines to be relevant. To find a student responsible for violating the Augustana Honor Code, a majority of the Honor Council must determine that clear and convincing evidence exists for a reasonable person to conclude that the charges are supported.  
The following hearing guidelines will be followed:

  1. The accused student shall receive a fair hearing before a duly constituted, impartial Honor Council.  If a student believes a member of the Honor Council will not be impartial, he or she should so state before the hearing.  If a majority of the Honor Council voting agree with the student that a member or members of the Council are not impartial, that person or those persons shall recuse themselves from the case.  The Honor Council member(s) at issue shall have no vote in determining recusal.
  2. The chair shall preside over the hearing and may exclude evidence from the hearing or stop questions, if the evidence or questions are not relevant to the matter heard. 
  3. The chair shall read the report of academic misconduct in the presence of the accused student.  The accused student shall be given the opportunity to respond to the report of misconduct, state observations and understandings of the circumstances upon which the report is based, and present evidence and witnesses.
  4. The accused student may be assisted during the hearing by an advisor of choice from among the current full-time students, faculty, administration or staff, provided the selected advisor agrees to serving in such role and is not also a witness or a potential witness in the hearing. The accused student may not be assisted during the hearing by anyone else.
  5. The accused student shall be present when witnesses appear.  Following statements by witnesses, the accused student shall typically have the right to question them, unless questioning is deemed inappropriate or unnecessary by the Honor Council.
  6. The accused student shall have the right to present information and witnesses on their own behalf.
  7. The accused student is expected to be present throughout the entire hearing.  However, all deliberations of the Honor Council shall be in private session.
  8. The Honor Council shall base its decision upon information collected during the investigation and the hearing.
  9. All proceedings and testimony shall remain confidential except when the accused student requests in writing that the hearing be public.  The chair may respond to inquiries if a student publicly misrepresents the Honor Council’s actions, but shall limit his or her comments to state that the proper rules were followed and to describe those rules.  The chair should be careful in making statements and will consult with the administration first. 
  10. All records of the hearing shall be regarded as confidential except when information is released for academic or counseling purposes by the Dean or Associate Dean of Students, or when the accused student chooses to make the records public.
  11. The accused student shall be provided the Council’s decision letter.  Minutes of Council hearings and deliberations are not shared.

Section 9.3 Outcome of the Vote
In instances where the Honor Council determines the accused student to be not responsible for the act of academic misconduct, the incident will be closed and no record of the report will be maintained in the accused student’s file. In instances where the accused student is found to be responsible for the academic misconduct, the Honor Council will then consider what sanction is appropriate.

Section 9.4  Determination of Sanctions
When a student has either plead responsible for academic misconduct, or is found responsible for academic misconduct by the Honor Council as outlined above, the Honor Council must determine if additional sanctions are warranted alongside mandatory sanctions.

In determining whether additional sanctions are warranted, the Honor Council may consider any information it deems relevant.  A student who pleads responsible for academic misconduct shall have the opportunity to meet with the Council and provide information he or she believes the Honor Council should consider when making its determination regarding sanctions. 

Section 10: Sanctions

Section 10.1: Mandatory Sanctions

1. Minor First Offense Violations

Students responsible for a Minor First Offense violation earn a “0” for that piece of work.

2. All Other Violations

Any student who either pleads responsible to a violation of the Honor Code or is found responsible, deemed by the result of a hearing, shall earn a “0” for that piece of work;  have a record of such a violation in their permanent file; and shall be withheld Graduation Honors in accordance with the policies outlined in the College Catalog.

Section 10.2: Discretionary Sanctions
In addition to the mandatory sanctions, the Honor Council may decide to impose additional sanctions with two-thirds support of the Council attending the sanction hearing. Additional sanctions available to the Honor Council include the option to place a student on social probation.  A student on social probation is suspended from certain co-curricular activities as decided by the Honor Council.  A student may be required to attend tutoring sessions in the Reading and Writing Center covering citation protocol and may be assigned a paper on a specific academic integrity topic.  A second offense or a more extreme first offense usually will result in dismissal for academic misconduct (for one or more terms).  The Honor Council has the authority to expel a student from the Augustana community if the academic offense is grievous, regardless of the student’s record. 

Section 11: Appeals

Section 11.1 Grade Appeals
Grades (either for a particular assignment/exam or for the course) assigned by the faculty in instances of academic dishonesty may be appealed to the Associate Dean of the College.  The Honor Council will not have the authority to change the assigned grade.  The appeal must be made within twelve days of the date the decision is sent to the student. 

Section 11.2 Honor Council Decision Appeals
A student may appeal the Honor Council’s decision to the President of the College, but must do so in writing within ten academic days of the date the Honor Council’s decision was sent to the student. On appeal, the President of the College will review Honor Council decisions for abuse of discretion. Abuse of discretion may be established, for example by:

  1. A failure on the part of the Honor Council to follow established hearing procedures or college policies which substantially and adversely affected the outcome of the hearing; or
  2. The imposition of a sanction disproportionate with the infraction; or
  3. The rendering of a decision wholly unsupported by the evidence.

A student may also appeal on the basis of the discovery of new compelling evidence that could not have reasonably been discovered at the time of the hearing. If the President determines that the evidence is relevant, compelling and not reasonably available at the time of the hearing, then the President will submit the matter before the Honor Council to hear again. A student who is dismissed from the college may make a written appeal to the Board of Trustees whose decision shall be final.

Section 12: Amendments

Section 12.1 Amendments to the document
Any member of the Honor Council may propose an amendment to the Honor Code.  The proposed amendment must pass with a two-thirds vote of the Honor Council.  Then the Student Government Association may provide an advisory vote.  The Faculty must vote on the proposed amendment and a majority vote will be necessary to pass the amendment. 

Section 12.2 Review of the Honor Code
The Honor Code should be reviewed every two years by members of the Honor Council and the Educational Policies Committee.  


1 "Undergraduate Honor Code Manual." Undergraduate Honor Code - Virginia Tech. October 9,
2015. Accessed September 6, 2017.