The Honor Code is a contract that students sign before matriculating into CC. In this Code, students agree to foster an environment of academic integrity that holds all students accountable for ethical behavior in academic work. The philosophy of the code is built on mutual trust between students and faculty that encourages academic independence.
The Honor Council enforces the Honor Code. It is comprised of approximately 20-40 students selected to investigate potential academic violations. The Council responds to allegations of Honor Code violations in a timely and professional manner.
The Honor Code in the Classroom:
Professors should discuss the Honor Code during the first day of the class. Professors have the right to stipulate what resources, how much time, and at what location students can complete an assignment or test. Please include these parameters and your expectations for ethical conduct in both your syllabus and assignments (see below for a sample of text included in one professor’s syllabus). Ultimately, students are responsible for asking how the professor will apply additional parameters in the classroom.
Encouraging Honor Code Adherence During Distance Learning:
The Honor Council conducted a school wide survey that revealed many CC students believed their peers were more likely to violate the Honor Code during distance learning compared to in-person courses. The fear of increased cheating during online instruction is held by many professors and students across the nation. To address these concerns and encourage academic honesty, the Honor Council created a committee of faculty and students to generate a recommendation list for professors teaching distance learning blocks. We acknowledge this list is not exhaustive and some recommendations may work better in certain disciplines. In any case, we hope this document will serve as a toolbox when designing online courses. Please reach out the HonorCouncil@coloradocollege.edu with any questions, comments, or suggestions.
Initiating an Investigation:
Professors who believe that a violation has occurred should contact the council co-chairs either directly or via our Faculty Advisors. The Honor Council co-chairs will assign a team of investigators to determine if there is reason to believe a violation has occurred. These investigators will contact you directly to set up a time for an interview.
The identities of those involved in Honor Council proceedings are kept confidential. The identities of faculty members are kept confidential insofar as the accused student does not know who accused him or her of committing a violation.
If the Honor Council investigators deem that there is reason to believe that a violation occurred, then they will give the accused student two options. The first option is to plead guilty to a violation. In this case the Honor Council recommends to you, the professor, to give the student a grade of NC (no credit) for the block. The decision on how to proceed is ultimately yours.
If the student chooses not to plead guilty, then the matter goes to trial. If there is a trial, you will be called to testify before the Council to explain your involvement in the case. After the trial concludes, the case investigators will contact you immediately to inform you of the trial verdict. We generally recommend to professors that if a student is found guilty they receive a grade of NC (no credit) for the course. Again, however, the decision is yours.
The Honor Council will strive to complete the investigation and trial process within the time frame of one block, unless there are extenuating circumstances. During the process the investigators should update you weekly on the status of the investigation. Additionally, you can contact the investigators or the co-chairs to check on the status of the case. Out of respect for your time and our students’ time we run trials in one afternoon, so you will know the outcome several hours after you testify.
Many academic resources are available on campus that professors should encourage students to access. In order to ensure that the Honor Code and the professors’ educational philosophies are upheld, professors should make their syllabi available to departmental tutors and academic resource centers.
Additionally, communicating with these centers provides a more effective support network for students that can help prevent cheating. Professionals at these centers often help students deal with the high stress levels that can in some cases result in dishonest behavior. Research the Honor Council has conducted indicates that most CC students who admit to cheating do so because they feel that the demand for good grades is high and have no coping strategy to deal with increased academic pressure.
As part of our educational outreach we encourage students to be honest with themselves in terms of planning for and completing assignments. We advise them that faculty members are their first contact if they are feeling overwhelmed and/or under prepared. It is our hope that no student at CC feels as though his or her only option to succeed is to cheat.
Example of Honor Code information supplied in a course syllabus
Honor Code. Using the ideas of another person—be it a professional writer, speaker, or a classmate or friend—without proper acknowledgment constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism is a particularly significant issue in this course, because you will collect some of your data in groups, and you will be citing others’ work in your research articles. All of your papers, including the group paper, must be your own. Do not take this issue lightly.
You are responsible for reading, understanding, and adhering to the guidelines for acknowledging the work of others as outlined in the APA manual and the Psychology Department web page on plagiarism: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/Dept/PY/Plag.html
In addition, please see the Pathfinder for information on the Honor Code and CC’s policies on academic theft. Even when it is unintended, plagiarism carries with it significant disciplinary action. Ignorance of the guidelines is not an acceptable excuse for violations of the Honor Code.
Do not put your name on your lab reports and tests; rather, use your student ID number. Make sure that you write “By my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this assignment” and sign with your student ID number only. This enables me to grade your work blindly.
If you have any questions, or if you wish to report a suspected Honor Code violation, please don't hesitate to contact either Honor Council Co-Chair.
Bryan Swanson '21
Megan Koch '22
George Butte, English
Dan Ellsworth, Mathematics & Computer Science