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Honor Code

To promote a stronger sense of mutual responsibility, respect, trust, and fairness among all members of the George Mason University community and with the desire for greater academic and personal achievement, we, the student members of the University Community have set forth this:

Student members of the George Mason University community pledge not to cheat, plagiarize, steal, or lie in matters related to academic work.

The Honor Committee

The Honor Committee is a group of students selected from the George Mason University student body for the purpose of promoting academic integrity as a core value for our University Community. Members of the Committee will also serve on hearing panels established to investigate and resolve alleged violations of the Code.

I. Composition of the Committee – Membership will be limited to one hundred (100) members who apply for membership and are confirmed at an election held each spring. Members appointed by the Chair of the Honor Committee may serve provisionally pending the next election. Members must themselves have no honor code violations, maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.66 (3.00 for graduate students), be in good academic standing, and successfully complete the training/orientation program. If more than one hundred students apply for membership, a candidate list will be maintained according to the date of the application and appointments made as vacancies occur. The term of office extends from initial appointment until final graduation provided the member is not found responsible for an honor code violation, serves on at least two hearing panels each semester, remains in good academic standing, and maintains the required grade point average.

II. Honor Committee Officers – A chairperson and vice chairperson will be elected in April of each year by the members of the Committee. The term of office will be one year. A faculty advisor, chosen jointly by the Chair of the Committee and the Vice President for University Life, will provide administrative assistance for Committee business.

III. Responsibilities of the Students – Students should request an explanation of any aspect of the Professor’s policies regarding the Honor Code they do not fully understand. They also have an obligation to not only follow the Code themselves, but to encourage respect among their fellow students for the provisions of the Code. This includes an obligation to report violations by other students to the Honor Committee.

IV. Responsibilities of the Faculty – Faculty members have a responsibility for maintaining the integrity of the learning and testing process. They should explain at the beginning of each semester what would be considered an integrity violation in their course. Special attention should be given to the subject of plagiarism.

V. Procedures for Reporting Violations – Suspected violations should be reported to the Honor Committee in a timely manner using forms provided by the Honor Committee. The Honor Committee will promptly notify the involved student(s) in writing. The involved student(s) will meet with a representative of the Honor Committee to review the information and arrange for resolution of the matter.

VI. Hearing Panels – When a student disputes an allegation, a five member panel of Honor Committee members, appointed by the chair of the Honor Committee, will meet with both the student and the person(s) reporting the alleged offense. Each side will present information and the panel will determine if clear and convincing evidence of a violation has been presented. At least four of the five panel members must judge that the evidence proves responsibility for the offense. If the student is found responsible, a sanction or sanctions will be determined by majority vote of the panel.

VII. Counsel – The hearing panel will have a faculty member present during the hearing to offer assistance when requested by the Chair of the panel. All other parties may have an advisor present if that advisor is a member of the George Mason University student body, other than a student from the School of Law.

VIII. Sanctions – The hearing panel may impose oral and written reprimands and other such non-academic sanctions as they deem proportionate to the offense. It can recommend sanctions that involve reduced grades to the course professor. Recommendations for non-academic suspension and non-academic dismissal are forwarded to the Provost’s delegate. In determining sanctions, panel members should keep in mind the non-punitive educational purpose of the Honor Code process.

IX. Appeals – Appeals must be submitted in writing within seven business days of the hearing. Appeals can be granted only on the basis of new evidence, procedural irregularity, or other grounds of sufficient gravity to call into serious doubt the original hearing panel’s decision. The decision to accept or deny the appeal will be made by three Honor Committee members who have had no prior contact with the case.

X. Amendments – The Honor Committee, by majority vote, may approve proposed amendments to the Honor Code. The proposed amendments will be submitted to the student population at the next spring election where they must be approved for implementation by a two-third majority of those voting.

May 6, 2003