Two added to Honor Code committee

The Faculty Senate approved the addition of two members to the Honor Code task force in an effort to complete the final format of the Honor Code by next fall, a Faculty Senate official said.David Bedford, Faculty Senate Student Relations Committee chair, said the task force consists of administration, faculty and members of the Student Government Association.

The Honor Code is a document that will define academic integrity standards. Academic misconduct consists of but is not limited to the following: cheating, plagiarism, abuse of resource materials, computer misuse, fabrication and falsification.

Blaise Ferrandino, Faculty Senate Academic Excellence Committee chair, said he and Bedford were added to the task force because the Honor Code deals with what both committees focus on: academics and student relations.

A spring 2007 proposal, created by a student task force, outlines a procedure to handle academic misconduct. The proposal creates the Integrity Council, which will try cases of students accused of academic misconduct and sanction them if found guilty.

Members on the Integrity Council will be selected through an application process, according to the Honor Code draft. Applicants must fill out a form, request an appointment with the academic dean and must be in good standing with their colleges. Once the application is turned in to the academic dean’s office, the dean will select up to four students from their colleges.

The proposal also includes an appeals process.

If a student wants to appeal a faculty member’s accusation of academic misconduct, he or she can appeal the case to the Integrity Council. If a student wants to appeal the Integrity’s Council decision, he or she will have to meet with the academic dean. The student can appeal the dean’s decision and request a hearing with the Academic Appeals Committee. Each body can hand out one sanction or a combination depending on the student’s case.

Currently, the consequences for a student who commits any type of academic misconduct can be determined by a faculty member, the academic dean or the Academic Appeals Committee depending on whether a student wants to pursue the appeals process, according to the Academic Conduct Policy.

Candace Ruocco, SGA House Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and a member of the task force, wrote in an e-mail that the Honor Code will give students an outlet to address academic dishonesty they have committed or witnessed.

Two main points the task force will consider when drafting the Honor code are: outlining multiple forms of cheating and presenting a way for students to hold each other accountable for committing acts of academic misconduct, Ruocco wrote.

The task force will also focus on making sure students are aware of the code and understand it so that they can integrate it into their academic careers, Ruocco wrote.

Justin Brown, SGA House Chair of the Student Relations Committee, wrote in an e-mail the students need to understand that academic integrity is needed to fulfill the academic experience. Academic misconduct supports the idea that student’s grades are more important than the knowledge they gain, Brown wrote.

Ferrandino said after the task force comes to an agreement of the Honor Code’s final draft and once it is approved by the Faculty Senate and SGA, it will go through the University Council and Board of Trustees to become a university-wide policy.

The task force is hoping to have its first meeting this semester but an exact date is undecided, Ferrandino said.