The Honor Code
The Honor System
For more than a hundred years the Honor System has been one of Sewanee’s most cherished institutions. The Honor Code is an attempt to formulate that system, but no code can adequately define honor. Honor is an ideal and an obligation. It exists in the human spirit and it lives in the relations between human beings. One can know honor without defining it.
The Honor Code
Resolutions which have been adopted by the student body from time to time to further an understanding of the Honor System include the following:
- First, that any adequate conception of honor demands that an honorable person shall not lie or cheat or steal.
- Second, that membership in the student body carries with it a peculiar responsibility for the punctilious observance of those standards of conduct which govern an honorable person in every walk of life.
- Third, that since the integrity of the degrees granted by the University must depend in large degree upon the Honor Code, all students in every class must regard themselves as particularly bound by their honor not to cheat in any form, and as likewise bound in honor not to fail to report any cheating that comes to their knowledge.
- Fourth, that plagiarism is a form of cheating because the plagiarist copies or imitates the language and thoughts of others and passes the result off as an original work. Plagiarism includes the failure to identify a direct quotation by the use of quotation marks or another accepted convention which delimits and identifies the quotation clearly, paraphrasing the work of another without an acknowledgement of the source, or using the ideas of another, even though expressed in different words, without giving proper credit.
- Fifth, the same paper may not be submitted in more than one course without the prior permission of the instructors in those courses.
- Sixth, because the preservation of equal access to scholarly materials is essential in any academic community, it is a violation of the Honor Code to fail to check out materials taken from the library, or to remove from the building without proper authorization non-circulating materials such as reference books, periodicals, or reserved books.
The Honor Pledge
Upon entrance to the University every student agrees to abide by this Honor System and is asked to sign a form signifying acceptance of this Honor Code. Each examination, quiz, or other paper which is to be graded carries the written pledge: “I hereby certify that I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this paper. (Signature).” The abbreviation “Pledged” followed by the student’s signature has the same meaning and may be acceptable.
The Honor Council
An important part of Sewanee’s Honor System is its maintenance and administration by the students. For this purpose students elect an Honor Council consisting of four seniors, four juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman. All members are elected by their respective classes. Following the election of new members in the spring, current and newly elected members of the Honor Council shall elect a Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary. The Council may invite a student from the School of Theology to participate, without vote, in its proceedings.
The election and organization of this Council, its jurisdiction, its rules of procedure, and other relevant matters are subject to oversight by the Order of the Gown and the Student Government Association. The Honor Code may be changed by one of two reform processes. The Honor Council may propose changes; any such changes must receive a three-fourths vote of approval from the Honor Council before receiving an endorsement from the President of the Order of the Gown. If endorsed by the Order of the Gown, the proposed changes then must receive two-thirds or greater vote in the Student Government Association, after which the Vice Chancellor must give final approval to the proposed change. There can be no less than a two-week period and no more than an eight-week period between voting or an endorsement decision by such governing bodies or individuals. Alternatively, students (including student organizations) may propose changes to the Code through the Student Government Association which may consult with the Honor Council on such matters. Such proposed changes will be submitted to a referendum vote by the entire student body and must receive approval of two-thirds of those voting, and of the Vice Chancellor. If any changes properly fulfill either of the two processes available to change the document, then the changes will become effective immediately within reason.
The jurisdiction of the Honor Code is not restricted to matters occurring on the Domain of the University. Cases may arise, however, because of distance or other circumstances, for which a fair hearing is impractical. The Council shall release case-related statistics, mindful of the students’ right of confidentiality, to be made available to the student body.
Although it is each student’s responsibility to know the content of the Code, the Chair of the Honor Council undertakes each year to familiarize new students with its meaning and significance and to remind the faculty and staff of their responsibility to support the Code.
The Concept of Honor: One shall not lie, cheat, or steal.
Revised May 2019; effective Advent 2019.