IV. Procedures Pertaining to Case Resolution
IV. PROCEDURES PERTAINING TO CASE RESOLUTION
The Undergraduate Honor System will be the central location for maintaining records and overseeing the process for adjudicating cases dealing with violations of the Honor Code. All members of the university community should contact the Undergraduate Honor System for clarification or assistance with the reporting and handling of alleged violations of the Honor Code.
All persons in the Virginia Tech academic community (students, faculty, staff, and administration) shall be responsible for reporting alleged incidents of academic misconduct that come to their knowledge. Initial reports of alleged academic misconduct may be reported to the instructor of the course or directly to the Undergraduate Honor System. The initial reporting of an alleged incident may occur verbally, electronically, or in writing.
IV. A. FACULTY-STUDENT RESOLUTION PROCEDURES
Faculty members/instructors are required to report all cases of alleged academic misconduct. In a case where the student accused of a violation of the Honor Code has no previous record of academic misconduct, a faculty member/instructor has the option of meeting with the student to resolve the incident after receiving authorization from the Undergraduate Honor System. A faculty member/instructor is not required to meet with the student. A student may also choose not to participate in the Faculty-Student Resolution process and have their case referred directly to the Undergraduate Honor System.
Should either the faculty member/instructor or the student choose not to participate in the Faculty-Student Resolution process, the case will then proceed either to an Honor System Meeting, a hearing panel, or an administrative meeting, given the particular circumstances of the case.
The faculty-student resolution option typically consists of five distinct steps.
IV. A. 1. Initial Reporting of Suspected Violation
The faculty member/instructor should contact the Undergraduate Honor System within 10 University business days of observing, discovering, or receiving a report of an alleged incident of academic misconduct to begin a case file, discuss the UHS process, and request authorization to meet with the student to determine if academic misconduct has occurred. If the student has a previous record of academic misconduct, the case is required to be referred to the Undergraduate Honor System for further handling.
IV. A. 2. Meeting Between Faculty Member and Student
If there is no previous record and authorization is granted by the Undergraduate Honor System, the faculty member/ instructor may decide to handle the case individually through the Faculty- Student Resolution approach. A meeting will be scheduled and a Facilitator will normally be provided by the Undergraduate Honor System. The instructor(s) who reported the matter, the student(s) believed to have violated the policy, and the Facilitator are the only participants in this meeting. Proceedings in a case resolved in this manner are informal and non-adversarial. The purpose of the meeting will be to review and discuss the charges before the faculty member makes a decision. In this meeting, the student should also be informed of the allegation and given the opportunity to be heard. If authorized by the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity, in extenuating circumstances, the faculty member/instructor and student may be allowed to meet without a Facilitator present.
IV. A. 3. Faculty Determination and Recommendation
The faculty member/instructor will determine if they believe that academic misconduct has occurred. If no misconduct is found the case is dropped, no action against the student is taken, and the decision is reported to the Undergraduate Honor System. If the faculty member/instructor determines that there has been academic misconduct, the faculty member/instructor determines the severity of the violation and recommends a sanction in accordance with the Undergraduate Honor System policies and procedures.
NOTE: In all cases, if the faculty member/instructor determines the violation deserves a greater penalty than an “F*” sanction in the course (i.e., suspension or expulsion), the case must be referred to the Undergraduate Honor System for adjudication.
IV. A. 4. Student Notification of Faculty Recommendation
The faculty member/instructor shall inform the student of the recommended sanction and of the process. The student is required to check one of the response options on the Undergraduate Honor System Violation Report Form and sign the form.
IV. A. 5. Student Options
If the student accepts responsibility for the academic misconduct and accepts the sanction assigned by the faculty member/instructor, the Undergraduate Honor System Violation Report Form is sent to the Undergraduate Honor System within 10 University business days of the form being completed and signed by the student. In extenuating circumstances, the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity may extend the deadline for submission of the Honor Code Violation Report Form. The Form will be included in the case file and the case is complete.
If the student indicates on the Undergraduate Honor System Violation Report Form that they do not agree with the sanction, deny that misconduct occurred, or requests to discuss the matter further with a member of the Undergraduate Honor System’s staff, the faculty member/instructor submits the Undergraduate Honor System Violation Report Form and all applicable documentation to the Undergraduate Honor System within 10 University business days. In extenuating circumstances, the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity may extend the deadline for submission of the Honor Code Violation Report Form and the applicable documentation. This submission begins the process by which the Undergraduate Honor System adjudicates the case.
A case of alleged academic misconduct can be resolved through the Faculty-Student Resolution Process without the faculty member and student meeting together.
In situations in which the student and/or faculty member are unable to meet or do not wish to meet, a faculty member may complete the Honor Code Violation Report Form and send it, along with supporting documentation, directly to the Undergraduate Honor System.
Undergraduate Honor System personnel will then meet with the student to discuss the allegations of academic misconduct and the faculty member’s recommended sanction(s). The student will then have an opportunity to select one of the options described in Step IV. A. 5. of the above section.
Figure 1 visually depicts the faculty-student resolution procedure.
IV. B. UNDERGRADUATE HONOR SYSTEM PROCEDURES
Faculty members/instructors must report all alleged infractions of the Honor Code, including those to be resolved by the faculty member/instructor and student through the Faculty- Student Resolution process. The faculty member/instructor should contact the Undergraduate Honor System within 10 University business days of observing, discovering, or receiving a report of an alleged incident of academic misconduct. In extenuating circumstances, the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity may extend the deadline for reporting an incident of academic misconduct. For cases to be handled by the Undergraduate Honor System, the following procedures will guide the process.
IV. C. 1. Receipt of Report and Review of Alleged Incident
Reported violations of the Undergraduate Honor System are assigned to a member of the Undergraduate Honor System personnel for investigation. The Undergraduate Honor System gathers information from the reporting faculty member/instructor that supports the allegation. This may include, but is not limited to, the course syllabus, assignment guidelines, and any other materials that may assist in clarifying the case. The faculty member/instructor or reporter may also offer the names of others who have knowledge that could clarify the case.
IV. C. 2. Meeting with Student (s)
A member of the Undergraduate Honor System personnel meets with the student (when possible) to gather information. The accused student is given the incident report during this meeting. If the student has graduated or is absent from campus, the Honor System will attempt to contact the student in order to provide the student with the incident report. A member of the Undergraduate Honor System personnel may also meet with other persons who have information about the case. The accused student may give the Undergraduate Honor System personnel names of persons who may have clarifying information about the case. Interviews are conducted when necessary.
IV. C. 3. Submission of Preliminary Findings
A member of the Undergraduate Honor System’s personnel completes a report to the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity summarizing all information collected and all interviews conducted. The report concludes with a recommendation on whether there is sufficient information to support the allegation of academic misconduct. If the recommendation concludes that there is insufficient information to support the allegation, the Director will contact the faculty member to seek additional information. After consulting with the faculty member, if the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity determines that there is not sufficient information to support the allegation, the Undergraduate Honor System creates an event file that contains no reference to the student’s name and the charges are dropped. If there is sufficient information to support the allegation, the case continues to a hearing.
IV. C. 4. Hearing Panel
Undergraduate Honor System panel members are selected to serve on a hearing panel. The hearing panel is comprised as follows: three student panel members with voting privileges, two faculty panel members with voting privileges, and one non-voting student chairperson. The Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity may permit a hearing panel to consist of fewer than five voting members in extenuating circumstances as long as at least one faculty panel member is present and there remains a voting majority for the student members on the panel.
IV. C. 5. Scheduling of Hearing
A hearing date and time are set and all parties are notified in writing of the charges being levied, witnesses expected to appear at the hearing, all evidence in possession of the Undergraduate Honor System, hearing panel date, time, and location at least two business days prior to the hearing.
If the student who is accused of academic misconduct does not reside on or near campus, accommodations will be offered (i.e. teleconference and/or video conference) to give the student an opportunity to participate in the hearing.
Faculty and students who are scheduled to appear before a hearing panel will be offered the opportunity to participate in a pre-hearing meeting with a member of the Undergraduate Honor System personnel prior to the hearing panel date. Case facilitators and other Undergraduate Honor System personnel are available to explain the honor system policies and procedures, discuss how the hearing panels work, and assist with preparation for a hearing. While participation in pre-hearing meetings is not required, it is strongly encouraged.
IV. C. 6. Conducting Hearing
A script for the hearing panel will be provided to the panel members. The functions of the hearing panel members are as follows: listen to all who provide information, deliberate in private, make a decision on responsibility (by a simple-majority vote) based on the preponderance of evidence presented at the hearing, conduct the hearing as an educational hearing and not as an adversarial proceeding, and recommend sanctions in accordance with the Undergraduate Honor System’s policies and procedures (when a student is found responsible for an Honor Code violation).
A student may have one advisor who is a member of the University community present at the hearing. The advisor may not participate in the proceedings. The advisor’s role is specifically limited to conferring with his or her advisee.
IV. C. 7. Notification of Hearing Panel Decision
The Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity notifies the student in writing of the hearing panel’s decision and sanctions (if the student is found responsible), normally within two business days after the hearing. Notification of the hearing panel’s decision is sent to all parties involved in the case, including the student, the faculty member/instructor, the student’s department head, the faculty member’s department head, the student’s dean(s), and the University Registrar.
In extenuating circumstances, a student may request an administrative hearing. If an administrative hearing is granted by the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity, the procedures described in this section shall be followed, but a member of the Undergraduate Honor System’s personnel shall determine whether a student is responsible for an Honor Code violation and assign a sanction if the student is responsible as opposed to the hearing panel.
IV. C. STUDENT APPEAL HEARINGS
A student found responsible for academic misconduct by a hearing panel or at an administrative hearing has 10 university business days after being notified of the decision to request an appeal hearing in writing to the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity.
There are four reasons for which an appeal hearing may be granted:
IV. E. 1. Substantial new and relevant evidence not available at the time of the original hearing. Such evidence must have been unavailable prior to or during the formal hearing, not merely evidence that a student chose at the time not to share or obtain.
IV. E. 2. Procedural irregularities.
IV. E. 3. Sanction(s) not commensurate with the violation. These are not sanctions that a student disagrees with, but rather sanctions inconsistent with one’s conduct or with case precedent.
IV. E. 4. Finding of responsibility inconsistent with the facts presented during the hearing.
For an appeal hearing request to be considered valid, one or more reasons for appeal must be cited and appropriately supported in the written appeal hearing request. Students are limited to one appeal per case.
The Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity will evaluate the appeal hearing request to determine whether an appeal hearing is warranted based on the allowed reasons for an appeal. If the appeal hearing is granted, a panel is formed following the procedures described previously.
Members of the appeal hearing panel will be different from those who served on the original hearing panel and will be drawn from the Honor Council. The decision reached by the Honor Council in the appeal hearing is final. Figure 2 visually depicts the formal hearing procedure.