Bryn Mawr College is an institution that takes pride not only in a legacy of excellence, but also in many grand traditions. The Honor Code is one such tradition that is woven into all aspects of life on campus at Bryn Mawr. It is a living document that the Undergraduate student community adopts, “to create an environment in which each member is able to realize their full potential- a potential which is realized through intellectual and social growth.” By adopting this document, the Undergraduate student community acknowledges that respect and concern for one another is key to our development, both socially and academically.
Meet the Board:
The Honor Board consists of 8 students (3 Seniors, 2 Juniors, 2 Sophomores and the Head of the Honor Board) elected by the Undergraduate student body each year in February. They are representative of the students in Academic hearings, Social hearings and Deans Panels and are part of the deliberation process that decides the outcomes and resolutions of cases in conjunction with the Dean of the Undergraduate College and Faculty members of the Honor Board. Their responsibilities also include educating the incoming class about life under the Honor Code at Bryn Mawr College, distributing information about examination policies, distributing Finals week materials and schedules, and delivering hearing reports to the Assembly at the end of each semester as prescribed in the Honor Code.
Confidentiality is vital to the success of the Honor Code. Knowledge of any social or academic conflicts is confined to as few people as possible (parties involved, members of the Honor Board and those who might have taken part in mediation processes). All witnesses and parties are required to keep all proceedings strictly confidential.
Honor Board Head Office Hours:
Want to chat about the Code? Have questions about what an academic or social infraction is? Interested in joining the Board? Curious about the hearing process? Need some advice on how to pursue a possible situation?
Come down to the lower level of GUILD to informally chat with the Head of the Honor Board EVERY Tuesday 10:00am – 12:00pm.
Don’t be shy- She likes making new friends!
Honor Code FAQs:
Q: So what’s this I hear about not talking about grades?
A: There is no official, written clause in the Honor Code about the discussion of grades. Bryn Mawr as a community treats talking about grades in particular contexts as against the spirit of the Honor Code. It is seen as inappropriate to discuss grades in public settings (anywhere people other than participants of the conversation are likely to hear), or with individuals whose permission you have not asked. For example, asking people how they did on an exam as you’re walking out of class would be considered inappropriate, but talking to a friend privately about grades after he/she has agreed he/she does not mind talking about grades is completely fine. As cheesy as it sounds, this contributes to creating an environment in which students can choose to focus more on learning than on grades; and motivation is based on internal standards rather than external competition. At the same time, you definitely have the option of discussing and venting about grades when you choose to — just in the right setting.
Q: What are the different types of exams and how does each of them work?
A: Exams may be take-home, scheduled, or self-scheduled (to be decided upon by the professor). Scheduled exams are proctored and administered at specified locations during a specified time (the standard exam arrangement at most schools). Take-home exams are typically handed out in envelopes in class, to be self-timed, completed according to the professor’s instructions, and returned by a certain deadline. Self-scheduled Final exams can be taken during a set of available exam times. During these times, volunteer student proctors are available to distribute exams (to be taken in Taylor or Park Science Building classrooms) and to collect completed exams. More information on exam procedures will be circulated before Finals.
Q: What should I do if I think that someone has violated the Honor Code?
A: You should always directly confront the community member about what happened. If the violation was academic, you should inform the student that she/he has 48 hours to turn her/himself to the Honor Board Head. If you think that a social infraction occurred and you are not able to work out the problem during the confrontation, you and the other community member(s) should attempt to resolve the situation using other means such as the Conflict Resolution Committee, Honor Board Dorm Liaisons, the Counseling Center, or by asking a Hall Advisor or Dean to facilitate (not mediate) a meaningful conversation. Only if these alternate avenues prove unsuccessful, should all of the parties involved contact the Head of the Honor Board, and at that point, the elected members of the Honor Board decide if a Social Honor Board will be convened for a hearing.
It is always best to confront the problem as opposed to “letting it slide.” This creates potential for future infractions and undermines the community goal of conducting ourselves with honor, integrity and living in trust.
Q: How should I confront someone who I think may have violated the Honor Code?
A: Confrontation is a very serious responsibility and whenever possible, should be done in person. Emails, notes, voicemails, instant messages, or blog entries about a possible infraction are unacceptable forms of confrontation. If you feel uncomfortable confronting someone, you may use the various forms of communication mentioned above to request a meeting, but you should refrain from mentioning the incident until you are able to do so face-to-face. If you feel a confrontation may be unsafe, you may ask to be accompanied by or represented by an Honor Board Liaison or request support from the Conflict Resolution Committee.
While confrontation seems a bit intimidating and often has a negative connotation with it- the Honor Code hopes students use is as a tool of empowerment. It is a means by which students can resolve issues on their own and grow from experiences in cooperation with one another.
Q: How does the Honor Code work when I’m at Haverford or Swarthmore?
A: When on other campuses, Bryn Mawr students are expected to abide by the Honor Code(s) and/or regulations of those schools. Any infractions will be taken care of at that school, and should be reported to Bryn Mawr. However, generally no additional action will be taken at the home institution. Bryn Mawr and Haverford have a special agreement that allows the two colleges to try students and then recommend courses of action to each other when violations by one college’s student have occurred on the other’s college campus by using the Bi-Co Liaison.
For more information on Haverford College’s Honor Code, visit http://honorcouncil.haverford.edu/the-code/.
For more information on Swarthmore College’s Academic Policies, visit http://www.swarthmore.edu/student-life/student-handbook/academic-policies.xml.
For more information on UPenn’s Code of Academic Integrity, visit https://provost.upenn.edu/policies/pennbook/2013/02/13/code-of-academic-integrity.
Q: Are there any differences between the BMC and Haverford Honor Codes?
A: Yes, Haverford’s Code contains a clause that requires students to report any suspected violations to the Honor Council and a requirement to sign an Honor Pledge before taking an exam. In contrast, Bryn Mawr has no explicit reporting requirement in its Honor Code. If you believe you have observed an honor code violation, you are certainly encouraged to report it; you are not required to do so nor will you be judged for not reporting the infraction. This will be done through the standard procedures of private confrontation followed by contact with the Head of the Honor Board.
Q: I want to be careful not to plagiarize. Where can I find out more about proper citation?
A: When in doubt, always consult your professor. Also, citation guides are available in the College Bookstore. The library has a website on citation. You’ve also many resources on campus- both in and outside of dorms- like the Writing Center and Peer Mentor Services.
Q: Who can I ask about the Honor Code?
A: Feel free to get in touch with any of the current members of the Honor Board. We’re more than happy to help! All of our contact information is supplied above, or you can email the Head of the Honor Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. The members of the Honor Board are elected by the students- so feel free to approach us!