The Bryn Mawr College Honor Code
(as of Spring Plenary ’16)
Whereas, we, the members of the Undergraduate College of Bryn Mawr College, demonstrate our interest in each individual’s capacity for personal integrity and our belief in the principles of self-governance by affirming our student community on a system of academic and social honor;
Whereas, this system depends for its success on continuing support from every member of the Association, from those attending classes at Bryn Mawr, and those visiting our community;
Whereas, this demands that each student live with integrity and discretion in her/his own life and with respect and concern for others within the larger cooperative community; therefore be it
Resolved, that we, the members of the Self-Government Association of the Undergraduate College of Bryn Mawr College, do hereby adopt this Honor Code:
We, the members of the Undergraduate College of Bryn Mawr, have come together in this community in order 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. Such an environment is possible in a community that values respect and concern for individuals and with this respect and concern, a commitment to communication. We have founded our community on the honor and integrity of its members. We trust that each student will be guided by the values of this community. Such trust is essential to maintaining the reciprocity on which our community is based.
Our intellectual and social development requires freedom born from trust. For growth requires more than blind adherence to a code of conduct, it requires reflection — reflection upon our actions and how our actions affect those with whom we share the community. Such reflection is only possible when one’s judgment is trusted.
Growth also requires that we take responsibility for our judgments, actions, and also for our student community. At the heart of growth is the process of learning. Learning is dependent upon an exchange of ideas, a dialogue that can only occur when there is mutual trust, respect, and concern. These qualities are natural in a community where the members are aware of their interrelation and interdependence. Through the community we are able to create an atmosphere for growth and learning as the maintenance of the community has the identical requirement for success as does the process of learning-dialogue.
The quest for the realization of potential that has spawned this community has an intellectual component that extends to a mastery of academic subjects. Fundamental to intellectual development is a social one in which the members of this community reflect upon citizenship and what it means to belong to this community, or any community. The environment for learning that we have endeavored to create rests upon our sense of responsibility to the community, our peers within the community, and to ourselves. Basic to this learning process and the growth of this community and her members are a respect for and value of each member as an individual and also for the wealth of diverse experiences and backgrounds each of us brings to our community.
Although we entered into a community that existed before our arrival, we recreate the community through our participation. Our continued commitment not only to our own development, but to that of our sisters and brothers, results in the enrichment of our atmosphere, the strengthening of our foundation, and the constant reaffirmation of our community. Although our community is based on mutual respect and trust, tensions often arise between interests of individuals and community needs. Because of the diverse experiences and backgrounds of the members of this community, conflicts centering on differences among individuals develop. We recognize that acts of discrimination and harassment, including, but not limited to, acts of racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, and discrimination against religious and political minorities are devoid of respect and therefore, by definition, violate this Code.
Our student community does not stand alone — it is part of the larger Bryn Mawr community. The web of inter-dependence that characterizes our community includes all students taking courses at Bryn Mawr and extends to faculty, administration, and staff. While the jurisdiction of a student Honor Board does not extend beyond the undergraduate student community, this community is enriched when the principles that govern student interactions form the basis for our interactions with all those with whom we share the community.
We recognize that in our interactions with members of our community, problems and conflicts do arise. We have developed procedures by which such problems can be resolved — procedures which are based on the principles of self-governance and the need for communication. Basic to these procedures is a dialogue between the parties involved in the conflict. If such a dialogue does not result in the resolution of a problem, a student Honor Board will assist the parties in arriving at a resolution of the situation.
I. THE HONOR BOARD
A. The Honor Board is responsible for the administration and facilitation of the Honor Code. This includes an orientation for new students each fall, open meetings where the student body can discuss non-confidential matters relating to the Honor Code, and the periodic review of the Honor Code itself.
B. Composition of the Board
- The Academic Honor Board consists of the Dean of the Undergraduate College, three to five members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences elected as Faculty Representatives, and eight students from the Undergraduate College: three students from the senior class (at the beginning of the fall semester), two students from the junior class (at the beginning of the fall semester), two students from the sophomore class (at the beginning of the fall semester), and one student elected as Head of the Honor Board by members of the Association.a. In the case that most current representatives of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences are compromised because of conflicts of interest or scheduling, the Dean’s Office will request that a faculty member who has previously served on the Honor Board be asked to serve on a hearing.
- The Social Honor Board consists of four permanent members who sit on the Academic Honor Board and four rotating members (one from each class) selected at random from the Association.
- There are three specialty appointments on the Board: the Senior Counsel, the Secretary, and the Conflict Resolution Committee. The Senior Counsel serves as the support person for the confronted party in that the Senior Counsel makes clear the procedure of the hearing to the confronted party. The Secretary takes minutes at meetings, writes abstracts, and takes care of the Honor Board budget. The Conflict Resolution Committee works closely with the mediation intake coordinators to schedule mediation and to organize the mediation program. Since it is important for both the Senior Counsel and the Secretary to have an understanding from the experience of the hearing procedure, the Head of the Honor Board, in consultation with the Honor Board, shall appoint elected members of the Board to these positions based on the length of term and/or total time served on the Board. The Conflict Resolution Committee shall likewise be appointed with regards to experience with the Conflict Resolution Committee.
C. The jurisdiction of the Honor Board extends to all members of the Undergraduate College. The Board has the authority to justify any sanction up to failure of an examination or paper, failure of a course, exclusion from a residence hall, exclusion from campus housing or expulsion from the College.
A. Academic Cases
- Confrontationa. If a student or another member of the community (including members of the faculty) suspects that the actions of another student are not consistent with the academic aspects of the Honor Code, she or he should talk in person with the student who committed the alleged violation to determine whether or not a potential violation has occurred. If the confronting party is satisfied that no violation has occurred, no further action is needed. If, after the conversation, the confronting party still believes that a violation may have occurred, the confronting party should ask the confronted student to report herself/himself to the Honor Board (preferably, in writing). This process of confrontation should be conducted in a completely confidential manner.b. The confronted student is obligated to contact the Head of the Honor Board within 48 hours to report that an infraction may have occurred. If the confronting party has not heard from the Head of the Honor Board within 48 hours, she or he should report the possible infraction and the student’s name to the Head. This should be done in writing, if possible.
c. Both the confronting and confronted parties must write separate statements explaining the circumstances as they perceive them. In ordinary circumstances the statements should be submitted to the Honor Board within 72 hours after the confronted student and the Honor Board have made contact.
d. The Head of the Honor Board and the Dean of the Undergraduate College, or his/her/their designee from the Dean’s Office, will read both statements to determine if a hearing is warranted. If it is unclear whether a matter should be addressed by the Academic or Social Honor Board, the Head of the Honor Board in conjunction with the Dean of the Undergraduate College, or his/her/their designee from the Dean’s Office, shall decide to whom the matter will be referred.
- Hearing Proceduresa. If the confronting party is a student, she or he may be represented during the hearing by the professor involved. The confronting student, however, may be asked to write a statement for the hearing.b. The Senior Counsel and/or the Head of the Honor Board talk to the persons involved prior to each hearing. At the hearing, the statements previously submitted to the Honor Board will be read by Board members before the arrival of the confronting and confronted parties. Both parties (confronting and confronted) may read all written statements.
c. In the hearing, the confronted student has the option to be present for all testimony given. The student’s dean is present during the entire hearing, but does not have a vote in the final decision. The hearing is conducted in an informal manner. As soon as the hearing is over, the student is informed of the Board’s decision by the Head of the Honor Board and the Dean of the Undergraduate College or his/her/their designee from the Dean’s Office. The Dean of the Undergraduate College, or his/her/their designee from the Dean’s Office, informs the professor of the confronting party.
d. When the Head of the Honor Board deems it necessary, the Honor Board may call expert witnesses to testify about the materials in question. To ensure impartiality, this witness may not currently be the student’s professor.
e. Each record includes all written statements and the Honor Board’s final decision in the case.
f. At the end of each semester, the Head of the Honor Board will release a final report of the hearings that took place to the Bryn Mawr Community. This report will include the number of academic hearings, the reason why they were brought to the Honor Board, and a broad description of the decision of each hearing. In addition, the Head of the Honor Board will present this information at the end of each semester to the SGA Assembly. Included in the published report, the Head of the Honor Board must also include five to six random abstracts from no earlier than two semesters ago and no older than six. This random selection should be representative of cases that are still relevant to campus life. All members of the Self-Government Association have the right to ask the Head of the Honor Board for as many abstracts from hearings that have happened from no earlier than two semesters ago and no older than six semesters.
g. Appeals of decisions of the Academic Honor Board may be made to the President of the College within one week of the conclusion of the hearing. Appeals may only be made in cases where the procedure followed is questionable. The appeal must be presented in writing. The President will review all materials from the hearing, and the decision of the Honor Board in respect to the complaint of the confronted student. The President will not hear new evidence. The President may uphold any decision of the Honor Board, reverse that decision, or call for a new hearing. Decisions involving separation and exclusion are automatically appealed.
B. Social Cases
a. If a student is offended by the actions of another student, either personally or because the student believes them to be detrimental to the community, the student must confront the student directly as the first step toward conflict resolution. This conversation must take place in person unless the option is not available (i.e. the student is abroad). Confrontation is not a hostile action. The two students should engage in a constructive discussion to try and reach a common understanding. This does not imply an agreement but an “exchange of values” or “expression of concerns” which results in a viable solution for both parties. An Honor Board member may act on behalf of another student if this process would place the student involved in physical danger. In the case of an Honor Board member assisting in the confrontation, a clear line of communication must be maintained between the students involved in the confrontation.
b. In conflicts where a third party may be helpful, the following resources are available:i. The Hall Adviser’s role is that of advising the students on how to use the Honor Code. Hall advisers may, if asked by one of the conflicting parties, help facilitate, but not mediate, the resolution of prolonged disputes. They are a part of the support network during repeated attempts at confrontation; they may give advice to both sides.ii. If the problem remains unsolved, a formal mediation may be desired. Mediation is a process by which a trained, neutral third party assists the parties in a conflict to arrive at a resolution through facilitating communication. The Conflict Resolution Committee, along with Facilitated Dialogue, can be utilized to foster communication and help solve prolonged disputes with complete confidentiality. Contact information for both resources can be found in the student handbook and on the College’s Web site.
iii. Customs people, because it is necessary that they maintain good relations with both sides of a dispute, are asked not to participate in mediation or confrontation between freshwomen in their halls. They may refer conflicting parties to the appropriate resources.
iv. Honor Board representatives, assigned by dorm, are available to address concerns regarding the Honor Code and confrontation.
c. Confidentiality is vital to the success of the Social Honor Code; knowledge of the problem must be confined to as limited a group of people as possible (ie: the persons involved, HA’s, mediators, counselors, 1-2 confidants, etc.).
d. If the issue cannot be resolved, the Head of the Honor Board should be contacted.
e. Both the confronting and confronted parties must write separate statements explaining the circumstances as they perceive them. In ordinary circumstances, the statements should be submitted to the Honor Board within 72 hours after the confronted student and the Honor Board have made contact.
f. The Head of the Honor Board, along with the Senior Counsel and with one other Board member, will collect written statements and determine if a hearing is warranted and which witnesses will be heard.
- Hearing Proceduresa. The Head of the Honor Board informs the confronted student of her or his option to seek advice from the Senior Counsel.b. The Senior Counsel and/or the Head talk to the parties involved prior to each hearing. At the hearing, the statements previously submitted to the Honor Board will be read by Board members before the arrival of the confronting and confronted parties.
c. In the hearing, the confronted student has the option to be present for all testimony given and, in the event that the confronted student decides to speak, speaks last. The hearing is conducted in an informal manner. As soon as the hearing is over, the student is informed of the decision of the Board by the Head of the Honor Board and Senior Counsel.
d. Social hearings are confidential. Each record includes all written statements and the Honor Board’s final decision in the case.
e. At the beginning of the spring semester, the Head of the Honor Board must release Social Honor Board Hearing abstracts from no earlier than two semesters ago and no older than ten. These abstracts should be presented to the SGA assembly and will be released to the Bryn Mawr community. The Head of the Honor Board should take into consideration issues of confidentiality while selecting these abstracts as there still may be collective memory over the incident. The Head of the Honor Board will consult the Dean of Undergraduate Students when doing so. If the Head of the Honor Board does not have any Social Honor Board abstracts to release, then she must state this to the SGA Assembly at the beginning of the spring semester.
a. Appeals of decisions of the Social Honor Board must be directed to the President of the Self-Government Association, in writing, within one week of the conclusion of the hearing unless the confronted student is a current member of the SGA assembly. Appeals may only be made in cases where the procedure followed is questionable; decisions involving separation and exclusion are automatically appealed. The President of the SGA will appoint two members of the SGA Assembly to an Appeal Committee. The student bringing the appeal selects one member of the SGA Assembly to serve on the Appeal Committee. Those three choose two more members from the SGA assembly; the five elect a chairperson. The Appeal Committee invites the Head of the Honor Board to respond in writing to the complaint and reviews this and all other written materials. It may interview the student bringing the appeal and the Head of the Honor Board. The Appeal Committee may uphold the Honor Board’s decision, reverse the decision, or order a new hearing. It reports in writing to the President of the SGA. The Appeal Committee must complete its work in one sitting.
b. Final appeal may be directed in writing to the President of the College and the President of the SGA within three days of receipt of the decision of the Appeal Committee. The Presidents will review all materials from the hearing and the appeal. They may uphold the decision of the Appeal Committee, reverse it, or order a new hearing.
c. If the confronted student is a current member of the SGA assembly, appeals must be directed to the President of the College, in writing, within one week of the conclusion of the hearing. Appeals may only be made in cases where the procedure followed is questionable. The President will review all materials from the hearing, and the decision of the Honor Board in respect to the complaint of the appealing student. The President will not hear new evidence. The President may uphold any decision of the Honor Board, reverse that decision, or call for a new hearing. Decisions involving separation and exclusion are automatically appealed.
III. DEAN’S PANEL
A. Matters that are beyond the ability of the Honor Board to resolve, including criminal matters, shall be brought before a Dean’s Panel. In determining whether a Dean’s Panel is indicated, the Dean of the Undergraduate College shall consult with the Head of the Honor Board.
B. Procedures for the conduct of a Dean’s Panel are found in the Student Handbook.
A. Academic Resolutions
These resolutions are to preserve and ensure the integrity of the College and of the individuals within it. Each student is responsible for the integrity of her own academic work. Thus, it is important that each student read and understand these academic resolutions, as each student will be held responsible for them.
- Examinations and Quizzesa. Students are not to reveal the form, content, or degree of difficulty of any examination or quiz. Discretion should be used in discussing the examination and in disposing of the examination.b. Examinations at the end of each semester will be conducted without proctors in the examination rooms. However, one or more student proctors will remain in each building to be called in case of emergency and to maintain quiet.
c. There should be no talking in the examination rooms. A student may leave an examination but should not create a disturbance. On completion of examinations, students are requested to leave the building promptly and quietly. Examinations will be written in blue books or on other paper provided by the College. Students are urged to occupy alternate seats where space permits. Students should not bring books and papers into the examination room unless told to do so by the instructor.
d. In a scheduled examination, the instructor or the instructor’s representative may stay in an examination room for about fifteen minutes at the beginning of an examination to answer questions, and may return at the close of the examination to collect papers. Students, upon completing, shall leave all blue books on the instructor’s desk or as otherwise instructed.
e. Quizzes will be conducted in the same manner except that the instructor may remain in the room. Quizzes will ordinarily begin at ten past the hour, and students are responsible for observing time limits.
f. In self-scheduled examinations, students must stop writing at the time specified by the instructor. Both the self-scheduled examination questions and the ‘blue books’ will be returned to the proctor in the building after the students complete them. The same standard of integrity is expected of students in cases of take-home or open book examinations, or any type of examination. The time allowed for a take-home examination or quiz is considered to run from the time the student opens the examination through the time limit specified by the instructor. A student may not use course materials, or seek any other outside help, unless specifically instructed to do so.
- Other Academic Worka. In reports and other written work, sources of information and of ideas and opinions not the student’s own must be clearly indicated; the source of direct quotations must be acknowledged. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism.b. In laboratory work, each student, unless otherwise directed, is expected to make all the necessary measurements, drawings, etc., independently, from her/his own observations of the material provided. All records, including numerical data for working out results, are to be used by the student independently and as initially recorded.
c. Collaboration among students in the preparation of work may take place as approved by the instructor.
d. Permission must be obtained in advance from all professors concerned if a paper is to be submitted for credit in more than one course. If the paper has been used in a previous course or another school, the current professor should be made aware of the fact.
e. Any student who is uncertain about the application of the preceding rules to any particular assignment should ask the instructor for more explicit directions.
- Library — Use of library resources is subject to the Honor Code, as well as normal library regulations. It is the responsibility of the students to acquaint themselves with the regulations regarding the use of library materials, especially those materials on reserve. If a student fails to return a library book on time, despite requests from the librarian, it will be considered an infraction of the Academic Honor Code, and will be dealt with accordingly.
- Faculty — Members of the faculty are not under the jurisdiction of the Honor Code but may participate in confrontation. Complaints about a faculty member should first be made to the professor and then to the Dean of the Undergraduate College.
B. Social Resolutions of the Honor Code
The Social Honor Code attempts to reconcile the often-conflicting demands of community and personal responsibility to create an atmosphere in which individuals interact effectively. Policies approved by the vote of the Self-Government Association are the only policies that fall under the jurisdiction of the Honor Board. The social resolutions represent guidelines for conduct in areas where a need for community agreement on behavior exists, and may at times restrict the maximum freedom of each individual. Confrontation is appropriate whenever a student feels that their rights have been infringed upon. The following resolutions do not exhaust all situations in which confrontation may be appropriate.
- Confidentiality — The right of each student to privacy shall be preserved except in cases of dire emergency. When answering phones, no information concerning any student may be released without an express directive from the student. This same concern should be considered when replying to written or verbal requests for information about another member of the Association or the larger community.
- Guests — Every guest on the campus is bound by the Honor Code regulations while staying on the campus; future visits by guests who have violated these regulations may be restricted. Each student is responsible for seeing that her/his guests are acquainted with the resolutions of the Association. The student will not be penalized for a guest’s failure to comply with the resolutions if the guest has been informed of them. This statement refers only to the student Social Honor Code procedures. The student and their guest may be subject to College administrative procedures and penalty. Guests may be received in students’ rooms at any hour. For the security of the halls, any stranger should be escorted to the public rooms, to the room of the person being visited, or out of the hall. Men’s use of bathrooms shall be determined by each corridor in any women’s hall. It is a College rule that guests may stay in halls for short visits only. Violations may be reported to the Dean of the Undergraduate College.
- Dormitory Life — Decisions pertaining to the specific door-keeping practices, smoking areas, and quiet hours of each dormitory will be determined at the first dorm meeting of each academic year.
- Policies on Alcohol and Drugs — The College’s policies on alcohol and drugs are also included in this Honor Code.
V. OTHER INSTITUTIONS
A. If a Bryn Mawr student is in violation of the honor system of another institution, including those with which Bryn Mawr has cooperative agreements (except Haverford, with whom there is a special agreement), that violation will be adjudicated at that institution. The student should report the case to the Bryn Mawr Honor Board, but ordinarily no action will be taken at Bryn Mawr.
B. Special Agreement with Haverford College (College A may be either Bryn Mawr or Haverford College, depending on where the case originates.)
- When College A concludes a hearing of a case involving a student from College B with a recommendation for action which requires enforcement by College B, the student will have five days to appeal to the President of College A, using College A’s appeal procedures. If, after the appeal period, there remain some results which must be enforced by College B, that recommendation is forwarded by the appropriate person in College A to the appropriate person in College B (i.e. when an appeal was heard, by the President of College A to the Dean of College B; when there was no appeal, by the Dean of College A to the Dean of College B).
- At College B, an inquiry will be made by the dean and the student head of Honor Board or Council. It is understood that this should not constitute a second hearing of the case, but all materials from the hearing should be available to the inquiry, which may also call upon anyone involved for further questioning. The inquiry will not affect the resolution of the case in those areas where enforcement is within the authority of College A, but will only decide whether the recommendation for action referred to College B will be accepted, modified, or rejected. The student has five days to appeal the results of the inquiry to the President of College B, whose decision is final.
- Students should be familiar with both the Bryn Mawr and the Haverford Honor Codes, as one is expected to adhere to the Code of the campus one is on. There are several significant differences between the Colleges’ Honor Codes of which each student should be aware.
- The Bi-Co Liaison will be utilized as appropriate.
- The purpose of the Bi-Co Liaison is to keep the home institution informed, as well as serve as a source of knowledge about the home institution. The liaison will be responsible to attend any necessary meetings, transporting any necessary documents back to the home institution, and bringing up relevant points that the jury may have thus far neglected to consider.
- The liaison at both institutions will be governed by the same set of procedures that were consented by both, the Bryn Mawr Honor Board and the Haverford Honor Council, and will be made readily available to the community. Changes to these guidelines that do not conflict with what has already been stated can only be changed with the consent of both the Bryn Mawr Honor Board and Haverford Honor Council.