Hamilton College strives to create a community built on trust and integrity. Its mission is the education of the student—the whole student. One of Hamilton’s eight educational goals is “Ethical, informed, and engaged citizenship,” which includes “exercising sound and informed judgment in accordance with just principles.” Character education at Hamilton is just as important as the specific curriculum that is taught in individual classes. Academic integrity is one of our shared values, and it relies on an assumption of our collective sense of honor.
Hamilton is one of about 100 colleges and universities in the country that have a formal student-initiated and student-governed Honor Code. It was conceived of and written by R. Hawley Truax, class of 1909, and was first approved by each of the four graduating classes who were on the Hill in 1912. To find out more about the history of Hamilton’s Honor Code, as well as other information about the Honor Court who oversees it, see this piece that was published in the fall-winter 2012 Hamilton Magazine.
The Code is assumed at all times, both in and out of the classroom, and applies to all academic work, no matter how small the assignment, as well as any activity in which a student is a representative of Hamilton (e.g., extra- or co-curricular activity) or that involves any use of Hamilton community resources (e.g., summer research).
At Convocation each year, all new first-year and transfer students formally sign the Honor Code pledge:
By my signature below, I affirm on my honor that I will abstain from dishonesty in all academic work. I have read and understand the Honor Code and I will abide by its provisions. I will work to strengthen the honor of Hamilton College and its students by upholding the Honor Code myself and working to ensure others do as well.