Upon matriculation and once each year, all students must sign the following pledge:
By my signature below, I affirm (reaffirm) on my honor that I shall abstain from dishonesty in all academic work. I have read and understood the regulations governing academic conduct and the Constitution of the Honor Court, and I shall abide by their provisions. It is my obligation to take action and to report violations of the Honor Code to the proper authorities.
Students who suspect or witness violations of the Honor Code are obligated to report the suspected dishonesty to the instructor in the course, to the Chair of the Honor Court, or to the Dean of Students.
Any form of academic dishonesty is a serious offense in an academic community. At Hamilton such dishonesty will often result in removal from the course, assignment of an XF for the course, or separation from the College community, or some combination of these. It is essential, therefore, that every student understand the standards of academic honesty and how to avoid dishonesty by proper acknowledgment of intellectual indebtedness. The Court will not excuse a lack of awareness or understanding of what constitutes academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:
The purpose of the Honor Court shall to uphold Hamilton standards of academic dishonesty and to insure protection of students' rights in questions of alleged violations of the Hamilton College Honor Code.
The Honor Court shall be composed of the non-voting student Chair and ten voting members, consisting of seven students and three faculty members. The students, two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, and one first-year student, shall, be elected according to Student Assembly election procedures during the spring semester of the preceding academic year, except in the case of the first-year student, who will be elected during the fall semester of the current academic year. Student members of the Court may not be on academic or disciplinary probation.
The Chair shall be elected in the spring by the outgoing Court from among candidates nominated by that court.
Faculty members shall be elected by the Faculty at its May meeting, one each year for staggered three year terms, from a slate nominated by the Nomination Committee of the Student Assembly Central Council. The written consent of the nominees must be presented to the Academic Council with the slate at least two weeks in advance of the election. At least two candidates will be nominated for each vacancy. If the Student Assembly is unable to present a slate, the Academic Council shall nominate candidates. In accordance with faculty rules, candidates may be nominated from the floor.
If the Chair resigns or cannot serve for any reason, the Court will elect a Chair from among its members. If there is a vacancy on the Court during the academic year, it shall publish notice of the vacancy in two consecutive issues of The Spectator and shall elect by a majority vote a substitute Court member from the names of interested and qualified persons responding to the notice.
All members of the Court will be invited to every Court hearing. A quorum of the Court shall consist of six voting members: five students and one faculty, plus the Chair, who shall not vote. If a quorum cannot be attained owing to disqualification of members for conflict of interest, the case must be scheduled at a time when it can be heard by the maximum number of Court members who are qualified to hear the case. In all other instances when a quorum is not attained, the hearing shall be rescheduled.
Any member of the Court who believes that he or she has a conflict of interest in a particular case may disqualify himself or herself after consultation with the Chair. The Chair may also request a disqualification of a member of the Court by majority vote of the Court if the Chair believes that the member has a conflict of interest. In addition, the accused may request that the Chair seek disqualification of any member of the Court if the accused believes that a conflict of interest exists with that member. The accused must present to the Chair written explanation as to the nature of the alleged conflict of interest. The Chair will have final authority to determine whether or not to seek disqualification from the Court.
Throughout these procedures, the Dean of students is understood to mean the Dean or his or her designee.
Violations of the Honor Code are considered to be infractions against Hamilton College. Complaints against students for alleged violations of the Honor Code shall be presented to the Dean of Students or to the Chair in writing. The Dean of Students and/or the Chair shall investigate the charges and gather any form of evidence that may aid the members of the Court in reaching a decision. The Dean of Students and the Chair shall determine if the case warrants a hearing. In no circumstance will the Dean of Students or the Chair discuss the case with other members of the Court, except in the presence of the accused.
If it is determined that the case does not warrant a hearing, the case shall be dismissed. The complainant and the accused shall be informed in writing. A decision not to hear a case may be appealed by the complainant or the accused to the Appeals Board, which may direct the Court to hear the case.
If it is determined that the case warrants a hearing, the Dean of Students shall prepare a formal statement of the charges and of the evidence against the accused. The Dean of Students shall inform the accused in writing of the charges, the evidence, the range of sanctions available to the Court, and the following rights:
The Dean of Students and the Honor Court Chair will decide whether to approve a request for an administrative hearing. A decision by the Dean of Students and Honor Court Chair to deny an administrative hearing may not be appealed. Only the accused student, the complainant, the Dean of Students, and the Honor Court Chair may take part in an administrative hearing. The complainant may suggest a sanction. After the hearing, the Dean of Students and the Honor Court chair will determine a sanction and the Dean will inform the student in writing of the decision. The possible sanctions are the same as those outlined in section III.4, except separation from the College. Any case that may result in separation from the College will be referred to the Honor Court. the accused may appeal the decision of the Dean of Students and the Honor Court Chair to the Appeals Board within one week of receiving written notification of the decision.
All hearings of the Honor Court shall be de novo, without regard to any matter previously developed in informal proceedings, and no decision about responsibility in a case shall be made on evidence other than that presented at the hearing.
The Chair shall convene the Court for a hearing to be held as soon as possible, but no sooner than three workdays following the delivery of the written charge to the accused. The accused shall present to the Dean of Students a written, point-by-point response to the charges at least 24 hours before the hearing. Any witness to be brought to testify should be identified in this statement. All points of the charges that are not specifically denied shall be deemed admitted, and evidence, testimony, and witnesses regarding these points shall be deemed unnecessary in the hearing. If the accused chooses not to attend the hearing, the Court has the authority to hear the case without the testimony of the accused.
Normally, the Dean of Students will act as co-complainant with the faculty member of student who initially brought the complaint forward, and bear primary responsibility for presenting the case against the accused. If the faculty member or student who initiated the complaint then gives testimony in the hearing, he or she may be asked questions by members of the Court or the accused about that testimony. The faculty member or student lodging the complaint, however, may exercise the right to act as sole complainant for the hearing and present the case against the accused without appearing as a witness.
Hearings are closed to observers. Neither party may have an attorney present at the hearing.
The hearing shall proceed as described below.
The written record of the case shall consist of the written statement of the charges, the written response to the charges by the accused, any documentary evidence, the summary by the Chair of the Court's actions, and the letter from the Dean of Students informing the accused of the Court's findings. This record will be filed in the Dean of Students' Office and will be open to the student's inspection. The taped record is not part of the student's file and shall be kept in the office of the Dean of Students, to be destroyed after adjudication or decision in any appeal.
After the week has elapsed during which an appeal could be made, a brief account of the case shall be made public by the Chair. The name of the student or students shall not appear. If an appeal is made, publication shall be postponed to await the outcome of the appeal.
The Honor Court shall make provisions for interpreting this system to new students upon their entrance into the College. This shall be organized by the Chair and will include one session during new-student orientation and class discussions.
This constitution may be amended by the procedures set forth in Article 13 of the Constitution of the Student Body of Hamilton College. The adopted amendments are contingent upon ratification by the Faculty.
The function of the Appeals Board is to ascertain that hearings conducted by the Honor Court and the Judicial Board have been conducted fairly, in accordance with the procedures outlined above, and without undue bias. Thus, the grounds for an appeal are limited to substantial, prejudicial, or procedural irregularities in the conduct of the original hearing. The Board will not substitute its own judgment for that of the original hearing body, nor will it concern itself with the possibility that others might have arrived at a different judgment. Its terms of reference extend only to investigation of the procedures by which the original judgment was reached. Decisions of the Appeals Board are final.
The Appeals Board shall be composed of five members: three faculty members and two students. Faculty members shall be elected by the Faculty at large for a three-year term, one vacancy arising per year. Student members shall be elected by the student body the previous spring, according to the Student Assembly election procedures. It is strongly preferred that students with prior Honor Court or Judicial Board experience be elected to this Board.
A quorum shall consist of three members: two faculty members and one student. The Chair shall be one of the faculty members, designated by the Dean of the Faculty.
A student subject to disciplinary action may appeal a disciplinary decision within one week of being informed in writing of that decision. The appeal must be made in writing to the Chair of the Appeals Board, with a copy to the Dean of Students, and must state in detail the reasons for the appeal. The Chair shall inform the respondent (the Chair of the Honor Court or Judicial Board) that an appeal has been made and shall invite the Dean of Students and the respondent to make written statements to the Appeals Board.
Within one week of receipt of the appeal, the Chair shall convene the Board to determine whether the appeal shall be considered. In making that decision, the Board shall have access to the written records of the case. Acceptable grounds for an appeal are limited to:
The appellant, respondent, and Dean of Students shall be informed in writing of the decision.
If the Board decides to consider the appeal, the Chair shall schedule another meeting for consideration and disposition of the appeal. The Board shall have access to the records of the hearing. Normally, the appellant, respondent, and Dean of Students shall not appear before the Board, though they may be summoned at the discretion of the Chair.
The appellant, respondent, and the Dean of Students shall be informed in writing of the decision and of the grounds for the decision.
The record of the appeal shall consist of the letter of appeal, the written statements from the respondent and the Dean of Students, the written decision whether to hear the appeal, and the outcome of the appeal. This record shall be appended to the written record of the original disciplinary action and shall be kept with it.
The Appeals Board shall make a brief account of its decision public. Names shall not appear.
All members of the Hamilton community are expected to be truthful in presenting testimony during any disciplinary inquiry and to cooperate fully in the investigation of infractions. Participants in disciplinary hearings shall be reminded of this expectation by the Chair, but failure to admonish does not remove the requirement. Perjury or obstruction of any inquiry shall itself be grounds for disciplinary action.
In serious disciplinary cases where the penalty may be separation from the College, the Dean of Students may, at his or her discretion and after informing the student of his or her intention to do so, notify the student's parents or guardian in advance of the hearing. In all cases where the penalty assigned is removal from a course, probation, or expulsion, the Dean of Students shall notify the parents or guardian within one week of the decision and shall send a copy of the notification to the student.
These provisions do not apply if the student is financially independent of his or her parents and has a separate domicile.