Academic Honesty / Honor Code / Disciplinary Policies

Last updated August 25, 2016

A. Introduction

As an academic community devoted to the life of the mind, Middlebury requires of every student complete intellectual honesty in the preparation of all assigned academic work.

B. Academic Honesty

1. Definitions

a. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a violation of intellectual honesty. Plagiarism is passing off another person's work as one's own. It is taking and presenting as one's own the ideas, research, writings, creations, or inventions of another. It makes no difference whether the source is a student or a professional in some field. For example, in written work, whenever as much as a sentence or key phrase is taken from the work of another without specific citation of the source, the issue of plagiarism arises.

Paraphrasing is the close restatement of another's idea using approximately the language of the original. Paraphrasing without acknowledgment of authorship is also plagiarism and is as serious a violation as an unacknowledged quotation.

b. Cheating

Cheating is defined as giving or attempting to give or receive during an examination any aid unauthorized by the instructor.

An examination is any quiz, pre-announced test, hourly examination, or final examination. Take-home(s) examinations will ordinarily be considered as examinations.

c. Duplicate Use of Written Work

A paper submitted to meet the requirements of a particular course is assumed to be work completed for that course; the same paper, or substantially similar papers, may not be used to meet the requirements of two different courses, in the same or different terms, without the prior consent of each faculty member involved. Students incorporating similar material in more than one paper are required to confirm each professor's expectations in advance.

2. Student Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the student to sign the Honor Code pledge on all examinations, research papers, and laboratory reports. Faculty members reserve the right to require the signed Honor Code pledge on other kinds of assigned academic work. The student must write in full and sign the statement, "I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this assignment."

Graded assignments should be the work of the individual student, unless otherwise directed by the instructor.

The individual student is responsible for ensuring that his or her work does not involve plagiarism. Ignorance of the nature of plagiarism or of Middlebury's policies may not be offered as a mitigating circumstance.

Students with uncertainties and questions on matters relating to footnoting, citation of sources, paraphrasing lecture notes, and proper recognition of collaborative work on homework assignments and laboratory reports should consult with the course instructor for whom they are preparing work.

3. Role of the Faculty

At the beginning of each term, instructors are strongly encouraged to discuss or include on their syllabus Middlebury's policies governing academic honesty as they relate to a particular course.

Faculty reserve the right to require the signed Honor Code pledge before grading any assigned academic work.

Questions or concerns regarding the faculty's role under the Honor Code may be directed to the judicial affairs officer.

C. Undergraduate Honor System

Constitution of the Undergraduate Honor System

All assigned academic work is conducted under the terms of the Undergraduate Honor System, which follows in full:


The students of Middlebury College believe that individual undergraduates must assume responsibility for their own integrity on all assigned academic work. This constitution has been written and implemented by students in a community of individuals that values academic integrity as a way of life. The Middlebury student body, then, declares its commitment to an honor system that fosters moral growth and to a code that will not tolerate academic dishonesty in the College community.

Article I: Honor System

a. Before enrolling in Middlebury College each student must agree to abide by and uphold this honor system. Additional commitments to the honor system should be part of orientation week activities.

b. The judicial affairs officer shall prepare a statement for all incoming students describing the aims and operation of the academic honor system. The judicial affairs officer will be responsible for an orientation session during orientation week so that all new students fully understand the system.

c. The Academic Judicial Board will meet annually at the beginning of the fall term with deans from the Office of the Dean of the College, the Community Judicial Board, and the Judicial Appeals Board to review the honor system and to orient new members.

Article II: Examination Procedure

a. Only authorized materials may be used during an examination.

b. No proctors will be present during examinations, unless specific authorization has been given by the dean of the College.

c. The dean of the College may grant an instructor permission to proctor an examination in his or her course when the instructor has communicated to the dean of the College that she or he has a concern that students will cheat in examinations in the course. Authorization will apply to the remainder of the semester.

i) Communication of concern may take the form of an e-mail to the dean of the College.

ii) Instructors who have concerns about cheating and wish to proctor must make a formal announcement to the class both in class and in e-mail form at least 24 hours prior to the examination. The dean of the College must be copied on the announcement e-mail.

iii) Students may register complaints or concerns about the method of proctoring with the dean of the College.

d. When an instructor's presence in the exam is required because of the nature of the exam (e.g., slides), the instructor should receive permission from the dean of the College and notify the class in advance.

e. The instructor will remain in the examination room for no more than 15 minutes after the start of an examination. He or she may return during the examination to check on any further problems that students may have with examination questions or general procedure, only if he or she announces his or her intention to do so at the beginning of the examination. Instructors will remain in the general area for questions for the duration of the examination period.

f. During the examination each student will have complete freedom of action providing he or she does not interfere with the work of others. Except in the case of take-home examinations, no examination papers will be taken from the room except to consult with the instructor.

Article III: Violations of the Honor Code, Procedures, and Disciplinary Actions

a. Any member of the College community (student, faculty, or administrator) who is aware of a case of academic dishonesty is morally obligated to report it to the professor or the judicial affairs officer.

b. Those who cheat are morally obliged to report their own offense to the professor or the judicial affairs officer.

c. Alleged violations will be handled according to the academic disciplinary policies of the current Middlebury College Handbook.

d. For cases that are heard by the Academic Judicial Board, if seven members of the Board are present, six votes are needed for a decision of guilt. If six members are present, five votes are needed.

e. Any infraction of the honor system is normally punishable by suspension from the College. However, the penalty may be modified when, in the opinion of the Academic Judicial Board, conclusive reasons warrant such action.

f. Should the accused be found not guilty, all records of the proceeding will be destroyed.

g. Right of Appeal: A student found guilty of an offense will have the right of appeal to the Judicial Appeals Board in all cases.

h. All deliberations of the Academic Judicial Board concerning violations of the honor system will be conducted in confidence.

Article IV: Amendment Procedures and Review Committee

a. This constitution (Undergraduate Honor System: Preamble and Articles I-IV) may be amended by a referendum in which two-thirds of all students who are currently registered for classes vote, and in which two-thirds of those voting support the change, subject to ratification by the faculty. Community Council, the faculty, or the Honor Code Review Committee can suggest changes to other aspects of the judicial system by making recommendations. Those recommendations would eventually need to be ratified by the Community Council, which forwards them to Faculty Council for review, and then to the faculty for final approval.

b. At least every fourth year, a committee consisting of two faculty members, two students (one of whom will be the current co-chair of the Academic Judicial Board), and a dean from the Office of the Dean of the College shall examine the honor system and its operation and make any appropriate recommendations for revision to the faculty and the Community Council. Faculty members will be selected by the Faculty Council, the second student member by the Student Government Association, and the dean from the Office of the Dean of the College.