Student Honor and Conduct Code

The Rollins School of Public Health requires that all material submitted by a student in fulfilling his or her academic course of study must be the original work of the student and must uphold academic integrity. Students are expected to engage in ethical conduct consistent with the field of public health or Emory University.

Allegations of violations of the Honor and Conduct Code undergo a preliminary investigation by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The matter may be resolved at that point or referred to a formal Hearing Committee consisting of students and faculty members who make their recommendation to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Students may petition to appeal that decision, in which case a second Hearing Committee may be convened.

Policies and procedures governing honor and conduct code violations are contained in this document.

Introduction

In accordance with University by-laws, the president of the University has delegated to the dean and faculties of each school the responsibility of designing honor and conduct codes for its students. The Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) Honor and Conduct Code was established to ensure personal responsibility and professional standards consistent with the field of public health and the missions of both Emory University and RSPH. In cases where the Code has been alleged to be compromised, it sets forth a set of procedures to deal with the allegations. This Code applies to any student registered in a RSPH course. Registered students are responsible for upholding all aspects of the Code.

The RSPH requires that all material submitted by a student in fulfilling his or her academic course of study must be the original work of the student and must uphold academic integrity at the graduate level.

It is the obligation of every student to know the regulations regarding academic misconduct. Ignorance of these regulations will not be considered a defense. If a student is unclear about whether or not something violates the academic integrity of a course assignment and/or degree requirement, it is his/her responsibility to seek clarity with the instructor and/or academic advisor. In situations outside the classroom, the student should seek clarifications from an appropriate RSPH official.

Violations of Student Academic Honor

Violations of academic honor include any action by a student indicating dishonesty or a lack of academic integrity.

Violations of academic honor include but are not limited to cheating, plagiarism, falsifying research data, falsification and forgery of University academic documents, facilitating academic dishonesty, and providing false evidence.

Cheating includes, but is not limited to, seeking, acquiring, receiving, or passing information intended to facilitate performance on an examination prior to its authorized release or during its administration, or attempting to do so. Cheating also includes seeking, using, giving, or obtaining unauthorized assistance in any academic assignment or examination, or attempting to do so.

Plagiarism is the act of presenting as one's own work the expression, words, or ideas of another person, whether published or unpublished (including the work of another student) without proper acknowledgment.

Falsifying data includes, but is not limited to, creating information not actually collected, altering, or misrepresentation of information and/or data.

Falsification and forgery of University documents includes knowingly making a false statement, concealing material information, or forging a University official's signature on any University academic document or record. Such academic documents or records may include transcripts, add or drop forms, requests for advanced standing, requests to register for courses, etc. The falsification or forgery of non-academic University documents such as financial aid forms, academic standing verification letters, student recommendation letters, or other documents related to the academic record will also be regarded as a violation of the honor code.

Facilitating academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.

Providing false evidence in any Honor Council hearing or refusing to give evidence when requested by the Honor Council are considered to be honor code violations.

The practice of public health requires an active commitment to ethical conduct consistent with the field of public health throughout all program requirements including, but not limited to, internships, research, field work and practicum experiences. While this expectation is set, it is also important to outline behavior that is clearly the exception, or in violation of the code. RSPH respects the rights of organized and intentional student dissent and protests. In situations of student dissent and protest, the statements below should be interpreted in accord with Emory policies on student dissent and protest. The following conduct violations will be explored below.

Violations of Student Conduct

Violations of student conduct include any action by a student which violates ethical conduct consistent with the field of public health or Emory University. These actions may include, but are not limited to, dishonesty through misrepresentation or withholding of pertinent factual information; forging, falsifying, or misusing University documents or records; infraction of University rules and regulations which protect the University community; conduct in violation of University policies prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct; theft; personal abuse; malicious damage/breaking and entering; disorderly conduct and disruption of class; misuse of electronic equipment and Information Technology; substance use; infractions of public law that involve and/or are linked to Emory University; and actions that deliberately demean or violate the integrity of other University members.

Dishonesty through misrepresentation or withholding of pertinent factual information in a student's personal dealings with other students, faculty, or staff of the University, or organizations or agencies of the University. This also includes falsification of information for the purpose of admission to the RSPH or job application while enrolled as a student.

Forging, falsifying or misusing University documents, records, identification cards, or other documents so as to violate the requirement of academic honesty.

Infraction of rules and regulations established by University authority to protect the interests of the University community. These rules and regulations assure that all members of the University community will be able to attain their educational objectives without hindrance in a conducive intellectual and educational atmosphere throughout the University community. Further they protect the activity, health, safety, welfare, and property of all members of the University community and of the University itself. These policies also pertain to student conduct when representing the RSPH in academically-related and/or community activities. These policies may be found on the Emory University website at http://policies.emory.edu/8.1.

Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, stalking, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. The University's policy on sexual harassment may be found on the Emory University website at http://policies.emory.edu/1.3. Sexual misconduct includes any incident that involves sexual contact that is forced on somebody without consent.

Theft of any property of the University itself or of any property of any member of the University community, or its visitors or guests.

The intentional, wanton, or reckless physical abuse or verbal abuse of any person by a student on the campus or on property owned or controlled by the University, or at a function under the University's supervision or sponsorship or such abuse of a member of the Emory community at any location or on-line forum.

Malicious damage/breaking and entering by a student to the property of another member of the University community (student, faculty, or staff) or the property of the University itself, or to the property of any visitor or guest of the University or a member of the University community. Breaking into a locked room, office, or facility of the University, or entering a room, office, or facility that is clearly restricted is not permitted.

Disorderly conduct, disruption of class, and/or interference by a student by violence, force, disorder, obstruction, or vocal disruption of university activity, or activity authorized or sponsored by the University or by any school, program, division or authorized student body, including disciplinary proceedings. Interference by a student with the instructor's right to conduct class as the instructor sees fit within the bounds of academic freedom and responsibility.

Misuse of electronic equipment and Information Technology is not permitted at Emory University. Computers, networks, and software applications are powerful tools that can facilitate Emory's core missions in teaching, learning, research, and service. Access and utilization of these tools is a privilege. Users of Emory's IT resources may not share their passwords or other access credentials; attempt to hack, bypass, or violate security controls; access, modify, or share sensitive data or information without appropriate authorization; use access credentials issued to other individuals or attempt to impersonate another individual in order to access IT resources. Additionally users of Emory's IT resources may not use those resources for any unethical or illegal purpose, such as violating copyrights or license agreements for any type of intellectual property (e.g. software, music, audio/video recordings, photographs, illustrations, documents, media files, e-journals, e-books, databases); harassing other members of the Emory community; destroying or stealing equipment, software, or data belonging to others; intentionally damaging or destroying the confidentiality or integrity of IT resources or disrupting their availability; or monitoring or disrupting the communications of others.

Substance use that includes the use of illicit drugs or the non-medical use of prescription drugs is not permitted at Emory University. Users, possessors, and/or providers of such drugs violate federal laws and state laws. Students who possess or use such drugs or who furnish drugs to others while on property owned or controlled by the University are committing a conduct offense. Additionally, providing alcoholic beverages to underage persons (under the age of 21) or to noticeably intoxicated persons is a conduct code offense, as is consuming alcohol by underage individuals, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy, http://policies.emory.edu/8.8. Tobacco use while on the property owned or controlled by the University is a conduct code offense Tobacco- Free Environment, http://policies.emory.edu/4.113.

Infractions of public law that involve and/or are linked to Emory University that is the basis for an allegation or charge of violation of public law also may subject a student to an allegation of a student conduct violation. Acquittal or conviction in court does not necessarily exclude or dictate action by the RSPH. Further, the RSPH may proceed with a conduct matter without awaiting the start or conclusion of any legal proceeding.

Actions contrary to the standards of the RSPH and Emory University, including actions that are deliberately demeaning to other human beings or that violates the dignity and integrity of other members of the University and community.

Policies and Procedures

The Student Honor and Conduct Standing Council (subsequently referenced as the Council) will be formed at the beginning of each academic year. The Council shall consist of no fewer than twelve (12) faculty members representing each department and degree program and no more than twenty (20) student members reflecting the current RSPH student-body demographics. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, in collaboration with the Chair of the Education Committee, will nominate the faculty members who will be members of the Council for a two-year term. Six new faculty members will be named each year to provide a staggered membership. Student membership will be comprised of students who volunteer their service or are selected by RSPH leadership. These students will serve as Honor and Conduct Code liaisons to their departments and fellow students for a one-year term. Members will be selected to serve on individual Hearing Committees based on affiliation and availability.

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, or his/her designee, reviews the findings and recommendations for sanctions of the Hearing Committee and of the Appeal Committee.

The Associate Dean for Student Affairs, or his/her designee, serves as the Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor. The Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor conducts the preliminary investigation and writes up the initial findings and determination.

A Hearing and Appeal Committee Facilitator, appointed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, coordinates the hearing procedures and provides consistency in the processes and proceedings. The Facilitator identifies Council members to serve on a Hearing Committee and an Appeal Committee, prepares the agenda and the evidence, and presides over the actual proceedings to assure fair and systematic processes.

Student's faculty or staff advisor (non-legal). The student charged may ask a faculty or staff member to assist and counsel him/her in preparing for and participating in the hearing. The advisor will not have the right to examine witnesses.

A Hearing Committee will be comprised of a subset of the Student Honor and Conduct Code Standing Committee, and will include four members: two faculty members and two students. The Hearing Committee Facilitator will serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of each Hearing Committee. The Hearing Committee Facilitator will preside over the proceedings.

No person involved in advising the Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor or his/her designee during the preliminary investigation may serve as a voting member on the Hearing Committee for the specific proceeding. No individuals making the charge or directly involved with the case shall be members of the Hearing Committee.

In the case of an appeal, the Appeals Committee will be selected in the same method as the initial Hearing Committee and members are a subset of the Council; however, no individual who served on the initial hearing committee shall sit on the appeals committee. If needed, a selected faculty member from the initial Hearing Committee may attend the Appeal Committee Hearing as an ex officio, non-voting member to provide continuity with the original proceedings.

It is the responsibility of every member of the faculty, staff, and student body to cooperate in supporting the honor code. In pursuance of this duty, any individual, when he or she suspects that an offense of academic misconduct has occurred, shall report this suspected breach to either: (a) the faculty member in whose class the suspected breach occurred; (b) a departmental Assistant/Associate Director of Academic Programs (ADAP); (c) a faculty member of the Honor Standing Council; or (d) the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

Accusations must be made within 30 days of when the alleged activity was discovered.

Once an allegation has been made, the Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor will draft a written version of the complaint and the individual making that allegation must sign the complaint stating that he/she believes it to be accurate. An email of confirmation from the complainant will fulfill this requirement. The name of person making allegation will be shared with the student unless the person making the allegation submits a written request that he or she does not want his/her name shared during the preliminary investigation. If the preliminary investigation leads to a formal hearing, the name of the person making the allegation would be made known.

The accused student has the following rights:

  1. Be considered innocent until judged otherwise by the Hearing Committee appointed by the Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor for this purpose.
  2. The right to be notified in writing of the charges against him/her. Written documentation of the charges must include the charges against him/her with enough specificity to enable him/her to prepare for the hearing on these charges.
  3. The right to choose a faculty or staff advisor (non-legal) to counsel him/her.
  4. The right to a hearing before the Student Honor and Academic Code Hearing Committee facilitated by the Hearing Committee Facilitator and to know the date, time, and place of the hearing. The right to know the names of witnesses who may be present at the hearing. From the time he/she receives written notice of the allegation, the student charged has at least ten business days to prepare his/her case, unless he/she requests the hearing take place within a shorter period of time.
  5. The right to receive the roster of names of the faculty and student members of the Council with the notice of the formal hearing. The charged student may identify any individuals on the Council who he/she would not find acceptable to serve on the Hearing or Appeal Committees. The student must provide the list of unacceptable individuals and reasons for their exclusion to the Hearing and Appeal Committee Facilitator within 48 hours of receiving the roster. The Hearing and Appeal Committee Facilitator will consider the written request of the person charged when she/he nominates members of these committees.
  6. The right to be present during the hearing and/or appeal while all evidence is presented; the accused student does not have the right to be present during deliberations or voting of the committee. If the accused student is not present at the proceeding, it will be conducted with the accused student in absentia.
  7. The right to have access to all written statements presented to the Hearing Committee and be allowed to hear and question witnesses who appear at the hearing.
  8. The right to appeal the findings of the hearing. A student who wishes to appeal the decision of the Hearing Committee must make such a request in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The written appeal must be made within 10 business days of receiving written notice of the Hearing Committee's findings and sanctions. (See the Appeals Process Below).
  9. After the determination of guilt is established, the Honor Code Committee will be informed of prior honor and conduct code violations and the current status of the student, before sanctions are recommended to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

The Associate Dean for Student Affairs serves as the Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor, or can appoint another official of the RSPH to fill this role. The Pre-Hearing process consists of a Preliminary Investigation with the possibility of going into Arbitration. The Preliminary Investigation is designed to determine if there is sufficient evidence to substantiate a potential honor or conduct code violation. The Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor will have ten business days to review the complaint report and determine whether evidence supports future action. The Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor may decide that insufficient evidence exists to substantiate a potential violation. In this case, charges will be dropped. If the Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor decides that evidence warrants further action, the Advisor will notify the accused student in writing that he/she must make an appointment to meet with the Advisor within five business days to review the complaint report. If the accused student fails to schedule or attend the meeting within that timeframe, formal charges will be filed.

There are four possible outcomes of the Preliminary Investigation:

  1. Charges are Dropped: The Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor finds that there is not sufficient evidence to proceed. In this case, charges are dropped.
  2. Case is Referred to the Hearing Committee: The Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor finds that there is sufficient evidence to support a guilty disposition, but believes that the case, because of unusual circumstances or evidence, warrants the review by the Hearing Committee. These cases will go to a formal hearing.
  3. Arbitration: The Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor finds that there is sufficient evidence to support a guilty disposition and offers appropriate disciplinary action to the student and the other parties involved. Within five business days of the initial meeting with the accused, the Student Honor and Conduct Code Advisor will meet separately with all parties such as the accused, the witnesses, and the faculty member to acquire additional information regarding the alleged incident. Arbitration can have of two outcomes:
    • Arbitration A: If all parties are satisfied with the findings and the proposed disciplinary action, the case will be considered successfully resolved and no further action will be taken. The issue and the final decision will be appropriately documented and maintained in the official student file to inform on any future allegations that may be brought forward.
    • Arbitration B: If either the accused student or the other parties do not agree with the guilty determination or do not believe the recommended disciplinary action is appropriate, the case will go to a formal hearing.
  4. Formal Hearing: If it has been decided that the case will proceed to a formal hearing, the accused will have no less than ten (10) business days between the date that the student receives written notice of the charges to prepare his/her case, unless the accused student requests that the hearing take place within a shorter period of time.
    1. The Hearing Committee Facilitator is responsible for conducting the hearing in a fair and impartial manner.
    2. At the hearing, the alleged violation will be read. Evidence against the student will be presented by the Hearing Committee Facilitator, followed by questions from the Hearing Committee and the accused student. The Facilitator then presents the evidence provided by the accused student, and the Hearing Committee members again may ask questions.
      • Evidence shall be admitted without regard to the rules of evidence in courts of law.
      • Evidence may include, but is not limited to, witnesses, documents, tangible evidence, and written statements from witnesses not present.
    3. After thorough review of the case, the Hearing Committee will decide whether the person charged is guilty or not guilty of the charge(s). A majority vote of the committee will suffice for a finding of a violation. An abstention is not considered a vote.
      If the accused student is not present at the hearing, the hearing will be conducted with the accused student in absentia.
    4. If the person is found guilty of an academic violation, the Hearing Committee may recommend one or more of the following actions, or such other action as the Hearing Committee deems appropriate:
      • Issue the student a warning with no further disciplinary action.
      • Request that the faculty re-evaluate the assignment in question and re-calculate the grade.
      • Issue a failing grade on the assignment or for the course in question.
      • Place the student on academic probation for the remainder of the term or longer.
      • Suspend the student for the remainder of the semester or longer.
      • Dismiss the student from school.
    5. If the person is found guilty of a conduct code violation, the Hearing Committee may recommend one or more of the following actions, or such other action as the Hearing Committee deems appropriate,
      • Issue the student a warning with no further disciplinary action.
      • Issue the student a warning with a requirement to make amends (apology, service, etc.)
      • Place the student on probation for a specified period of time.
      • Suspend the student for the remainder of the semester or longer.
      • Dismiss the student from school.
    6. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will receive the Hearing Committee decision and recommendations for sanctions in writing within 3 business days of the Hearing's close. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may choose to accept the recommendations for sanctions or suggest modifications to the recommended sanctions. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will communicate his proposed modifications to the Hearing Committee within three business days of receiving the Hearing Committee's decision and recommendations. The Hearing Committee will collaborate with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to reach a consensus on the appropriate sanctions. The Associate Dean will send a letter to the charged student indicating the findings of the Hearing Committee, and the sanctions that will be taken. The finding will be made available to the accuser upon request. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will report any action taken to the appropriate University, RSPH, and/or other officials.
    7. A copy of the written notification will be included in the student's official school file. A copy will also be maintained in the Honor and Conduct Code database as part of a permanent record. If the student violates the honor or conduct standards again, the sanctions would be harsher with the possibility of suspension or even dismissal.

A student who wishes to appeal the Hearing Committee's decision must make such a request in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The written appeal must be made within 10 business days of receiving written notice of the Hearing Committee's findings and sanctions from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In the letter to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the student must indicate the reasons for the appeal.

After reviewing the request for appeal, an Appeal Committee will be appointed to review the charge(s), finding(s), and recommendation(s).

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will send his recommendations for revisions to the Appeal Committee within three business days of receiving the committee's decision and recommended sanctions. If revisions are recommended, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will communicate his proposed modifications to the Appeal Committee within three business days of receiving the Appeal Committee's decision and recommendations. The Appeal Committee will collaborate with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to reach a consensus on the appropriate sanctions. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will write a letter with the final determination. The student charged with a violation shall be notified in writing of the decision and recommended sanctions within five business days. A copy of the letter will be placed in the student's file. If the Appeal Committee overturns the original finding, previous letters of notification will be removed from the student's file as appropriate.

  1. The Appeal Committee:
    • Shall be composed of members of the Council. It will consist of one student, two faculty members, and the Hearing and Appeal Committee Facilitator. The Hearing and Appeal Committee Facilitator will be responsible for conducting the hearing in a fair and impartial manner, and will be a non-voting member of the Appeal Committee. No voting member of the Appeal Committee shall have participated in the previous Hearing Committee. No member of the Appeal Committee can be involved in the case. If needed, a selected faculty member from the initial Hearing Committee may attend the Appeal Committee Hearing as an ex officio, non-voting member to provide continuity with the original proceedings.
    • Shall be furnished with all written data concerning the formal hearing, including evidence presented, committee findings, and sanctions.
    • May request oral or written statements from the accused student and other witnesses, and may request that additional documentary evidence be presented.
    • Shall require a majority vote for a decision. An abstention is not considered a vote.
  2. The following actions may be recommended by the Appeal Committee:
    • Affirm the prior decision.
    • Modify the prior decision.
    • Decide that the case merits a new Formal Hearing. This Hearing will be conducted in accordance with the original hearing procedures. In this case, the Hearing Committee will be composed of faculty and students who did not take part in the original Hearing Committee.
  3. Within three business days of the Appeal Hearing's close, the Appeal Committee will inform the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in writing of its decision and recommended sanctions. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may:
    • Affirm the prior decision.
    • Recommend that the Appeals Committee revise the sanctions.

In the case of significant or extreme violations of the conduct code, the RSPH school administration may act outside the protocols listed herein in order to take necessary, protective action to insure that members of the RSPH committee are not subject to imminent harm. Significant or extreme violations include, but are not limited to, instances of physical assault, sexual assault, sexual harassment, breaking and entering, brandishing a weapon or other situation in which the administration perceives a likely imminent threat of physical harm to a member of the RSPH community. Such significant violations will be referred to the Emory University Threat Assessment Team and managed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Nothing in this document constitutes a contract or creates a contractual obligation on the part of the Rollins School of Public Health and/or Emory University. The Rollins School of Public Health reserves the right to interpret and apply its policies and procedures, and to deviate from these guidelines, as appropriate in the particular circumstances and in accordance with the mission and goals of the Rollins School of Public Health and/or Emory University. The Rollins School of Public Health further reserves the right to alter or modify any statement contained in this document without prior notice.