11.12. The Outset of Investigations; Class I and Class II Charges

When the secretary receives a report of suspected honor code violation, he/she will automatically have up to ten academic business days to interview potential witnesses, ensure that relevant evidence has been collected and submitted, and take care of other pertinent matters. In unusual circumstances, the secretary can have more time than ten academic business days to accomplish the specified tasks, but only with the approval of the provost and only for a compelling reason.

Once the secretary has concluded his/her preliminary work, he/she may move to unilaterally dismiss the case for lack of sufficiently compelling evidence or for egregious and substantive deviations from the procedures demanded by the honor code; such actions must be of sufficient magnitude to make it extremely unlikely that the case could ever be fully and properly adjudicated. The secretary will announce any such decision to the party who filed the report. That person has three academic business days to insist to the secretary that the case go to an investigation. If the reporting party does not file such an appeal within the requisite timeframe, the case is dismissed.

If the secretary does not dismiss the case, or if the reporting party insists that a case move forward even though the secretary was inclined to dismiss it, then the secretary notifies the accused person of the charge(s) against him/her, and also announces the date, time and place of an investigation, at which the accused is summoned to appear. This notice, or another sent soon thereafter, will also provide for the requirements established in Sec. 11.10. Also, this notice, or another sent soon thereafter, will provide contact information for one or more PIOs (see Sec. 11.8.7.3.). If the complainant is a faculty or staff member, the accused will be apprised of the name of his/her accuser at this time. If the complainant is a student, the anonymity of the complainant is guaranteed up until the onset of any eventual hearing before a judicial panel. If the case never leads to a hearing before a judicial panel, then the name of a student complainant will never be divulged to the accused person.

A student who has been notified that a report of suspected honor code violation has been filed against him/her due to alleged actions related to a particular course is not permitted to drop or withdraw from that course until the honor code charge is fully resolved. If a student either drops or withdraws from a course, and is subsequently notified that a report of suspected honor code violation has been filed against him/her due to alleged actions related to that particular course, then the drop or withdrawal is automatically put on hold until the case is fully adjudicated. If the student is later found not liable for the charge, the withdrawal or drop is reinstated. If the student either pleads liable or is found liable, but the sanction does not (in the opinion of the professor) change the student’s grade in the course in any substantive way, then the withdrawal or drop is reinstated. If the student either pleads liable or is found liable and the honor council assigns the student a final grade in the course, then the withdrawal or drop is terminated and that final grade is assigned to the student. In any other situation, the professor is given the opportunity to re-evaluate the withdrawal or drop, cancelling it or reinstating at as he/she wishes.

Investigations are carried out by investigatory panels. The meeting is non-confrontational in the sense that there are no accusers or witnesses; the meeting is only between the investigatory panel and the accused person. All rights accorded, obligations delineated and procedures established in Sec. 11.11. will be in force unless otherwise noted. If the complainant is a fellow student, the complainant’s name and other identifying information will have been redacted from the report shown to the accused at this time.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the accused is asked to enter a written plea to the charges; that plea will either be “liable” or “not liable.” At this stage, the investigation possibilities bifurcate:

11.12.1. The investigatory panel may, at its discretion and subject to further restrictions described both here and later in this code, tentatively classify the charge against the accused as being of the Class II variety if and only if the following are all true:

11.12.1.1. The accused person has never before been found liable of an honor code charge.

11.12.1.2. The accused person enters a plea of “liable” to the current charge.

A Class II charge carries with it less serious consequences than its Class I counterpart. Even if the accused has no previous honor code liable verdicts, the investigatory panel may opt to bypass the Class II option and classify the charge as being of the Class I variety. This happens whenever the alleged offense is particularly egregious and/or the accused’s engagement with the honor code process has been unacceptable.

11.12.2. All charges not falling into the Class II category become Class I charges. The possible sanctions are more serious in this case.

Accused persons who fail to present themselves and are therefore being investigated In Absentia (see Sec. 11.11.2.3.) will automatically have the charge against them classified as being of the Class I type; the Class II option will not be available to those who fail to appear after having duly been summoned and after having failed to successfully request a rescheduled investigation.