Honor Code

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To promote academic integrity as a core value for our learning community, we, the members of the Corcoran College of Art + Design, have set forth the following code of honor. The Honor Code addresses cheating and attempted cheating, plagiarism, lying, and stealing.



  • The use of unauthorized materials, information, study aids, or unauthorized collaboration on in-class examinations, take-home examinations, or other academic exercises. It is the responsibility of the student to consult with the instructor concerning what constitutes permissible collaboration. Cheating or assisting another student to cheat in connection with an examination or assignment is academic fraud.
  • The above may be accomplished by any means whatsoever, including but not limited to the following: fraud, duress, deception, theft, trick, talking, signs, gestures, and copying from another student.
  • Attempted cheating.


  • False citation is academic fraud. False citation is the attribution of intellectual property to an incorrect or fabricated source with the intention to deceive. False attribution seriously undermines the integrity of the academic enterprise by severing a chain of ideas which should be traceable link by link.
  • Students are not permitted to submit their own work, either academic or studio, in identical or similar form, for multiple purposes without the prior and explicit approval of all faculty members to whom the work will be submitted. This includes work first produced in connection with classes at the Corcoran or at other institutions attended by the student.
  • Plagiarism, in any of its forms, and whether intentional or unintentional, violates standards of academic integrity. Plagiarism is the act of passing off another’s ideas or writing as one’s own. Students are responsible for educating themselves as to the proper mode of attributing credit in any course. Faculty may use various methods to assess the originality of students’ work.

Note: Plagiarism can be said to have occurred without any affirmative showing that a student’s use of another’s work was intentional.


Lying encompasses the willful and knowledgeable telling of an untruth, as well as any form of deceit, attempted deceit, or fraud in oral or written statements relating to academic work. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Lying to College staff and faculty members.
  • Falsifying any College document by mutilation, addition, or deletion. Any attempt to forge or alter academic documentation (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, certificates of enrollment or good standing, and registration forms) concerning oneself or others is academic fraud.
  • Lying to Honor Committee members during investigation and hearing. This may constitute a second charge, with the committee members who acted as judges during that specific hearing acting as accusers.


Stealing encompasses the following: taking or appropriating without the permission to do so, and with the intent to keep or to make use of wrongfully, property belonging to any member of the Corcoran community or any property located on the College campuses or Student Housing. This includes misuse of College computer resources. This section is relevant only to academic work and related materials.

Responsibility of the Faculty

Faculty members are responsible, to the best of their ability, for maintaining the integrity of the learning and testing process, both in the classroom and outside of it, and for fostering conditions of academic integrity. To alleviate misunderstandings, all instructors are required to delineate at the beginning of each semester what constitutes a violation of the Honor Code in their classes. This should include an explanation of:

  • The extent to which collaboration or group participation is permissible in preparing term papers, studio work, reports of any kind, tests, quizzes, examinations, homework, or any other work.
  • The extent to which the use of study aids, memorandum, books, data, or other information is permissible to fulfill course requirements.

Guidelines on what constitutes plagiarism, including requirements for citing sources

All instructors are encouraged to send the Honor Committee a written copy of their Honor Code policies, which are kept on file. These requirements should also be stated before each test, examination, or other graded work to clarify what is permissible. Faculty members who witness an Honor Code violation should proceed as outlined under Procedure for Reporting a Violation.

Responsibility of the Students

Students should request a delineation of policy from each instructor if none is given at the beginning of each semester. Students should also request an explanation of any part of the policy they do not understand. Students are responsible for understanding their instructors’ policies with regard to the Honor Code. Students are also responsible for understanding the provisions of the Honor Code.

As participating members of this community, all students have the duty to report any violations of the honor code to a member of the Honor Committee, within the prescribed time outlined under Procedure for Reporting a Violation. This duty is important not only because it enforces the Honor Code, but also because it gives all students the opportunity to express their respect for personal integrity and an honest learning environment.

Procedure for Reporting a Violation

All students, faculty, and staff members witnessing or discovering a violation of the Honor Code should enlist, wherever and whenever possible, one or more corroborating witnesses to the overt act. The accuser(s) (student, faculty, or staff) must notify the Honor Committee within five working days from date of realization. The Honor Committee will, within five working days, mail a letter of accusation to the suspected party. This letter is addressed to the accused student’s current mailing address listed with the Office of the Registrar.

A copy of this letter will be sent to the student’s Corcoran e-mail account. The letter informs the suspected parties that they have five working days from the date of the letter to contact the Honor Committee and make an appointment to see the chair of the Honor Committee (or his or her designee) who advises them of their rights and options. The Honor Committee then begins an investigation, which does not involve a presumption of guilt on the part of the accused.

Any member of the Corcoran academic community who knows of but does not report an Honor Code violation may be accused of lying under the Honor Code.

Appearance of Witnesses

The Honor Committee may require any member of the College community to appear as a witness before the committee at the time of the hearing. All requests for such appearances are issued by the chair of the Honor Committee. The appearance of the accuser is usually required.


To be found guilty of an honor violation, there must be a majority vote for a verdict of guilty. Clear and convincing evidence must be presented to find the student guilty. A student may not be tried more than once for the same offense, except when an appeal is granted.


If the accused is found guilty of an honor violation, the Honor Committee determines the nature of the penalty by a majority vote. The Honor Committee is not restricted to one kind of penalty but determines one commensurate with the seriousness of the offense. Typical penalty ranges include:

  • Non-academic warning: The student is given written warning that future misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action. A written statement is placed in the confidential files of the Honor Committee but is not documented in the student’s academic transcript.
  • Non-academic probation: Ineligibility to participate in any activity representing the college and ineligibility to serve as a member of the Honor Committee and the Student Conduct Committee. A written statement is placed in the Honor Committee’s confidential files but not made part of the student’s academic transcript.
  • Service hours: Library or other supervised college service hours to be completed by a specific time. Upon completion, the hold on the student’s records is removed.
  • Failing grade: Recommendation in writing to the instructor for a grade of F for the work involved, or for the entire course. The student’s permanent record reflects the academic evaluation made by the instructor.
  • Recommendation of suspension from the College for one or more semesters: A student’s academic record would read “non-academic suspension from (date) to (date).” The recommendation is made to the dean of students. Non-academic suspension requires the review and approval of the dean of students who may alter, defer, or suspend the recommendation. During the period of suspension, the student shall not participate in College-sponsored activities including mobility/study away/ study abroad, orientation leadership positions, resident assistants, and college activities and events.
  • Recommendation of dismissal from the College: A student’s academic record would read “non-academic dismissal as of (date).” This penalty is recommended to the dean of students only in extraordinary circumstances, such as for repeated offenses. Non-academic dismissal requires the review and approval of the dean of students who may alter, defer, or suspend the recommendation.
  • Other penalties: The Honor Committee retains the right to impose additional penalties, according to the specific needs of a situation.

Appeal Process

A written request for an appeal, detailing new evidence, procedural irregularities, or other grounds that may have sufficient bearing on the outcome of the hearing must be presented to the chair of the Honor Committee within seven working days after the date on which the verdict was rendered. The written request is reviewed by the dean of students. If a new hearing is granted, no voting member from the original hearing may vote in a second or subsequent hearing of the same case.

Composition of the Honor Committee

The Honor Committee’s primary and indispensable duty is to instill the concept and spirit of the Honor Code within the student body. The secondary function of this group is to sit as a hearing committee on all alleged violations of the code.

The Honor Committee is independent of the Academic Review Committee and the Student Conduct Committee. Members are appointed by the dean of students and will consist of a minimum of three staff members and a minimum of three students. One of the three staff members is also appointed chair of the Honor Committee and serves as a nonvoting member. In addition, the dean of students and/or the dean of enrollment, acting as nonvoting advisors of the committee, will sit with and advise the committee at all hearings.

The term of office for Honor Committee members shall be a minimum of one year, as determined by the dean of students. Members may be re-appointed for additional terms. Previous Honor Committee members may serve during the Summer term.

Student members of the Honor Committee who are found guilty of violating the Honor Code, the Student Conduct Code, or of a criminal offense may be disqualified from participating in the Honor Committee. Student members of the Honor Committee must also maintain good academic standing (i.e., not on probation, second probation, or suspension). In the event of a vacancy or disqualification of an Honor Committee member, the dean of students will fill the vacancy.

Challenging the Withdrawal of Committee Member(s)

An accused person who challenges the right of any member of the Honor Committee to judge the accused must present cause to the chair of the Honor Committee. The Honor Committee then decides the validity of the challenge with the challenged member abstaining from voting. A simple majority decides the validity of any challenge. A successfully challenged committee member must not be present during the hearing.

A member of the Honor Committee who feels prejudiced as to the facts of the case, is a close friend or relative of the accused, or would not be able to render an impartial judgment must withdraw from a specific hearing.

Honor Code Committee Records

The records of the hearing are kept in the Honor Committee files for a minimum of one year after the student’s graduation or date of last attendance. If the evidence belongs to any person other than the accused, the original is returned to the owner and a copy is kept with the records of the Honor Committee. Records resulting in non-academic dismissal are kept in the student’s permanent academic record.