Honor and Integrity System Professional Development
Case Procedure and Investigation-Module 2
Follow the text and click on the blue links provided. After reading information in the blue links, simply use your BACK button to come back to this page. If you lose your way in navigating, simply return to the Honor Council Information page and click on Professional Development Modules. The links give more in-depth information about each subject. Please answer the questions following the reading material in each module.
WHAT IS AN HONOR & INTEGRITY SYSTEM CASE?
Usually, an Honor & Integrity System Case begins with a phone call to the Honor & Integrity System office or directly to the Director of the Honor & Integrity System. It may be from an instructor who has questions about student behavior in completing an assignment or project. On some occasions, the call may be regarding the witnessing of a student(s) receiving unauthorized aid on a quiz or exam and questions about how to handle the situation. In all instances, Honor & Integrity System staff and the Director refer the person to the Honor & Integrity System web site to fill out an Honor Pledge Violation Report.
The report gives vital information about the following:
1) the Reporter (the person reporting the alleged violation),
2) the Alleged Violator (the person or persons alleged to have violated the Honor Pledge),
3) the class in which the violation occurred,
4) the type of violation (plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, falsification, etc.),
5) a brief description on what occurred as perceived by the Reporter, and
6) a sanction (if using Option 1--see below)
When the Director receives a physical (or electronic) version of the report, he or she assigns an identifying Case number to the Report. The Case Report and all documentation and supporting information is then included in a file kept in the Honor & Integrity System office. The information on the Report is also entered into the Honor & Integrity System Database, a collection of information in which data about cases may be quickly retrieved.
If the Reporter is a faculty member, he or she has two options in handling an alleged violation.
If the Reporter/Instructor wishes to investigate and adjudicate the Case autonomously, he or she may do so as long as a Case Report is filed with the Honor & Integrity System. (Note: Faculty who witness acts of academic dishonesty and decide to sanction the student(s) independent of filing the Case Report are not following the spirit of the written policy of the University. The faculty member should also notify the student of the following: 1)the student's alleged violation, 2) the sanction given for the violation, and 3) the right to contest the allegation within 5 class days (10 calendar days) with the Honor & Integrity System Director.)
Once the Director receives the Case Report, he or she sends a similar written letter (and email) to the student stating that an instructor is reporting a violation of the Honor Pledge. The student has 5 class days (10 calendar days) to contest the allegation. If the student does not contest, the Reporter's sanction remains and the Honor Pledge violator's information remains as a file in Honor & Integrity System office.
If the student CONTESTS the allegations in Option 1 OR if the Reporter uses Option 2 on the Report Form, a full investigation is initiated and the Director notifies the Reporter to save all information concerning the Case.
The CI team serves only to interview Case participants and collect relevant facts. A case investigation interview usually takes place in the Honor & Integrity System office in 215 Fairchild. It is crucial that a Case Investigation be objective as well as thorough to ensure that there are no preconceived ideas about the student's responsibility in violating the Honor Pledge. The principle question at this point is "What happened?" To make certain that all Case Investigations are of the same quality, it is mandatory that all Honor Council members understand and adhere to Honor & Integrity System investigative procedures.
Prior to any meetings, CIs are given the names of all parties involved in the Case. Upon becoming aware of participants, CIs must gage whether there is a conflict of interest in working with any Case participants and so inform the Director . The Director sets up an initial meeting between the CIs and the reporter of the Case and provides the CIs with the initial report and documentation alleging the Honor Pledge violation. The Director then sets up a similar meeting between the CIs and the Alleged Violator (AV) and any witnesses in the Case (GTA, another student, another faculty member, etc.).
It is important that both CIs be present at all meetings with the involved parties. Promptness is indicative of respect for the task at hand. Therefore, CIs should arrive 5 to 10 minutes prior to all meetings in order to familiarize themselves with Case documentation. Each CI is given a Case packet with the initial report and supporting documentation via K-State Online. Arriving early to meetings also gives CIs time to organize their thoughts about the Case.
All members of the Honor Council have the chance and the duty to serve as a Case Investigator at least once to understand the process.
TALKING WITH THE REPORTER
The Director establishes contact with the Reporter(s) of the alleged Honor Pledge violation and the CIs will coordinate a time for the CIs and the Reporter to meet. The meeting can occur in Fairchild Hall 215. CIs should be enough familiar with the initial report to discuss together what questions might be asked during interviews.
•Begin the interview by asking the Reporter to relate the events which led him or her to believe that there may have been an Honor Pledge violation.
•Explain to the Reporter that this meeting is primarily to gather information about the Case.
•Taking good notes provides the backbone of a good report.
•Ask to clarify any specific information revealed by the Reporter.
•Information collectors should be as unbiased as possible. If asked for your opinion on the Case, simply respond that you must remain neutral and that you cannot predict an outcome.
At this time, both CIs should review notes made during an interview. It is a good idea to write/type this pertinent segment of the report ASAP after each meeting.
TALKING WITH THE ALLEGED VIOLATOR(S) (AV)
Always strive to protect the anonymity of the AV.
At the initial meeting, introduce yourself and state that your purpose as a Case Investigator is to gather information related to the Case. Be firm and competent, but not cold or aloof. Maintain appropriate eye contact and remember that non-verbal communication (posture, tone of voice, open-mindedness) speaks as loudly as words.
- Assume the AV has been informed by Honor & Integrity System staff of Case procedures. He or she should also have read the report alleging the violation at an appointment with the Associate Director of the Honor & Integrity System. The AV will also have an advisor. The advisor may or may not be present with the AV in Case Investigations. The advisor should be informed not to speak to the CIs unless asked questions by the investigators.
- Stress to the AV the three criteria on which a sanction COULD BE based should the student be found responsible: truthfulness (from the discovery of allegation), flagrancy, and premeditation.
- Some topics which might be pertinent:
- Student's major, class, and projected graduation date.
- How the student completed the assignment/exam/project.
- Whom the student studied with, what notes or books were used, where the AV was seated (during exams) etc.
- The importance (%) and difficulty of the assignment or exam.
- Progress in the class at the time.
- Names of other students who may verify or confirm information.
- Relationship with other suspected students when they have been identified. Use discretion when bringing up other suspected students.
- Student's knowledge of the Honor & Integrity System.
- Written and verbal information presented by the instructor on the assignment/exam/project.
- Circumstance surrounding the possible violation (stress, competence in class, preparedness).
- Greek affiliation (to prevent conflicts of interest should the Case go to a panel hearing).
If any questions or complications arise, contact either the Director or Associate Director who will most likely be in the Honor & Integrity System office during meetings with all participants.
WRITING CI REPORTS
The CIs are responsible for writing the CI report. An example of a CI report is offered at this link: CI Report CIs are welcomed to use the HS office computer for writing the CI report. Either the faculty CI or the student CI may write up the report to the Director, however, each must sign the original. If the office computer is not used, the final report should be sent as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. CIs usually sign the original report at the hearing, if the Case proceeds to one. Note:CIs make a determination on whether there is sufficient information (or lack of sufficient information) for the Case to move to a hearing. The CI report is made available in advance of the Case hearing to the reporter, the AV(s), and the hearing panel members.
CIs are both present at the Case hearing. According to the hearing panel script and HC procedure, CIs briefly explain the Case to the hearing panel members. In the hearing, CIs may be asked questions by the reporter, the AV, and/or the hearing panel members. Bring CI packets to the hearing with all notes taken during meetings.
TERMS COMMONLY USED
Investigation-The investigation itself is the process by which objective data and pertinent information are gathered and presented for evaluation by Case Investigators and the Honor & Integrity System Director. If the conclusion is that there is enough information to warrant a hearing, the Director then proceeds with the Case.
Case Investigators-Two members of the Honor Council (one student and one faculty member) who interview all parties involved in the Case--Reporter, Alleged Violator(s),also known as AV, witnesses, etc.
Reporter-The individual (faculty or student) who reports a Case to the Honor & Integrity System.
Alleged Violator-The student who is alleged to have violated some aspect of the Honor & Integrity System.
Case Report-The standard document used by the Reporter (found on the Honor & Integrity System web site) in reporting an alleged violation of the Honor Pledge.
CI Report-The document written by the Case Investigators after all interviews have been conducted. An example of this form is also available on the Honor & Integrity System web site.
This completes Module 2 of the Honor Council Professional Development session.
Please answer the questions below to see if you have a good idea of what case procedure and case investigations entail.
Module 2 Questions-Case Procedure and Investigations. Write the answers to these questions on a piece of paper, then check this LINK to see how close you come to the answer.
- Why should episodes of academic dishonesty be reported to the Honor & Integrity System?
- What type of information is found in the Honor Pledge Violation Report?
- Who assigns a Case number to the Honor Pledge Violation Report?
- What two places in the Honor & Integrity System office hold information found on the Honor Pledge Report?
- What two options are available to faculty who report an Honor Pledge violation?
- Who are the two main participants involved in an Honor & Integrity System case?
- What are the primary duties of Case Investigators?
- What must a Case Investigator do if he or she knows an Alleged Violator?
- What types of information might Case Investigators need from Reporters?
- What types of information might Case Investigators need from AVs?
- If an AV asks you for your opinion of what a hearing panel will determine in this Case, what might be your response?
- What types of information are needed in a CI report to the Director?
- How soon should a report (including all meetings between Reporter and Alleged Violator) be given to the Director?
- How are the Case Investigators involved in a hearing if the Case proceeds to one?