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Honor and Integrity System

K-State Honor & Integrity System

1800 Claflin, Suite 001
Manhattan, KS 66502

 

785-532-2595
honor@k-state.edu

 

Dr. Steve Starrett - Director
steveks@k-state.edu

 

Dr. Camilla Roberts - Associate Director
cjroberts@k-state.edu

Honor and Integrity System Professional Development

Hearing Panel Procedure-Module 3

[Click here to go to Module1 and 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.

HEARING PANEL PROTOCOL

To make certain that all Honor Council (HC) Honor Hearings are conducted with the same quality, it is mandatory that all HC members understand and adhere to HC Honor Hearing Panel procedures.

When the Case Investigators turn in their reports with the recommendation that the Case goes on to a hearing, the Honor & Integrity System Director proceeds in setting up a day and time for the hearing. The Honor & Integrity (H&I) System office sends an "All Call" email to request volunteers to serve on the Case hearing. From a volunteer list, the H&I office appoints six members, making certain not to choose members from the same college department as the AV's major. Other criteria might be considered a conflict of interest and should be reported to the H&I office (i.e. Greek affiliation, friendship, instructor/student status, etc.)

One member of the Hearing Panel is appointed as Chair. The HC Panel Chair position alternates between faculty/staff and student status. The remainder of the Hearing Panel is comprised of a total of three (3) student members and two (2) faculty members.

The Honor & Integrity System office prepares case packets with the Case Report, the CI report, and supporting information and documentation for Panel members. Beginning in the spring 2009, these case packets are available via a group on K-State Online. A group will be created in the on-line “Honor Council Class” to which all of you have been added.
When Case Investigators are assigned to a case they will be added to the group. Contained within the group are files related to the case (CIs will still receive hard copies from the office for notes etc. during the interview phase). These files will only be accessible by those members who are assigned to the case. As the Case Investigation is completed the CI report will be uploaded for review by the Hearing Panelists along with any other relevant documents. When panelists are assigned they will then have access to the case group and will be able to view the documents prior to the hearing. We will continue to provide copies of the scripts for each of the Hearing Panelists so you will not need to bring a copy to the hearing.During the hearing a computer and projector will be available for HC viewing. All information isusually available at least three (3) class days prior to a Panel Hearing. You may request a printed copy of the case packet from the office.

HC Hearing Panelists should arrive at the hearing room 5 to 10 minutes prior to the start of the hearing if all case materials have been evaluated. If a Panelist does not have time to read Case materials prior to a hearing, the Panelist should arrive at the hearing at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the hearing. Promptness and dress is indicative of respect for the task at hand. Student members of the panel should not wear Greek or organizational clothing.

Because being involved in an HC Hearing Panel is often quite unnerving for students (and sometimes for faculty members as well), the Honor & Integrity System staff attempts to provide an atmosphere of non-threatening dialogue, dignity of persons, and caring to educate. Throughout the Hearing, Panelists should be mindful of the following verbal and non-verbal behaviors:

  • tone of voice
  • eye contact with the person speaking
  • posture such as slouching
  • distracting whispers and asides
  • respectfulness and courteousness in choice of words
  • unbiased comments
  • cell phones turned off
  • frequent glances at watches or clocks

Use the golden rule when communicating with all parties. Consider how you would want to be treated through the process, regardless of your violation. Students in higher education are still learning what it means to be "in community." How you approach a hearing may mean the difference between a student being cooperative and remorseful (if a violation has occurred) or walking away from a hearing angry and resentful at the treatment he or she was afforded. Learning takes place when there is discipline AND caring. More information on panel ethics may be found at the following link: Panel Ethics

CONSIDERATION OF INFORMATION

In conducting the hearing, the Chair uses a Hearing Script provided by the Honor office. After the recorder has been turned on, all participants are introduced. The Hearing Panel then listens to:

  • the CIs as they briefly recount information gathered in the investigation,
  • the Reporter as he or she adds clarifying information,
  • the AV's perception of events
  • any witnesses involved

The Hearing Panel members and all participants in the Case have the opportunity to ask questions of each other, as well as offer more information that may clarify the case.

EFFECTIVE QUESTIONING

The ability to ask questions effectively is an important skill for Honor Council members to possess. During a hearing, you will have the opportunity to ask questions of all participants. The following points are important to remember when asking questions:

  • Carefully think about a question before asking it. Has it already been asked? Is it relevant to the case? Is the point of the question clear? Will it be helpful in adding information to the case?
  • Avoid asking leading questions. This type of questioning puts words into others' mouths and may obscure the facts of the case. Allow participants to explain what happened in their own words.
  • It is important that Panelists never imply guilt in a question. The Honor Council operates under the philosophy that the AV is innocent until information implies responsibility; therefore, responsibility should never be assumed or implied in a question.
  • There is a difference in assertively seeking the truth from participants and badgering participants. Avoid questions that sound accusatory or serve no purpose other than to belittle participants.
  • Ideally, panelists should ask questions whose purpose is to piece together the events of the case by linking fragmented or contradictory information from the various participants.
  • Avoid closed-ended questions such as "Were you there?" or "Did you read the syllabus?". These questions require only a yes or no answer. Use open-ended questions and statements such as "Can you tell me where you were during this time?" and "What was your perception of the assignment requirements?"

STANDARD OF PROOF

The HC uses a standard of proof called "clear and convincing information," defined as follows:
The truth of the facts asserted by the Reporter is highly probable. There is no serious doubt as to the correctness of the conclusion, but there is not a need to be conclusive. In other words, to find the AV(s) responsible for violating the Honor Pledge, you must be satisfied that most of the information points towards responsible behavior on the part of the student brought before the Council. This can include circumstantial information. On a percentage scale, between 51 % and 99% of the information shows that the Reporter's report contains factual information. It is not necessary to find a "smoking gun;" it is merely necessary to satisfy yourself that it is highly probable that the student is responsible for the behavior stated in the Case report.

SUGGESTIONS FOR DELIBERATIONS

During deliberations, the entire room is cleared save for the six Hearing Panelists. Regardless of the Option chosen by the Reporter, the hearing panelists will consider the facts of the case.

If the hearing is for an OPTION 1 report (the Reporter has investigated the behavior and has assigned a sanction), the hearing Panelists consider ONLY whether or not an Honor Pledge violation has occurred. It is not for the hearing Panelists to deliberate the sanctions. Usually, the Chair asks for a "straw" vote as deliberations open. This is conducted by issuing a secret ballot (post-it note) and asking Panelists for their initial reaction. If the vote is not unanimous on the first round, then deliberations may commence.Remember that the object of this type of hearing is to determine responsiblity, not the harshness or softness of the sanction involved. Panelists may give written suggestions to the instructor about sanctions, but panelists may not change sanctions.

If the hearing is for an OPTION 2 report (the Reporter has sent the whole case to be determined by Honor Council members), hearing Panelists determine, first responsibility, THEN sanctions.

If the hearing is for a student who has admitted violating the Honor Pledge two or more times, hearing Panelists determine whether ADDITIONAL sanctioning is appropriate (in addition to the sanctions given by Reporters). In these cases, additional sanctioning may include any (or a combination) of the following: no additional sanctioning, an XF in either/both/all courses, the Development & Integrity course,community service, recommendation for suspension, and/or recommendation for expulsion.

Panelists should not be afraid to speak their opinions, especially if they think that the majority of the group is going to vote differently. If a panelist is convinced the AV is (or is not) responsible for the behavior stated in the Case report, it is his or her responsibility to explain why to the group. This could make a big difference in the final vote. Student Panelists are as obligated as faculty Panelists in speaking their minds throughout the deliberations process.

The deliberations process should center on reconstructing the facts of the event in question as accurately as the information will permit. It is important not to lose sight of the facts. Avoid posing "What if.?" scenarios during deliberations; they are irrelevant.

Finally, Panelists should vote, even if they think they are the only one in the room with that opinion. The vote may be surprising!

SANCTIONS

Sanctions are determined based on the truthfulness of the AV, existence of premeditation (intent) of an Honor Pledge violation, and the flagrancy with which the AV has violated the Honor Pledge. If the student is found responsible, discussion proceeds immediately to determination of sanction. The three most important factors in determining the sanction (truthfulness, premeditation, and flagrancy) can be ranked on a scale of low, medium or high. Other factors affecting sanctions might include:

  • Grade level/classification
  • Conspiracy
  • Misinterpreting syllabus or assignment/project/examination guidelines and not asking for clarification
  • Tampering with Case information
  • Acceptance of responsibility, remorse
  • Personal hardship
  • Lack of personal gain
  • Intent to help another
  • Lack of dishonest intent

Sanctions can include, but are not limited to any of the following:

  • Warning
  • Redoing the assignment/exam/project for reduced credit
  • Receiving no credit for assignment/exam/project
  • Enrolling in and successfully completing the Development & Integrity (D&I) course (educational sanction) with any of the above sanctions
  • Receiving an XF in the course
  • Receiving an XF in the course with recommendation of suspension from the University
  • Receiving an XF in the course with recommendation of expulsion from the University

A member of the Honor Council accepts the Honor Pledge as it is, including the sanction structure. Sanctions should be considered in a serious manner. It is helpful to review sanctions used in similar cases to keep the sanctioning consistent. The sanction should depend solely on the three categories and not on personal beliefs that, for example, a student should never be suspended from the University for cheating. The standard sanction at KSU is failure in a course with a notation on the transcript (XF grade). Some KSU instructors assign lesser sanctions, but add the requirement that the Honor Pledge violator enrolls in and successfully completes the Development & Integrity (D&I) course.

TERMS COMMONLY USED

Alleged Violator-The student who is alleged to have violated some aspect of the Honor & Integrity System.

Deliberation-Process during a hearing in which Hearing Panelists, in closed session, determine student responsibility and sanctions (in the case of the uncontested case).

Hearing Panelist-A member of the adjudicating Hearing Panel responsible for listening to Case information, evaluating Case documentation, and deliberating with other panelists in a closed session about 1) whether a student is responsible for violating the KSU Honor Pledge; and 2) if so, what sanction(s) to administer (in the case of the uncontested case).

Hearing Panel-An adjudicating body of the Honor & Integrity System composed of six Honor Council members. The position of Chair of the Hearing Panel alternates between being assigned to a student member and a faculty/staff member. The Chair is a non-voting member whose primary duty is to conduct the hearing with the help of a script drawn up by the Director. The rest of the Hearing Panel is comprised of three student members and two faculty/staff members.

Hearing Script-A formatted Honor & Integrity System document used during hearings. The Director updates each script with current information about the Case. The Chair of the Hearing Panel reads the script during the hearing. Hearing Panelists, AV(s), and Report all have access to the script before the hearing.

Honor Council (CH) Hearing-A Hearing is a meeting held to determine whether a student(s) has violated the Honor Pledge. A hearing is not a legal proceeding and professional legal counsel may not speak to the Hearing Panel during the hearing, although may confer with the AV. HC hearings are private and all persons participating in a hearing must guard the confidentiality of the hearings.

Reporter-The individual (faculty or student) who reports a Case to the Honor & Integrity System. 

Sanction-A educational penalty assigned to a student responsible for violating the Honor Pledge. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to

  • Warning
  • Redoing the assignment/exam/project for reduced credit
  • Receiving no credit for assignment/exam/project
  • Enrolling in and successfully completing the Development & Integrity (D&I) course (educational sanction) with any of the above sanctions
  • Receiving an XF in the course
  • Receiving an XF in the course with recommendation of suspension from the University
  • Receiving an XF in the course with recommendation of expulsion from the University

Standard of Proof-Clear and convincing information that supports the Reporter's version of the actions that occurred, and that the AV is responsible for having violated the Honor Pledge (i.e. has either given or received unauthorized aid on some academic work.)

This completes Module 3 of the Honor Council Training session.
Please answer the questions below to see if you have a good idea of what Honor Council Honor Hearing Panel Procedures entail.

Module 3 Questions-Honor Hearing Panel Procedures-Write the answers to these questions on a piece of paper, then check this LINK to see how close you come to the answer.

  1. Who determines if an Honor & Integrity System Case moves forward to an HC Honor Panel Hearing?
  2. Who appoints the HC Honor Hearing Panel members?
  3. How many HC members make a full HC Honor Hearing Panel?
  4. Under what condition should a Honor Hearing Panelist arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of a hearing?
  5. Who is present and gives information at an HC Honor Hearing?
  6. What is an HC Honor Hearing Script?
  7. Give an example of a "closed-ended" question.
  8. Does an AV have the opportunity to ask questions of a Reporter in the hearing?
  9. What standard of proof (information) is necessary for finding a student responsible for a violation of the Honor Pledge?
  10. What three criteria are evaluated before sanctioning a student found responsible for violating the Honor Pledge?
  11. What are two sanctions possible for a student found responsible?
  12. What is the Development & Integrity (D&I) course and who may assign it?
  13. On what grounds can a student violator appeal an HC Honor hearing determination?
  14. What happens to the paperwork in Case packets after a hearing?
  15. Is an HC hearing taped?