What Happens in an Honor Council Hearing?
An Honor Council Hearing is an academic process, not a legal one. However, it is modeled after some legal processes in the manner in which it is conducted.
AHSO Case Managers coordinate scheduling of the hearing. To protect confidentiality and provide a private setting, all hearings will be held adjacent to the Aggie Honor System Office. Hearings are generally scheduled for 90 minutes. As the Case Managers are trying to schedule several different individuals, please provide the broadest possible availability. Saying you are only available Fridays, 4pm-5pm, will make it particularly difficult to schedule the hearing.
Who Is There
- Honor Council Panel
- Two student members
- Two faculty members (one of which serves as Chair of the proceedings)
- Student(s) -- referred to as the Alleged Violator(s)
- Student's personal advisor (optional and does not speak to anyone other than the student)
- Witnesses (if appropriate)
- Instructor - referred to as the Reporter
- If the course had multiple instructors involved in the violation, both should be in attendance
- AHSO Case Manager - referred to as the Case Presenter
- AHSO Staff Member -- recording the hearing
- AHSO Director -- to ensure due process oversight
Sequence of Events
- Honor Council Panel arrives 15-30 minutes early and has an opportunity to preview the material to get a sense of the nature of the violation
- After the other participants arrive, they will enter the hearing room and be seated
- Please notify the AHSO Case Manager ahead of time if you would prefer waiting in a private area separate from your instructor
- Chair opens the proceedings and asks the alleged violator (student) to admit or deny the allegation.
- Case Presenter presents a summary of the alleged violation based on the Investigation Report and explains the organization of the material presented as evidence
- Reporter (Instructor) comes forward and is given an opportunity to add clarifying information followed by a Question-and-Answer session with the panel
- Repeated if multiple instructors are involved in a single violation event (such as a falsified medical note used in several classes)
- Alleged violator (Student) comes forward and is given an opportunity to add clarifying information followed by a Question-and-Answer session with the panel
- Repeated if multiple students are involved in the violation event (such as a group project)
- Case Presenter is given an opportunity to add or clarify any last points of information
- Reporter (Instructor) is given an opportunity to add or clarify any last points of information
- Alleged violator (Student) is given the opportunity for a closing statement
- Recording devices are turned off
- AHSO staff members, reporter, and alleged violator leave the hearing room
- Honor Council Panel meets in closed session to discuss whether a violation has occurred
- When the student is found not responsible for an academic misconduct violation, the Chair signs the form signifying the decision and notifies the Director that the hearing can proceed.
- When the student is found responsible for an academic misconduct violation, the Director is notified.
- Panel is apprised of any additional information relevant to the sanctioning process (such as a record of a prior violation)
- Closed deliberation resumes as the panel discusses and assigns an appropriate sanction
- The Chair signs the form signifying the decision and notifies the director that the hearing can proceed.
- Participants are recalled into the hearing room
- Finding is read by the Chair
- Chair closes with a reminder of the confidential nature of the hearing and participants leave
- AHSO Case Manager meets with the student to answer any questions about the finding and sends a follow up letter documenting the results of the hearing
- There are three types of appeal hearings
- Appeal of an Autonomously Handled Case
- Appeal of a previous Honor Council Hearing
- Suspension Appeal Hearing
- Reporter's attendance and participation can be optional
- Encouraged for cases where the student is appealing an autonomously handled case to the Honor Council Panel
- Clarifying comments are made at the time of the Case Manager's report
- Less critical for an appeal of a prior hearing
- Less back and forth questioning and rebuttal
- Not a re-hearing of all evidence
- Remarks should focus on the information relating to the basis for appeal
- No closing statement
- Honor Council Panel has more limited finding options
- Depends partly on the basis of the student's appeal (see Student Appeal information at aggiehonor.tamu.edu/students/appeals.aspx)
- Uphold the prior violation and/or sanction
- Uphold the prior violation but reduce the sanction
- Reverse the finding that a violation has occurred
- Grant a new Hearing
- Suspension/Dismissal Appeal Hearings are composed of non-Honor Council faculty appointed by the Provost, but the process and finding options are the same.