The Honor Code at the University of Lynchburg is based on the expectation that students will not lie, cheat, or steal in academic and non-academic matters. The Honor Code has a dual function of protecting academic and personal integrity.
The importance of honorable conduct has been emphasized at the University of Lynchburg since its 1903 founding as Virginia Christian College. A professor of history wrote, “The College…stands for all that is noble…and will be sadly disappointed in any student who so forgets her precepts as not to stand for her teachings in every…honorable way.” During the 1933-1934 academic session, students and faculty adopted a formal honor code for the institution, renamed Lynchburg College in 1919. At that time, students stated, “It is not too much to require of any person that he be honest and that he conduct himself in an honorable way.” With modifications, the Honor Code has been in continuous operation since its adoption, succeeding because most students in each generation have respected it and have given it a high place in their obligations as Lynchburg students.
In describing the importance of honor at Lynchburg, Dr. John M. Turner Jr., former dean of Lynchburg College wrote:
Honor makes possible excellent academic achievements without a system of police proctoring. Honor makes possible satisfying social relations in a spirit of confidence and trust.
The heritage that we have at Lynchburg College is a most valuable one. May all of us preserve the spirit of honor, strengthen it by our conduct, and thus transmit this valuable heritage to those who follow us.
Because the Honor Code is of central importance in the University of Lynchburg community, every student is expected to adhere to the University of Lynchburg Honor Pledge:
- I understand the importance of honor in any community. Only by maintaining a strict standard of honor can we expect to achieve any measure of academic or social excellence. I, therefore, pledge that during my tenure as a student at the University of Lynchburg, I will not lie, cheat, or steal either in University affairs or in the environs of the University, nor tolerate such actions by fellow students.
Students are expected to abide by the Honor Code themselves and not to tolerate actions by fellow students that breach the Code. In matters of honor, each individual's responsibility to the entire student body transcends any reluctance to report a violator. If a student witnesses or discovers any infraction of the Honor Code, the student witness should report the offense or ask the person(s) at fault to report the offense to the appropriate professor, to Community Expectations and Restorative Practices, or to the Student Judicial Board, which have been granted authority to address such matters. When an alleged Honor Code infraction is resolved through a board hearing, the hearing is conducted by either the Student Judicial Board or the Administrative Board, as assigned by Community Expectations and Restorative Practices.
The academic integrity section of the Honor Code includes the following A-level violations:
- A1.1 Cheating: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any educational exercise
- A1.2 Fabrication: Falsification or invention of any information or citation in an educational exercise
- A1.3 Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to violate any provision of the Academic Integrity section of the Honor Code
- A1.4 Plagiarism: Representing the ideas or language of another as one’s own in any educational exercise (see “Statement on Plagiarism”)
Integrity is critical to all educational endeavors and is a core value of the University of Lynchburg. Recognizing the complexities of upholding both the rights of a charged student and the academic freedom of faculty and of maintaining an educational environment from which all students benefit, the following actions are available for the resolution of an academic integrity violation:
Statement on Plagiarism
Plagiarism occurs in written work and in oral/visual presentations in which the writer presents materials as their own that have originated with someone else. These materials include information, data, ideas, conclusions, words, sentence structures, images, movies, sounds, and music. Inadvertently neglecting to include quotation marks or accurate documentation with these materials is plagiarism as surely as knowingly copying another person’s writing and submitting it as one’s own.
This definition applies to all types of sources, including print sources, sources from electronic databases, the Internet, and from other media.
Because plagiarism presents another’s work as one’s own, it is unethical and dishonest and is therefore prohibited by the University of Lynchburg Honor Code. It also denies one’s work the benefit that comes from citing authoritative sources that lend credibility to what one is saying. Furthermore, plagiarism makes it impossible for readers to investigate the writer’s sources on their own.
There are two broad categories of plagiarism:
- First, plagiarism of ideas occurs when the writer presents the ideas of others as their own. Information, data, interpretations, and conclusions that come from a specific source must be attributed to the source even if the original language is not used. Plagiarism of ideas can easily be avoided by including documentation of the original source. Any standard citation style, such as MLA, APA, or Chicago style, is valid. The writer should use the citation style that is appropriate to the discipline in which the individual is writing.
- Second, plagiarism of language occurs when the writer lifts sentences or substantive words from the source. Writers must use quotation marks or block quotations to indicate that the words in the essay are the same as those in the original text, and writers must provide a citation that correctly identifies the source. The writer must fulfill their responsibility to the original source by being precise and accurate when quoting.
Plagiarism of language can be avoided either by correctly identifying a quotation or by rewording so that the language of the original is replaced with language that is the writer’s own.
Plagiarism of language can be further subdivided:
- Plagiarism of words occurs when the writer copies three or more consecutive content words (not function words, such as the, and, or is) from the original source without any quotation marks and formal citations. Plagiarism of words in a paraphrase can be avoided by summarizing the original text and by substituting synonyms.
- Plagiarism of sentence structure occurs when the writer substitutes synonyms for words in the original text but repeats the same sentence structure as used in the original document. Plagiarism of sentence structure in a paraphrase can be avoided by changing the grammatical structures of the original text’s sentences.
Ideas in the public domain, which are considered common knowledge, can be mentioned without citation, provided that the language of the original document is not plagiarized in any way. Public domain information involves facts and ideas that every reader in a particular field would be familiar with, facts that are readily available in reference sources, and well-known sayings. When information is available on the Internet, readers should not automatically assume it is in the public domain.
A problem related to plagiarism is the misuse of sources. When using and acknowledging sources’ ideas in their essays, writers should take care not to distort or misrepresent the original text’s information in any way. Direct quotations must accurately reproduce the words, spelling, and punctuation of the original. Although misrepresenting a source’s information is not as serious an ethical issue as plagiarism, it is still unacceptable in college writing.
Samples of citation styles and examples of how to acknowledge sources without plagiarizing are available through Knight-Capron Library and the Writing Center (www.lynchburg.edu, search term “citation style”). All standard writing handbooks provide this information. Students with questions about citing sources or avoiding plagiarism in their papers should ask the instructor in the class where the paper was assigned.
Action by the Faculty Member
A faculty member may resolve an academic integrity violation through the implementation of only one of the four options listed below. The faculty member must notify the student in writing of the identified academic integrity violation and of the action taken.
- Grant no credit for the examination or assignment in question (100% of the course grade is based on all other work)*
- Assign a score of zero for the examination or assignment in question*
- Recommend to the associate provost that the student be assigned a final course grade of “F.” When this recommendation is upheld by the associate provost (or designee), the student is dismissed from the course for the remainder of the academic term. The associate provost (or designee) notifies both the student and the faculty member whether the recommendation is upheld.*
- Refer the possible academic integrity violation to Community Expectations and Restorative Practices for review.
- When a faculty member refers an academic integrity matter to Community Expectations and Restorative Practices for resolution, and the course is still in session, the faculty member does not assign a final grade for the academic work in question or for the course until a disciplinary review of the matter is concluded through student disciplinary procedures, which may include student-initiated appeal. If the course ends before the allegation is resolved, the faculty member shall assign the temporary grade of “I” (work incomplete) until one of the following occurs
- When the final outcome of the disciplinary review is a finding that the student is not responsible for an academic integrity violation, then the professor must adhere to the disciplinary decision, grading the academic assignment as legitimate work.
- When the final outcome of the disciplinary review is a finding that the student is responsible for an academic integrity violation, then the professor may implement one of the grading options detailed in Actions 1, 2, and 3 above. (Additional appeal of the grade assignment is not available).
* When implementing Action 1, 2, or 3 above, the faculty member is strongly encouraged to notify Community Expectations and Restorative Practices that an academic integrity violation occurred and was resolved by the faculty member. Such notification is necessary to identify recurring problems and maintain accurate academic integrity records. However, no new action to address the violation will be taken by Community Expectations and Restorative Practices.
Appeal of Action by the Faculty Member
A student found responsible for committing an academic integrity violation has the option of submitting one written appeal request, as detailed below. If no appeal is submitted, the original resolution becomes the final outcome of academic integrity concerns.
When an appeal request is submitted concerning the address of an academic integrity violation, the student is typically not afforded a meeting with the person resolving the academic integrity appeal request. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal request, the charged student is notified in writing of the appeal outcome. Appeal outcome decisions are the final decisions of the University. An additional appeal is not available.
Appeal requests resulting from the implementation of Actions 1, 2, or 3 must be submitted to the Office of the Provost within two weekdays (Monday-Friday) after the date of notification of the original resolution outcome. Appeal requests resulting from Actions 1, 2, or 3 are resolved by the provost and vice president for academic affairs (or designee).
Appeal requests resulting from Action 4, which involves the referral of the alleged academic integrity violation to Community Expectations and Restorative Practices, are resolved in accordance with appeal procedures detailed in the Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations (see “Appeal Procedures”).
Action(s) by a Student Witness
A student who witnesses or has other information regarding a possible academic integrity violation is strongly encouraged to take one or more of the following actions:
- Address the student believed to be in violation of the Honor Code, encouraging the student to report the infraction to the professor.
- Inform the professor of what was witnessed.
- Inform the Office of the Provost of what was witnessed.
- Inform Community Expectations and Restorative Practices of what was witnessed.
Action(s) by Community Expectations and Restorative Practices
- When the possible academic integrity violation is referred to the Community Expectations and Restorative Practices office for review, the Assistant Vice President for Student Development (or designee) and one of the Associate Provosts for either Undergraduate education or Graduate education review the referral to determine appropriate next steps. The final decision rests with the AVP-Student Development (or designee).
- After review, if it is determined that the alleged violation should be investigated, the AVP-Student Development (or designee) and the respective Associate Provost conduct the investigation jointly. The AVP-Student Development (or designee) and the respective Associate Provost determine if any misconduct charges are to be assigned. The final decision rests with the AVP-Student Development (or designee).
- If charges are assigned, they are resolved through student disciplinary procedures detailed in the Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations (see “Disciplinary Procedures”)
- If it is determined that a possible academic integrity violation will be resolved through an Administrative Handling, the decision is made jointly by the Assistant Vice President for Student Development (or designee) and the respective Associate Provost. The final decision rests with the AVP-Student Development (or designee).
- If it is determined that a possible academic integrity violation will be resolved through a board hearing, the hearing is conducted by either the Student Judicial Board or the Administrative Board, as assigned by Community Expectations and Restorative Practices.
- If a student is found to be responsible for an academic integrity violation, appropriate outcomes are assigned, which may include suspension. However, mitigating and aggravating the circumstances of the incident may affect the outcomes imposed. Expulsion may be issued for more serious circumstances, and lesser outcomes (typically not fewer than 30 hours of community service and a period of disciplinary probation, or the equivalent) may be issued for less serious circumstances.
- A student found responsible for an academic integrity violation has the option of submitting one written appeal request in accordance with appeal procedures detailed in the Honor and Student Conduct Codes and Regulations (see “Appeal Procedures”). Appeals pertaining to academic integrity violations are typically resolved by the provost and vice president for academic affairs (or designee).
- When the final outcome of the disciplinary review is a finding that the student is responsible for an academic integrity violation, Community Expectations and Restorative Practices will notify the course professor of the finding. The course professor may then implement one of the grading options detailed in Actions 1, 2, or 3 of “Actions by the Faculty Member,” even if a grade for the academic work in question and/or for the course was assigned before the faculty member was notified of the academic integrity violation by Community Expectations and Restorative Practices. (Additional appeal of the grade assignment is not available).
The personal integrity section of the Honor Code includes the following A-level violations:
- A2.1 Lying: Any statement, action, or behavior with the intent to deceive or mislead
- A2.2 Stealing: Knowingly taking, appropriating, or carrying out actions to take or appropriate something that is not yours without the permission of the owner
- A2.3 Possession or use of false identification for any purpose
- A2.4 Eluding or Evading: Any statement, action, or behavior with the intent to prevent the truth from becoming known, including but not limited to running or hiding from University personnel and destroying evidence being sought
Suspension may be issued in response to a personal integrity infraction. For more information, see the section “Outcome Guidelines.”