From Electrical Engineering TA Handbook
Students, including TAs, are held accountable for adhering to established community standards at Stanford, including in particular the Stanford Fundamental Standard and the Stanford Honor Code. Both are discussed in detail at the Judicial Affairs Office Website, http://www.stanford.edu/dept/vpsa/judicialaffairs/guiding/honorcode.htm. Here several key points are summarized.
The Stanford Fundamental Standard
The Fundamental Stanford states simply that Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Failure to do this will be sufficient cause for removal from the University.
While TAs have an obvious role to play in assuring the compliance with the Honor Code of students in their classes, they should also keep in mind that they are expected to perform their duties in a manner appropriate under the Fundamental Standard.
The Stanford Honor Code
In the spring of 1921, after a seven-year campaign by the student body, the first campus-wide honor system was formally adopted by the University. The Code underwent various changes through the years, most recently in the spring of 1977. Modifications to these and other codes of student conduct are drafted and enacted by the Student Conduct Legislative Council in accordance with the procedures set forth in "The Legislative and Judicial Charter of 1968."
The standard of academic conduct for Stanford students is as follows:
- The Honor Code is an undertaking of the students, individually and collectively:
- that they will not give or receive aid in examinations; that they will not give or receive unpermitted aid in class work, in the preparation of reports, or in any other work that is to be used by the instructor as the basis of grading;
- that they will do their share and take an active part in seeing to it that others as well as themselves uphold the spirit and letter of the Honor Code.
- The faculty on its part manifests its confidence in the honor of its students by refraining from proctoring examinations and from taking unusual and unreasonable precautions to prevent the forms of dishonesty mentioned above. The faculty will also avoid, as far as practicable, academic procedures that create temptations to violate the Honor Code.
- While the faculty alone has the right and obligation to set academic requirements, the students and faculty will work together to establish optimal conditions for honorable academic work.
Examples of conduct which have been regarded as being in violation of the Honor Code include:
- Copying from another's examination paper or allowing another to copy from one's own paper;
- Unpermitted collaboration;
- Revising and resubmitting a quiz or exam for regrading without the instructor's knowledge and consent;
- Giving or receiving unpermitted aid on a take-home examination;
- Representing as one's own work the work of another; and
- Giving or receiving aid on an academic assignment under circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that such aid was not permitted.
In recent years, most student disciplinary cases have involved Honor Code violations; of those, the most frequent is plagiarism. The ordinary penalty for a first offense is a one-quarter suspension from the University, 40 hours of community service, and a grade of "No Credit" for the class in which the violation occurred. The ordinary penalty for a multiple violation (e.g. cheating more than once in the same course) is a three-quarter suspension, 40 or more hours of community service, and a grade of "No Credit."
Information And Advice For Students About The Stanford Honor Code
STANFORD, CALIFORNIA 94305-3010
Office Of Judicial Affairs
459 Lagunita Drive, Suite 9
Stanford, CA 94305-310
INFORMATION AND ADVICE FOR STUDENTS ABOUT THE STANFORD HONOR CODE
In 1992-93, about 40 students, the vast majority of them undergraduates, violated the Honor Code, were suspended for one or more quarters and received grades of No Credit in the courses involved.
Consequences can also be indirect. Although the judicial process is confidential and no recordings appear on transcripts, many law schools, bar examiners and employers require disclosure of a disciplinary record as part of their application procedures.
Most Honor Code violations are unplanned, the result of hasty and ill-considered decisions. Some violations are even unintended, the result of not knowing or not understanding the instructor's guidelines for a particular assignment or examination. While ignorance may explain a violation, it does not excuse a violation and these students usually face the same penalty as do others.
Although people make bad decisions all the time and usually learn from their mistakes, the process of dealing with the consequences of one's mistakes is rarely pleasant. Some mistakes, however, can be avoided and the following suggestions are offered to help you avoid Honor Code violations and other academic disasters.
- Make sure that you know and understand all guidelines for academic assignments. They frequently vary from course to course, instructor to instructor, and assignment to assignment. If you are unsure, ask the instructor or teaching assistant; do not rely upon other students for this information.
- Be prepared in your academic work. Use the established support systems to avoid the tight spots of not meeting homework deadlines, difficulty with a paper, or insufficient study time for exams. Seek out your advisor, your AA, TAs or academic tutors at the Center for Teaching and Learning. Use your fellow students as well, but be careful that your collaboration or consultation does not extend into unpermitted territory.
- As a matter of routine for in-class examinations, avoid sitting near anyone with whom you have studied. It is not uncommon for students who know each other well and study together to have similar material in their heads that leads to similar results on exams, including similar mistakes. These similarities can cause reasonable people to question your honesty, a situation that can be avoided by the simple precaution of sitting distant from your study partners.
- If you find yourself in a bind and need to use the ideas, approaches, computer code, etc. of another in order to complete an assignment, indicate that fact clearly on the work that you submit. You may get a lower grade for your reliance on others but you won't be accused of plagiarism.
- If you find yourself tempted to take a dishonest shortcut, try to stand back and identify options. Think about the consequences if you're caught: embarrassment and loss of self-respect, impact on your academic career, impact on your family, and the possible impact on your life after Stanford. If you consider these consequences, the alternatives (e.g., dropping the course, arranging an Incomplete) can look pretty attractive.
- In general, and this refers to nonacademic situations as well as academic, don't make critical decisions if your judgment is impaired. This includes feelings of panic, grief, and desperation as well as the influences of alcohol or other drugs.
- Think before you act. And if you're in no shape to think, don't act at all - unless it's to seek help. Most Stanford students need help at one time or another and the campus resources include people whose only job is to help students solve their problems. If you need them, seek them out.
- Interpretations and Applications of the Honor Code
In the spring of 1977, the Student Conduct Legislative Council authored and adopted the following guidelines to assist students and faculty in understanding their rights and obligations under the University's Honor Code. The most recent revisions to the original text were adopted in the spring of 1985.
While an instructor's failure to observe these guidelines might be viewed as an extenuating circumstance in evaluating penalty options for a student's misconduct, it would not preclude the initiation of an otherwise warranted charge against the student.
- The Honor Code is agreed to by every student who registers at Stanford University and by every instructor who accepts an appointment
- The Honor Code provides a standard of honesty and declares that compliance with that standard is to be expected. It does not contemplate that the standard will be self-enforcing but calls on students, faculty, and administration to encourage compliance and to take reasonable steps to discourage violations. If violations occur, procedures are prescribed by the Legislative and Judicial Charter. However, the Honor Code depends for its effectiveness primarily on the individual and collective desire of all members of the community to prevent and deter violations rather than on proceedings to impose penalties after violations have occurred.
- It must be understood that the individual and collective responsibility of the students for upholding the Honor Code (including so-called third-party responsibility) was not imposed upon the students by the administration or the faculty but was assumed by the students at their own request. Without such student responsibility, the Honor Code cannot be effectively maintained.
- In interpreting and applying the general provisions of the Honor Code, it should be kept in mind that although primary responsibility for making the Code effective rests with the students, faculty cooperation is essential, since the faculty sets the academic requirements which students are to meet. The faculty should endeavor to avoid academic requirements and procedures which place honorable and conscientious students at a disadvantage. The faculty should also be ready and willing to consult with students and should be responsive to their suggestions in these matters.
- Specific Interpretations and Applications
- Third-party responsibility A primary responsibility assumed by students is to discourage violations of the Honor Code by others. Various methods are possible. Drawing attention to a suspected violation may stop it. Moral suasion may be effective. Initiating formal procedures is a necessary and obligatory remedy when other methods are inappropriate or have failed. Faculty members have like responsibilities when suspected violations come to their attention.
Proctoring means being present in the examination room during a written examination, with the following exceptions: 1) The prohibition against proctoring should not be construed to prohibit an instructor or teaching assistant from remaining in the examination room for the first few minutes to distribute and explain the examination; or from visiting the examination room briefly to transmit additional information; or from returning at the end of the examination to collect examination papers. 2) Nor does the prohibition against proctoring prohibit an instructor or teaching assistant from visiting the examination room in response to specific or prior reports from students that cheating has been observed, in connection with that exam, to investigate the basis for such reports. The instructor or teaching assistant may also visit the examination room briefly and infrequently in order to answer students' questions.
- "Unusual and unreasonable precautions" In interpreting and applying this provision, consideration should be given to standard procedures which are customary to Stanford and the need for cooperation between students and faculty in making the Honor Code effective. The following situations are cited as examples:
- An instructor should not require students to identify themselves before being admitted to an examination room, or require students to submit in advance to being searched for notes or other materials, or maintain surveillance upon students who leave the examination room. Nor should the instructor take deliberate steps to invite dishonesty in order to entrap students. Procedures of this kind would be unusual and unreasonable.
- On the other hand, an instructor may require copies of an examination or test to be returned after the examination. When possible, alternate seating should be provided and used for all examinations. To avoid controversy in any rereading or regrading of students' work, the instructor may take measures by which the original work may be clearly identified. An instructor who requires students to make up a missed test or examination may administer a different test or examination of equivalent range and difficulty. Such procedures are not to be construed as unusual or unreasonable.
- "Procedures that create temptations to violate the Honor Code" Although students are expected to resist temptations to cheat, the faculty should endeavor to minimize inducements to dishonesty. Examples of undesirable procedures include the following: failure to give clear directions and instructions concerning course requirements and the limits of acceptable collaboration in coursework; treating required work casually as if it were unimportant; carelessness or inconsistency in maintaining security of examinations or tests; reusing an examination which is neither kept secure from public exposure nor made available to all students. If take-home examinations are given, they should not be closed-book examinations, nor should there be a specific time limit less than the full period between the distribution of the examination and its due date. Such procedures place honorable and conscientious students in a difficult position and often at a disadvantage.
- "Penalty grading" Under the Legislative and Judicial Charter, students are not to be penalized for violations of the Honor Code without notice, hearing and adjudication, as therein provided. An instructor may not, therefore, lower a student's grade or impose any other academic penalty on the grounds of dishonesty in the absence of such formal proceedings.
- Taking tests outside the examination room Provided that alternate seats are available, tests will be taken from the classroom only with the consent of the instructor.