Ⅱ. The Honor Code

A. General Description
B. Offenses under the Honor Code
C. Reporting an Offense
D. Punishment
E. Recording of Grades in an Honor Code Conviction


At the center of life at Hampden-Sydney College is the Honor Code. Each student pledges not to lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do. The Honor Code defines all of a student's interactions - academic, professional, and social. The Honor Code applies in all times and in all places.

The Honor Code should not be viewed as a set of rules. It espouses a set of ethical principles which make it possible for all to live in a community of mutual trust and respect. These principles constantly practiced as a student will be internalized and become the core of one's lifelong ethical standards.

A. General Description

At matriculation, each student is required to sign a statement acknowledging that he understands what is expected of him under the Hampden-Sydney Honor System and is aware of the consequences of a breach of the Honor Code.

A professor may or may not require that a formal pledge be signed on a given piece of work, but a student’s name on a paper indicates that the student is claiming the work as his own, regardless of whether a written pledge is required. All work is subject to the Honor Code, except where the professor indicates otherwise. Where a written pledge is required, it will read as follows:

On my honor, I have neither given nor received any aid on this work, nor am I aware of any breach of the Honor Code that I shall not immediately report.
[Signature]

As indicated in the Preamble, the Honor Code’s applicability is not limited to cheating on academic work. It relates to lying, cheating, and stealing of any variety, at any place and any time. A student’s obligation under the Honor Code does not start or stop at the edge of the campus. It applies in all places, year-round.

All Honor Code cases are heard by the Student Court. The Honor Code makes each student as responsible for reporting violations of the Code of which he is aware as he is for refraining from violating the Code himself.

B. Offenses under the Honor Code

  1. Cheating: Giving or receiving unauthorized aid on any type of test, quiz, or assignment. Cheating shall include turning in a single paper for two or more classes or courses, or a paper previously submitted at the College or any other school, without appropriate authorization.
  2. Lying: Presenting false information with the intent of deceiving, including the use of false identification; uttering a falsehood or conveying a false image or impression for a fraudulent or immoral purpose.
  3. Stealing: The wrongful taking or retention, or the fraudulent misuse, of the property of another. Fraudulent conduct involving forged or worthless checks, credit cards, identification cards, library materials, bicycles, or computers. See Appendix A.
  4. Plagiarism: Presenting as one’s own the writing or research of others. Appendix B sets out guidelines for determining whether plagiarism has been committed. See Appendix B.
  5. Failing to Report a Breach: Being aware that an Honor Code offense may have been committed and failing to report the same.
  6. Attempts: An attempt to commit one of the foregoing infractions of the Honor Code will be regarded as a commission of the infraction.
  7. Participation: Any participation in the commission or attempted commission of an infraction will be regarded as a commission of the infraction.

C. Reporting an Offense

All suspected Honor Code violations should be reported to the President of Student Government as promptly as is practical. It is recommended that, before making such a report, the suspecting person ask the suspect to turn himself in to the President of Student Government. The suspecting person should promptly follow up with the President of Student Government to determine whether the suspect has reported the infraction.

D. Punishment

The penalty for a breach of the Honor Code is suspension or expulsion from the College. The Chairman of the Student Court reports the imposition of a penalty to the Dean of Students, who, unless prohibited from doing so by Law, informs at least one parent of the convicted student, after giving the student a reasonable amount of time to first contact said parent.

E. Recording of Grades in an Honor Code Conviction

Standard Procedure:

When a student is convicted of an academic honor offense, the punishment (suspension or expulsion) becomes effective immediately, i.e., at the time the Student Court returns its verdict. If a student is convicted of cheating or plagiarism in a course, he receives an ‘F’ in that course, a ‘W’ in each other course which he has not yet completed, the grade earned in each course which he has completed, plus any suspension or expulsion. Thus, a student whose trial occurs after the end of classes for the semester in which the alleged offense occurred may receive a mixture of an ‘F’ for cheating or plagiarism, ‘W’s, and earned grades if convicted. However, a student whose trial occurs before the end of classes would receive only an ‘F’ for cheating or plagiarism and ‘W’s in all other courses taken during that semester if convicted. If a student is sanctioned with a grade of ‘F’ in a course due to an Honor violation, any term of suspension will begin with the semester in which the ‘F’ was assigned.

If a student chooses to appeal his conviction, he is allowed to continue working in all his courses. If his conviction is overturned on appeal, he receives the grades earned in all of his courses. However, if his conviction is upheld on appeal, then his punishment becomes effective at the time of his initial conviction, and any work completed thereafter has no effect upon his grades for the semester.

Although he receives an ‘F’ in the course where the cheating or plagiarism occurred, no explicit mention of a suspension or expulsion for the Honor Code conviction appears on the student’s academic transcript. (Similarly, no evidence of a suspension or expulsion for a Code of Student Conduct conviction appears on a student’s academic transcript.) In contrast, when a student is suspended or placed on probation for academic reasons, the academic suspension or probation is specifically noted on the student’s transcript. This distinction occurs because the transcript reflects a student’s academic, not overall, record at the College.