Cheating at Tech

Have you ever found it easier to copy work from the members of your group project instead of putting the answer into your own words? While academic misconduct occurs in all subjects, students should pay close attention to the collaboration policies for those courses which rely heavily on group and lab work.

Students in courses that rely heavily on group projects or labs may be more likely to cheat on their academic work. “Most cases that I see are in lab courses and in computer science courses. The nature of the courses is such that students think that plagiarism will not be caught,” said Michael Warwick, Honor Advisory Committee Chair.

When caught, students often cite lack of time, difficulty of the course, ignorance that the action is considered cheating or simply ‘everyone else was cheating,’ as their reason for cheating, Warwick said. None of the justifications are acceptable, according to the Honor Code.

The Honor Code is an educational document created to cultivate a community based on trust, academic integrity and honor, according to

Any academic misconduct can be considered an Honor Code violation, according to Warwick. The most prominent types of violations include unauthorized access, unauthorized collaboration, plagiarism, falsification of work, alteration of a grade, deliberate falsification, forgery and distortion, Warwick said.

The Honor Advisory Council (HAC) is a student organization that exists “to raise awareness of the honor code throughout campus, promote adherence to the honor code and improve the ethical quality of campus life,” said Kiersten Petersen, the HAC Treasurer.

Council members offer presentations and counseling as part of their commitment to educate the campus. Neither professors nor students are required to report cheating or any type of academic misconduct to the Honor Advisory Council; however, it is strongly recommended that students with any doubt as to how to handle a certain situation seek advice from an honor advisor, Peterson said.

HAC provides advice for students accused of misconduct and holds confidential drop-in office hours every weekday in the Student Services Building.

If accused of academic misconduct, a student will be approached by the professor who then reports the matter to a judicial coordinator at the Office of Student Integrity. From there, the coordinator gathers facts and holds confidential meetings with the student. Accused students can select either the judicial coordinator or the Honor Committee to make the decision.

If chosen to make the decision, the judicial coordinator will do so based on sanctioning guidelines. If the student is not satisfied with the sanction, the student may appeal.

When a case goes to the Honor Committee, instead of the judicial coordinator, the student attends a hearing before the committee. The committee makes a decision based on the facts, including all pertinent information from the professor.

Facts and figures on academic violations can be found in the Office of Student Integrity. Each semester, the Office of Student Integrity assembles reports of academic and non-academic violations and releases this information to campus leaders.

“It is extremely important for student to read and be familiar with the Georgia Tech Honor Code and Student Code of Conduct,” said Ericka McGarity, assistant dean of students and director of Student Integrity. “Both of these documents are extremely important in order for the Georgia Tech Community to keep its high standards of honesty, leadership and ethical development.”

If one is interested in participating with those students involved with the Honor Code, The Honor Advisory Council is currently recruiting new members. Applications are now available online at