Honor, or lack thereof, affects life before, after graduation

As if Tech was not hard enough, apparently each exam is actually two exams. One is over whether you know the material or not. The other, the more important, one shows the character of a person. Failure in honesty will become a part of your reputation and will not be forgotten.

As the Chair of the Honor Advisory Council (HAC), I have come to know the most common violations of the Georgia Tech Honor Code extremely well. It’s not plagiarism or stealing the answer key to a test, but instead collaborating with other students on assignments or projects.

It seems so easy. To stay out of trouble, just follow the rules. The only questions are, where are they posted? Who makes them? Who do I ask if I am still confused?

We here at HAC hold office hours [on the] bottom floor of the Flag Building to help answer your questions on various topics, including the Honor Code, the judicial process and provide resources for faculty and students to better communicate policies.

One of the many questions people often ask me is, “What is the best way to avoid Honor Code violations?” Many issues could be avoided if there were better communication between students and professors. More specifically, better elaboration on policies and expectations.

That’s why we have developed a Collaboration Sliding Scale which will be distributed to faculty to use, so that they may better convey their expectations to students and give students a better understanding of each professor’s policies. Do not assume that one policy applies for an entire major or even throughout one class. If you are ever in doubt, ask. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Once a misunderstanding has occurred it will change the student-professor relationship, and most likely you will not be able to restore it.

On a side note, professors did not just accuse you of an Honor Code violation without just cause or reason. The Office of Student Integrity did not just decide your case on a whim. Both parties had to have some kind of reason to think that the accusations made against you were at least somewhat justified. In university judicial systems the standard to determine if a student is responsible for a violation is ‘preponderance of evidence’, meaning that the violation is more likely to have occurred than not.

Honor, however, is not something that you will leave behind after graduation. It is something that is a part of your everyday life. Honor Code violations at Tech will also not be forgotten after graduation. They should be disclosed on every graduate school and job application you complete for the next five years, as employers can inquire about them for that long.


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