Honor System

A vital part of the collegiate experience at Simmons University, the Honor System embodies values of personal integrity, honesty, and trust. Fundamental to the Honor System is the Honor Code of Responsibility, and it is upon its principles that the University community has based the Simmons Standards of Conduct. The Simmons University Honor System has existed since 1907, making it one of the oldest continuing honor systems at any college in the country. Throughout the decades, the Honor System has been revised and amended on an annual basis. Changes are made after consultations with faculty, staff, and students.

Honor Code of Responsibility

The students, faculty, and administrators of Simmons University agree to accept the following responsibilities:

  • Each member of the Simmons University community is responsible for maintaining a high level of civility, integrity, honesty, and trust within the community.
  • Each student is responsible for presenting work of her/his own creation, and refraining from representing as her/his own work that which is not hers/his.
  • Conduct in keeping with the policies outlined in this handbook and all other official University publications is expected of each member of the Simmons community.

The Honor Code of Responsibility is shared by the entire Simmons community. It implies that each segment has obligations based upon its specific function within the University.

Academic Integrity

Each student is expected to read, understand, and observe the policies outlined below, in her/his specific room and board license agreement, in any residence hall or floor community established guidelines, and all other policies that govern students enrolled at Simmons University.

Each student is expected to assume guardianship for the Honor System. To remind students of their personal responsibility under the Honor System, they must write the following pledge on all major examinations before testing begins:

Honor Pledge:
I shall neither give nor receive help during this examination.
Signature ________________________ Date ___________

Any student who violates the standards of the Honor System must accept the consequences of her/his behavior. Important to the integrity of this system is the pledge of each student not only to observe the Honor System, but also to try to ensure that others in the community also act honorably.

Faculty/Administrative Responsibility

At the beginning of every semester, each instructor is expected to define and explain, clearly and carefully, standards of conduct as they relate to cheating and plagiarism in her/his course. This should include, where appropriate, instruction in the proper use of footnotes, outside source material (including resources available on the Internet), quotations, etc. The instructor should also clarify her/his interpretation of individual work, and the extent to which student collaboration and the use of outside assistance will be permitted on papers, laboratory reports, and in-class or take-home examinations. The instructor will use the Statement on Cheating and Plagiarism as a guide for constructing her/his definition.

Each instructor is asked to make conditions in class and examination rooms conducive to the best possible academic achievement of the students. To reinforce student responsibility under the Honor System, each instructor should remind students to write the Honor Pledge on all major examinations before testing begins. During an examination or quiz, the instructor should remain in the room at least long enough to answer questions regarding the examination. Instructors may remain in the room for the duration of the exam, and are especially encouraged to do so under the following conditions: at the request of the students, crowded classroom, or objective examinations (e.g., multiple-choice test items). Instructors should remind students that examinations may not be removed from the assigned examination classroom unless otherwise specified. Instructors should also indicate any time limits that apply and the procedure for returning the examination upon its completion. If an instructor decides not to remain in the classroom for the duration of the exam, she/he should tell the class where she/he can be reached during the examination to answer questions.

Take-home examinations, when assigned, should not have a closed-book time format. The instructor should provide specific written instructions as to the use of source materials, time limitations, and the methods of returning the examination. The instructor should also indicate where and when she/he can be reached if further clarifications are necessary.

Each administrator is responsible for clarifying policies and procedures with respect to the function of her/his office in relation to the Honor System. Such clarification should appear in official University publications and on official forms distributed by the office.

Statement on Cheating and Plagiarism

Cheating and plagiarism are major academic violations of the Honor Code of Responsibility. It is the responsibility of the instructor and students in a particular class to clarify specific applications of the Statement on Cheating and Plagiarism. Selling or distributing lecture notes, handouts, readers, or other information provided by an instructor, or using them for commercial purposes without the express permission of the instructor, is an academic violation and also violates the University's Honor Code.

Cheating is defined as the representation of someone else's work as another person's own. A partial list of examples follows:

  • Copying another person's test, paper, or report.
  • Collaborating, including a) working with another person or persons in execution of a test, report, or paper without authorization to do so; and b) discussing a test, report, or paper.
  • Using crib notes, such as referring to notes brought into class for use during an examination without authorization to do so.
  • Using books, class notes, or other source material during an examination without authorization to do so.
  • Downloading information from the Internet and presenting it as one's own work and/or without proper attribution.
  • Committing laboratory violations. Except where collaboration is permitted or special regulations are made by the instructor, all work for which credit is sought must be performed by the individual student. The unauthorized use of old laboratory reports is a violation of the code. Where procedures are not clear, it is the responsibility of the student to confer with her/his instructor.
  • Submitting the same paper, or substantial parts thereof, in more than one course, without the knowledge of the professor.
  • Committing computer violations. Except where collaboration is permitted or special regulations are made by the instructor, all computer work for which credit is sought must be performed by the individual student. Tampering with, or unauthorized reading of, files belonging to other individuals are violations of the code. Where procedures are not clear, it is the responsibility of the student to confer with her/his instructor.

Violating any other explicit regulation announced by the instructor and/or circulated in writing to each student at the beginning of the semester.

Plagiarizing is defined as intentionally or unintentionally using someone else's words or thoughts without giving proper credit. All work for which a source is not cited is assumed to be the sole product of the author, i.e., the student. This includes handing in as her/his own work a paper on which a student has received extensive aid with substance and/or structure, as well as using one paper for more than one course without authorization to do so. When using material from outside reading, reference material, etc., the student must indicate the source by using footnotes or other devices. Direct quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks. The use of term papers or other work obtained from commercial or other services is a clear case of plagiarism and is specifically prohibited. Instructors are responsible for clarifying the specific application of the plagiarism definition within the context of their specific discipline.