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Faculty Senate discusses ways to prevent honor code and fundamental standard violations

Courtesy of Linda Cicero

The Office of Community Standards (OCS) saw 207 total cases — 180 of which were honor code cases — in the 2017-2018 school year, presenters told the Faculty Senate at Thursday’s meeting.

Of the remaining cases, 26 were fundamental standard cases, and one involved both the honor code and fundamental standard.

At the meeting, which was the first of the quarter, management science and engineering associate professor Ross Shachter and Catherine Sanchez ’19, co-­chairs of the Board on Judicial Affairs, presented the results of a survey of 912 faculty and 417 students regarding the honor code.

Shachter said the survey shows that students more frequently admit to violations on problem sets and computer code, while faculty are most likely to detect violations on exams and papers.

Though students are expected to intervene when they see an honor code violation, the majority of students in the survey responded that they did not act in response to the last honor code violation they witnessed.

Sanchez noted that if “less cumbersome judicial charters” were developed, students might be more likely to be follow and report infractions of the honor code.

“By restoring faculty confidence and adherence to the honor code and fundamental standard, we can build a trusting learning environment,” she added.

Following the analysis of the survey statistics, Associate Dean of Students and OCS Director Mark DiPerna presented on OCS’s role and the process that takes place when it is notified of a potential infraction.

Each case is assigned two OCS staff members, who explain the process and rights of the involved parties and investigate whether there is enough evidence to file a formal charge, DiPerna said. If a formal charge is filed and a student contests the filing, it proceeds to a panel of four students and two faculty members. Five of the six panelists must agree that a violation has occurred beyond a reasonable doubt for the burden of proof to be satisfied.

The standard sanction for a first-time honor code violation is a one-quarter suspension and 48 hours of community service.

For a first-time violation, the Early Resolution Option (ERO) also exists for students who do not contest the violation. Opting for the ERO leads to a shorter process where the student must take an academic integrity seminar. The one-quarter suspension is deferred and does not come into effect unless the student has a second violation.

Of the 180 honor cases filed, 131 were charged and 109 were resolved through the ERO.

DiPerna also provided suggestions to increase awareness and emphasis of the honor code and fundamental standard at Stanford, such as having faculty underscore the honor code in class, expanding relevant education and creating a new committee to potentially change the Judicial Charter if needed.

Associated Students of Stanford University President Shanta Katipamula ’19 echoed the point that faculty could engage more deeply on the first day of class in what constitutes an honor code violation and suggested that the issue could also be approached as one of mental health and wellness.

In addition to discussion on the honor code, Provost Drell said that she will chair a committee to find a successor for Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs Patricia Gumport, who will be stepping down from the role after this school year.

The Faculty Senate also honored professor emeritus of medicine John W. Farquhar and professor emeritus of computer science Zohar Manna with memorial resolutions and moments of silence.

 

Contact Michelle Leung at mleung2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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