Dishonesty in Course Work

Students Charged with Dishonesty in Course Work

Although instructors have the responsibility for evaluating students’ academic performance, the Faculty has granted jurisdiction over matters of student dishonesty to the GSAS Administrative Boards and the College's Honor Council. Therefore, any instance of possible student dishonesty in course work should be reported at once.

If an undergraduate is involved, the incident should be reported to the Dean of Harvard College (through the Secretary of the Honor Council of Harvard College). After a preliminary investigation, the faculty member, in consultation with the Secretary of the Council and the Department Chair or his/her designee(s), can determine whether a “local sanction” is appropriate; if so, the Secretary of the Council will be available to provide advice to the faculty member as to how similar offenses have been treated in the past. Any local sanction imposed by the faculty member will be reported to the Council by the Secretary. In all instances in which it is determined that a local sanction is not appropriate the case will be referred to the Council.

If a graduate student is involved, the incident should be reported to the Dean for Student Affairs of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. After a preliminary investigation, the faculty member, in consultation with the Dean and the Department Chair or his/her designee(s), can determine whether a “local sanction” is appropriate; if so, the Dean will be available to provide advice to the faculty member as to how similar offenses have been treated in the past. Any local sanction imposed by the faculty member will be reported to the Administrative Board by the Dean. In all instances in which it is determined that a local sanction is not appropriate the case will be referred to the Board.

Each case involving possible student dishonesty that goes to the Honor Council or Administrative Board will receive a careful hearing. Action taken by either body can range from “scratch” (the Council/Board decides that no disciplinary action is warranted) to requirement to withdraw or even a recommendation to the Faculty that the student be dismissed. In cases involving undergraduates who have misused source materials in the preparation of course work, the Honor Council of Harvard College will often recommend and make available appropriate instruction on the proper use of sources and footnotes.

Students have a right to expect that grading will not be used as punishment for alleged academic dishonesty that has not been confirmed by the Honor Council. Students may ask the Council, through their Allston Burr Assistant Dean/Resident Dean of Freshmen, to investigate and resolve informal allegations of academic dishonesty that have not been brought to the Council’s attention by a faculty member.