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Student Affairs | Honor System and Expectations

Honor System and Code of Conduct Expectations

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Trinity’s Honor System is the foundation for all expectations about student conduct at Trinity.  The Honor System expects students to act with honesty and integrity in all matters and to respect the rights of others in the community.  Trinity’s specific policies and rules emanate from the fundamental principles of the Honor System.

Procedurally, the Honor System also expects students who violate the principles of honor, or the policies and rules that operationalize those principles, to admit their misconduct and even to self-report violations.  The expectation of self-reporting is consistent with the ideal of honor that expects individuals to be sufficiently mature to be able to admit wrongdoing and accept the consequent penalties.

Realizing that the human community is always evolving toward the ideals of honor, but sometimes falling short of the vision of the fully mature honorable actor, Trinity provides this pragmatic statement of disciplinary procedures with the purpose of ensuring fairness and due process while also reminding students of their obligations to keep learning and growing in the community of honor.

Due Process

Trinity ensures fairness and due process for all students who become involved with non-academic disciplinary matters as well as academic matters.  Students have a right to know the specific details of an accusation of misconduct, and an opportunity to explain their side of the story.  Procedures that give accused students notice of the infraction and an opportunity to be heard embody the essence of the idea of due process and procedural fairness.

This policy statement covers due process proceedings for non-academic disciplinary matters.  Academic due process proceedings are set forth in the Policy on Academic Honesty.

Misconduct

Expectations about student conduct are set forth in the Student Code of Responsible Conduct, the Professional Student Code of Conduct, the Residence Life Policies, and other policy statements on Trinity’s website and incorporated into the Student Handbook.  Conduct expectations also are set forth in course syllabi, handbooks and guidelines for various academic and non-academic programs, and in memoranda from university officials that ensue from time to time on email and hard copy.

Misconduct may occur in almost any place on campus, at any time, in many different forms.  This reporting process describes the typical route for reporting violations of Trinity’s Honor Code and policies, but recognizes that some cases may arise in different ways.  Nothing in this policy statement limits Trinity’s ability to handle cases differently depending on the facts and circumstances.

Some of the typical ways that reporting will occur include

  • A student who commits an infraction then realizes the obligation of reporting herself.  She may report to the academic dean of her collegiate unit, or to the dean of students or vice president, or to an advisor or faculty member who will help her make the report to the right person.
  • Other students may know of someone else’s misconduct, and they may report the matter to their academic dean or the dean of students, or vice president for student affairs.
  • A faculty member may observe or hear about misconduct.  The faculty member should  report the infraction to the respective academic dean, or the dean of students or vice president for student affairs.
  • Members of the administrative staff may observe or hear about misconduct.  Staff members should report the infraction to the respective academic dean, or the dean of students or vice president for student affairs.

Disciplinary Proceedings for Non-Academic Cases

There are informal procedures outlined for minor offenses, and formal proceedings for serious or repeat violations of conduct.  The procedures are outlined in the University Policies section under Disciplinary Proceedings for Non-Academic Misconduct


For more information, please contact Dr. Karen Gerlach at 202-884-9203 or via e-mail at gerlachk@trinitydc.edu.

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