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President's Office | Letter Re: Academic Honesty

Cheating and Trinity’s Academic Honesty Policy

Dear Trinity Students,

As we move toward the season of final papers and exams, and senior preparation for graduation, I must remind you of the very serious consequences of cheating at Trinity. Please review the Academic Honesty Policy on our website.

Trinity’s Honor Code is the foundation for learning and community life at Trinity, and cheating is such a gross violation of our values that we must address it seriously.

One of my saddest duties occurs when I have to expel a senior in the week before graduation because she plagiarized a paper or cheated on an exam. Yes, this has happened — too often. Seniors and graduate students incur immediate dismissal for any instance of cheating or plagiarism. Why? Because at such an advanced stage of learning, we expect you to know better. We cannot let someone take a Trinity diploma whose actions betray our values.

Seniors and graduate students: please take this very seriously. Do not expect to be able to plead special circumstances after the fact. If you have difficulties that are tempting you to do something wrong, please seek out your advisor, dean, student services team, or even me. We will help you to avoid catastrophe. However, if you choose to ignore the availability of help, and, instead, choose to cheat, you will never receive a Trinity degree.

All other students: in the first instance of cheating, you will receive an “F” for the course. No, you will not get your money back. In the second instance, you will incur a suspension for one semester. Again, if you have problems that make you think about cheating, think again. Instead of searching online for a paper to download, write an email to your teacher, advisor or dean and ask for an appointment to discuss the situation.

Think you can get away with it? Think again. Search tools are available to help our faculty to discover plagiarism in almost any paper, and we do use these tools. If you cheat, we will find out.

We expect you to know what plagiarism is. Any words that are not your own must be quoted and cited properly. If you are really not sure, please ask your faculty or staff at the Writing Center for help. Pay careful attention to citation rules, they are absolutely important in order to avoid a charge of plagiarism.

I do not like to write such a stern message on the cusp of spring. However, paying attention to this warning now will save you and me and all of us a lot of heartache in the future. I want to greet every student on graduation day and hand you your diploma with pride. Please do not do anything that would prevent you from experiencing the joy of that moment.

Please let me know if you have ideas about how we can ensure that all students really understand how to live well within Trinity’s community of honor.

Best wishes,

President Patricia McGuire

Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email:



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