President: Beau Creson Vice President: Lauren Phillips Secretary: Matthew Ewers Faculty Advisor: Don Welch
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Under the VULS Honor Code, the academic conduct of the students at Vanderbilt University Law School is regulated by the students. The Honor Council is elected from the student body and helps the student body resolve academic discipline issues.
“The purpose of this Honor Code is to promote and secure academic, extracurricular, and professional opportunities in an atmosphere of dignity and trust for each student in Vanderbilt University Law School. As with the American Bar Association’s Code of Professional Responsibility, the keystone of our system is self regulation, which requires the cooperation of each member of the Law School community. All Law School endeavors should be undertaken within the spirit and the letter of the Code.
- Preamble to the Vanderbilt University Law School Honor Code
For more on our Honor Code and Honor Council, read the VULS Honor Code or speak with a representative. Our office is located in Law School room 156.
- The Law School Honor Code (.pdf)
- The Law School Honor Code Procedures (.pdf)
- Introduction to Plagiarism and Academic Integrity in the Law School Setting (.pdf)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Submit Your Own Question Anonymously (further instructions provided therein)
Q: If I am formally charged with an Honor Code violation will I have the full protection of legal counsel at Honor Council proceedings?
A. No. The Honor Code does not provide for formal legal representation at Honor Council proceedings. Students are allowed to retain outside legal counsel but such an attorney is not allowed to be present at proceedings or to speak for the accused. Students facing formal charges are given the opportunity to choose an “Advisor” from the student body. Upon request, the Honor Council President will appoint an Honor Council member so serve as advisor. Article IV of the Code lists the sanctions a Trial Panel may impose, and the Honor Council Procedures provide a detailed outline of how allegations are handled from beginning to end.
Q: Can hearsay evidence be used against me at Honor Council proceedings?
A. Yes. The Honor Code does not restrict the use of hearsay in Honor Council proceedings. The jury would be instructed, however, to consider the hearsay nature of the evidence in determining its credibility.
Q: My Torts exam is in a week and I am not sure if it is open book, closed book or a take home. Can I bring my E&E? What is the best way to figure out the rules? What if I am no longer able to contact my Professor?
A. The best way to determine the official rules for an exam is to contact your professor directly. Email and office hours are a great way to both get to know your teachers and figure out the rules for an exam. If exam season is in full swing and students are no longer able to contact professors directly, contact the registrar’s office for clarification of the exam rules. If they do not know the answer to your question, they can discuss the issue with the appropriate faculty member.
Q: What exactly happens when you have to go before the Honor Council?
A. Students can be asked to come before the Honor Council under various circumstances. If a member of the law school community accuses a student of an Honor Code violation, the Accused student will be notified, and an investigation will ensue. There are several preliminary proceedings that take place before an Accused student is placed on Trial for violating the Honor Code and possibly subjected to Sanctions. Please refer to Article V of the Honor Code for a complete discussion of the Trial Procedures. Students may also be asked to cooperate in Honor Council proceedings as witnesses to a potential violation.
Q: What are common Honor Code violations?
A. The Honor Code is fairly expansive and can cover a broad range of activities. All students should be familiar with Article III of the Honor Code, which gives a non-exclusive list of violations. Usually, Honor Code violations fall under Plagiarism, Unauthorized Collaboration or Unauthorized Materials.
Q: Who do I talk to if I think I accidentally violated the honor code? Or if I think a friend has violated it?
A. As members of the student body, we have an obligation to one another to ensure that we are all operating on a level playing field and that the highest scholastic standards are being upheld. What may initially appear as a minor violation may ultimately have a serious impact on a lot of people. If you feel that you or someone else has violated the Honor Code, you should bring it to the attention of an Honor Council member as soon as possible. The Honor Council is in the best position to move swiftly to ensure that any negative impact is minimized.
Q: Can people be brought before the Honor Council for non-class related infractions? DUIs? Drug charges?
A. While the majority of Honor Code violations involve class-related behavior, the Honor Code does cover other activities. For example, it is an Honor Code violation to knowingly mislead an employer, which could occur during on-campus interview season. Criminal offenses, such as those mentioned above, are not typically covered by the Honor Code. Refer to Article III for a non-exclusive list of Honor Code Violations.
Q: Is it an Honor Code violation to use someone else’s outline for finals?
A: It depends on the rules of you instructor. A professor may or may not allow you to use another person’s outline on an exam, and a violation of your instructor’s policy would be an Honor Code violation. You should clarify your instructor’s position with regard to outlines before the Exam Period begins.