The Haverford College Honor Code
Article III of the Students’ Association Constitution
Section 3.01 Preamble
As Haverford students, we seek an environment in which members of a diverse community can live together, interact, and learn from one another in ways that protect both personal freedom and community standards. For our diverse community to prosper, we must embrace our differences and be mindful of our varied perspectives and backgrounds; this goal is only possible if students seek mutual understanding by means of respectful communication. The Honor Code holds us accountable for our words and actions, and guides us in resolving conflicts by engaging each other in dialogue.
Section 3.02 Introduction
Our adherence to this written expression of our shared values establishes an open environment of learning and growing through personal and community responsibility. Because we subscribe to these values, we commit as members of the Haverford community to follow the Honor Code.
We uphold the Code by engaging with the values upon which our community depends: mutual trust, concern, and respect for oneself, one another and the community. These values form the basis of the Honor Code, yet improve our community only if we incorporate them into our daily lives.
Section 3.03 Jurisdiction
The Honor Code applies to every aspect of student life at Haverford College, academic or social. All students at Haverford, including Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore and University of Pennsylvania students enrolled in Haverford courses, are obligated to adhere to the Code, and are under its jurisdiction while on this campus and while doing work for Haverford courses. Haverford students studying at other institutions are similarly compelled to conduct themselves in accordance with the Code.
Our community also includes the faculty, staff, and administration. For this reason, the student body asks that these members of the community work with us in the spirit of the Code.
Section 3.04 Responsibilities
As students, we are responsible for our own education and the integrity of our academic community. Our Academic Code fosters spaces of learning and curiosity. Exams are not proctored and may be take-home. Academic competition or comparing grades is generally discouraged. The upholding of these freedoms is a responsibility of the Haverford community.
In addition, we recognize the role faculty play in working to create learning environments and classroom settings which are inclusive and equitable to all students. We encourage all faculty and students to embrace a culture of empathy across their interactions at Haverford. Recognizing academic spaces as social spaces as well, Social Code expectations extend to classroom settings. Professors should be understanding and mindful of students in difficult situations, including those resulting from systems that marginalize individuals based on identities including but not limited to race, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, citizenship status, religion, national origin, accent, or dialect.
As students, we are responsible for proper conduct and integrity in all of our scholastic work in order to maintain the freedoms laid out in section 1(a). We must follow a professor’s instructions as to the completion of all academic work, and must ask for clarification if the instructions are not clear in order to avoid academic dishonesty.
Academic dishonesty includes acts of plagiarism, improper collaboration, and using more time and/or resources than allotted. A student commits an act of plagiarism as defined by the Faculty Handbook and the Academic Code Glossary by representing “another person’s ideas or scholarship” as that student’s own work. Students should not inappropriately give or receive aid when taking exams.
We expect that students take extreme care when they approach their academic coursework. In moments where they struggle with their academics due to extenuating circumstances, students should be in as much communication as possible with professors in order to avoid academic dishonesty. Faculty should also be open to dialogue with students in cases of suspected academic dishonesty. If, as a result of this dialogue, a consensus regarding Honor Council’s goals of education, restoration, and accountability can be met, reporting to Council is not necessary.
To avoid plagiarism, students are expected to properly cite all sources, including memorized and reproduced material, used in the preparation of written work, including examinations, unless otherwise instructed by the professor who assigned the work. These should be properly cited according to the standards of the discipline. Moreover, each student is responsible for learning and upholding exactly what each professor expects in terms of acknowledging sources of information on papers, exams, and assignments.
While we understand that historically students have been separated from the community as punishment for plagiarism, we discourage juries from considering separation from the community except in the most egregious, deliberate cases. Juries should primarily focus on the restoration of trust in their resolutions. Temporary separation removes students from academic resources that are available on campus. Therefore, separation should only be considered when it meets this goal of restoration, while taking into account both the severity of the violation and the student’s circumstances.
A Haverford College education depends upon academic freedom (as defined in Section III of the Faculty Handbook), and therefore encourages both respectful, open dialogue and free inquiry. We, as a Haverford community, strive to foster academic spaces that are inclusive for all students. We also recognize that the academic environment benefits from a willingness on the part of the community to lean into discomfort.
At the same time, we aim to create academic spaces that foster equity and are equally accessible to students across all aspects of identity as listed in section 1(a). In moments when acts on the part of students or faculty inhibit this goal, students and faculty should be open to dialogue in order to repair the classroom climate. We expect that this dialogue should take the form of a meaningful discussion aimed at mutual understanding.
A student who feels that a professor has not upheld the values expressed here is encouraged to share the concern with that professor and see if a mutual understanding can be achieved. If the student is not inclined to raise the issue with the professor, or if mutual understanding is not achieved, the student may bring the concern directly to the faculty member’s department chair, to the Provost, or to the Title IX Coordinator. They could also discuss the issue with an Honor Council mediator or a Community Outreach Multicultural Liaison (COML). Mediators and COMLs are required to uphold the confidentiality that is expected of them in all other cases. The purpose of meeting with the Honor Council mediator or COML would be to direct students to the appropriate resources to address the problems that have arisen, which could include talking to the faculty member, the relevant department or program chair, their Dean, the Provost, or the Title IX Coordinator.
If a student feels that there has been serious misconduct by a faculty member, the student should bring a complaint directly to the department chair, the Provost, and/or the Title IX Coordinator.
The foregoing guidelines regarding students’ pursuit of concerns with faculty should not be interpreted as a substitute for the College’s Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Relationship Violence policies or the related policies and procedures explained in the Faculty Handbook. All community members have rights and responsibilities under those policies and Title IX, and the principles described here are collateral to, but do not replace, those rights and responsibilities.
In the event of amendments to either the Academic or the Social Code, students, faculty, and staff should be made aware of the changes.
Plagiarism: A student commits an act of plagiarism as defined by the Faculty Handbook when they represent “another person’s ideas or scholarship” as that student’s own work.
Restoration: The process of repairing relationships between all parties (beyond the confronted and confronting parties) involved in an Honor Code related process.
Intentional vs Accidental Plagiarism: Intentional acts of plagiarism may include copying sections or whole works and taking credit for that work. Accidental plagiarism involves confusion over what plagiarism is, as well as lack of knowledge on proper citation. Extenuating and difficult circumstances can alter how these definitions are implemented in Code deliberations.
Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty includes acts of plagiarism, improper collaboration, and using more time and/or resources than allotted.
Academic Freedom: According to Section III of the Faculty Handbook, academic freedom is “the right [of students] to engage in discussion, to exchange thought and opinion, and to speak or write freely on any subject.” At the same time, students are still bound by the Social Code in all of their interactions at Haverford.
Rights of the Confronted Party: Confronted parties in academic trials are entitled to the rights laid out in Section 7.02 – f – vii (Universal Trial Procedures):
In the event of amendments to either the Academic or the Social Code, students, faculty, and staff should be made aware of the changes.
As a community, we understand that the Social Honor Code is a guide to conduct between ourselves and the rest of the Haverford community, both in academic and social spaces. We must consider how our words and actions, regardless of the medium, whether they be online or in person, may affect the sense of acceptance essential to an individual’s or group’s participation in the community. We recognize this is exceptionally pertinent when it comes to protecting students from marginalized backgrounds including, but not limited to, students of color, students with disabilities, queer and trans students, first-generation students, low-income students, survivors of sexual assault, and international students. With this in mind, we strive for equity among all Haverford Students.
Our community’s social relationships are based on mutual trust, concern and respect.
ITrust must be earned; once earned, it must be actively maintained. If broken, trust must be actively restored. For trust to be restored, a mutual understanding must be reached between the party whose trust was broken and the party who broke the trust on what steps must be taken to facilitate restoration. In order to maintain a community based in mutual trust, it is important that we act with our own and believe in others’ sincerity and good faith.
Concern as a lived community value centers compassion. Embodying concern in our interactions with one another involves taking others’ well-being into account when we act, offering help or support and intervening in their time of need, and acknowledging and recognizing their personal boundaries. Concern requires recognizing and reflecting on one’s own privileges as well as a practice of listening to others in order to understand them.
Respect entails a mutual regard for others, one that includes not only understanding but also welcoming their differences. It necessitates openly accepting others for who they are and affirming their place in the community. We should always engage in respect as far as recognizing our common humanity and inherent human dignity. Words or actions devoid of respect or concern do not merit the same respect that we otherwise bring to our interactions with one another. This respect can be restored to the community members in such instances as when they separate themselves from the community.
We associate the above aspects with the values of trust, concern, and respect, but these values’ applications to our roles as community members may go beyond these descriptions.
We recognize that trust, concern, and respect are active practices and require mindful, consistent commitment within individual and collective interaction for the betterment of our community.
Furthermore, we recognize that the values in this Code apply not only to how we act towards other students, but also to our relationships with staff, faculty, and guests of the college.
We strive to foster an environment that genuinely encourages expression of differing values in honest and open discussion. Understanding this, we must be cognizant and mindful of the particular privileges each of us holds when we act. We must consider how the social dynamics outside our community influence our open dialogue and actions towards others while recognizing the greater importance of impact over intent. Therefore, as a community, we recognize that this open dialogue is not always possible, and that the safety of marginalized students should be paramount. Thus, the Code requires discussion that is active, inclusive, responsible, and safe for all students given the omnipresent variables of power and privilege and the imbalances they create. We understand conduct that is not in line with these values inherently damages the community and thus violates the Code. Confronted students using the idea of ‘respect’ as grounds to silence and/or invalidate the experiences of harmed parties, including invalidating experiences of harm by claiming discrimination against a privileged identity (e.g., claims of reverse-racism), or refusing to reflect on their actions also violates the Code. We recognize that for parties harmed by acts of discrimination, microaggression, and harassment as defined below, their experiences of harm should not be silenced on the basis of the confronted party’s discomfort. Reckoning with privilege is a difficult process, and discomfort is a necessary element that cannot and should not be avoided. Using one’s political beliefs to justify disrespectful or discriminatory words or actions is also a violation of the Code.
In particular, we recognize that acts of discrimination, microaggression, and harassment, including, but not limited to, acts of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, tokenism, cultural insensitivity, discrimination based on citizenship status, discrimination based on religion, and discrimination based on national origin, accent, dialect, or usage of the English language are devoid of respect and therefore, by definition, violate this Code. Further, we commit to being actively anti-racist, not just passively “not racist.” As such, we commit to continually educating ourselves, holding others accountable, and practicing anti-racism in our daily lives. This includes, but is not limited to: rejecting anti-Blackness, recognizing white privilege, challenging structures of whiteness and white comfort, and crediting the work of BIPOC and especially women of color. This commitment should not be treated passively, as passivity condones white supremacy and the multitude of systems it creates.
We also recognize that a person’s political opinions are necessarily intertwined with their values and outlook, and thus influence their practices, which may violate the Honor Code. As such, students must be respectful of community standards when expressing political opinions. As the Social Honor Code applies to all of our interactions at Haverford, engagement in political discourse falls within its jurisdiction, and political beliefs may not be used to excuse behavior that violates the Code. If we find that our political beliefs perpetuate discrimination, we are obligated to re-evaluate them as we would any of our beliefs that perpetuate discrimination.
It is important, too, that we maintain respect for our shared spaces. It is our responsibility to clean up after ourselves in areas like the Dining Center and The Coop; to uphold respect by cleaning our own spaces and making the jobs of people working in Maintenance easier; and to respect others’ property and, in the event of damage to it, be honest with them. Post-move out rooms should be held to the same standard. This includes the total removal of non-College issued items from dormitories when moving out. It is also expected that students will comply with College regulations and resources1 a surrounding move out. Acts of disrespect against staff members and student workers are in violation of the Honor Code. Failure to comply with any of these move-out procedures is a disrespect to staff and therefore a violation of the Honor Code.
Upon encountering actions, values, or words that we find to be lacking trust, concern, and/or respect and that are thus degrading to ourselves and to others, we may initiate dialogue with the goal of repairing the damage that these actions, values, or words may have caused while also encouraging the restoration of our community values.
In these dialogues, confronted students weaponizing the Code’s expectation of respect in order to silence and/or invalidate the experiences of harmed parties—including invalidating experiences of harm by claiming discrimination against a privileged identity (e.g., claims of reverse-racism) or refusing to reflect on their actions—is a violation of the Code. Using one’s political beliefs to justify disrespectful or discriminatory words or actions is also a violation of the Code. We recognize that parties harmed by acts of discrimination, microaggressions, and harassment, as outlined above, should not be silenced on the basis of the confronted party’s discomfort. Reckoning with privilege is a difficult but necessary process. We should lean into discomfort rather than avoid it.
Section 3.05 Community Standards
As part of the Haverford community, we are obligated to reflect on our own actions as well as the actions of those around us in light of their effect on the community and confront others when their conduct disturbs us. We must also report our own breaches to Honor Council if it becomes clear through self-reflection or through expressions of concern by others that our academic or social conduct represents a violation of community standards. We are obligated to report ourselves even if doing so may result in a trial and the possibility of separation from the college.
Section 3.06 Confrontation
Confrontation, in the Haverford sense, refers to initiating a dialogue with a community member about a potential violation of the Honor Code with the goal of reaching a common understanding. It should be understood that achieving a common understanding does not necessarily mean reaching agreement.
Though face-to-face confrontation is beneficial and preferable in most circumstances, there may be times when it is infeasible and/or unsafe for a harmed party to directly interact with a party in need of confrontation. In these cases, the harmed party–which can include anyone present for a potential violation–may initiate dialogue through private, direct electronic media. Harmed parties are not required to confront their peers. If the best plan for their healing would not be to confront their peers, they should not do so. The systems below are exclusively intended for moments where harmed parties feel a need or desire for themselves or others to intervene. This only applies to social cases. In academic cases, parties must confront those in violation of the Code.
This process is a dialogue, in which the confronted party leans into discomfort and actively listens to acknowledge and understand the harm experienced by the confronting party in order to facilitate the restorative process. This process aims to restore any part of the confronting party’s trust in, respect for, and inclusion in the community that was lost due to the harm they experienced, as well as restore the confronted party to the community. The Code and confrontation with the intent for a trial are not to be used as a threatening device. To do so would go against the spirit of the Code and the goal of achieving mutual understanding.
Should a student feel safe enough to confront their peers, they are encouraged to do so.
However, the Code recognizes that for various reasons, students may not feel safe approaching their peers and confronting them. These include, but are not limited to, power imbalances, mental health concerns, privilege dynamics, and discomfort resulting from proximity. All such concerns are valid and should never be interpreted as being apathetic towards the situation or be grounds for confronted parties to refuse engaging in dialogue. Insofar as confrontation should be understood as a healing process that seeks to repair the breach in the harmed party’s experience of our community and its values and to restore the confronted party to the community, active bystanders ought to intervene in instances of breaches of the Code, barring cases where they feel unsafe doing so. Whether or not bystanders are present at the moment when the Code is breached, harmed parties also have the opportunity to solicit external assistance from their peers to serve as trusted advocates in the confrontation process. That is to say, the harmed party may turn to any other student, be they a trained student facilitator or not, and request that they serve as the confronting party in their place. If no active bystander is present and/or the harmed party does not choose to turn to a trusted advocate, a member of Honor Council, a Community Outreach Multicultural Liaison, or other trained student facilitator may also act on behalf of another student in an initial confrontation.
Active bystanders should not speak for others without their consent, but they may act on their own accord to initiate a confrontation on behalf of themselves rather than on behalf of harmed parties. They should not overpower the voices of harmed parties or speak on behalf of the harmed party.
In contrast to active bystanders, trusted advocates are peers informed of a breach in order for them to initiate a confrontation on behalf of a harmed party. Any student can serve as a trusted advocate, and in doing so, are expected to convey the harmed party’s intentions for the confrontation, but ultimately can likewise speak only for themselves. The harmed party and their trusted advocate should communicate to establish the trusted advocate’s type and level of involvement in the confrontation and subsequent processes.
Should a harmed party who turned to a trusted advocate feel comfortable (re)approaching the confronted party, they are encouraged to do so. However, in recognizing that harmed parties may feel uncomfortable and unsafe in situations with the confronted party, no interaction between the two is required. Instead, trusted advocates should first discuss with the harmed party what they feel would be an appropriate resolution. The trusted advocate should then initiate a dialogue with the confronted party in order to reach some form of mutual understanding and communal restoration. Dialogue need not end with a single exposure, nor should there be explicit time constraints on reaching mutual understanding. Rather, confrontation should take place in a timely fashion and should encourage the sustained conversation between all parties in order to ensure that, when possible, each feels that the results are truly satisfactory. The confronted party has an obligation to mindfully engage in confrontation.
As members of the Haverford Community, we are obligated to act as active bystanders when we witness a breach of the Social Code. As active bystanders, we cannot always expect to feel at ease when confronting another student. However, it is our responsibility as Haverford students to confront those who have violated the Code. It is therefore crucial that active bystanders step in and assist their peers.
Should an active bystander themselves not feel safe confronting another student, however, they are by no means required to do so. Instead, they are encouraged to acknowledge and validate the feelings of the harmed party. They should also assist the harmed party in finding a trusted advocate to confront on their behalf. Because violations of the Social Code often constitute a breach of trust with the community, it is crucial that students who feel safe and comfortable doing so lean into discomfort and become involved in the process of confrontation.
The goal of active bystanders is not to create a system of surveillance, but to create systems of support for students who have felt harmed by their peers. When we say that violations of the Honor Code are breaches of the community’s trust, we translate individual experiences into communal harm. In turn, we should expect the community to play an active role in the process of education and restoration, for the confronted party has been disrespectful, acted without concern, and broken trust. By fostering spaces for balancing the emotional labor that goes into confrontation with the emotional needs of harmed parties, the Code affirms its promotion of healing, education, and mutual reciprocity.
In the case of social concerns, conflicts can ideally be resolved through this initial stage of communication and dialogue. Honor Council should convene a trial only in situations where the trust of the community as a whole may have been violated or where confrontation has failed the confronting party in reaching trial goals, and only if the confronting party agrees to participate in a trial. However, we recognize that Honor Council, Customs team members, and the COMLs can serve instrumental roles as mediators in conversations surrounding the Honor Code. We therefore encourage students to seek outside help as they look to establish safe spaces and maintain dialogue.
An initial confrontation should also occur in the case of academic concerns. Academic violations of the Code cannot be resolved between two students alone because such violations also constitute a breach of trust with the community. Therefore, unless it is indisputable that an academic violation did not occur, the confronted student must report the situation to Honor Council or the appropriate faculty member.
Members of the faculty follow a similar procedure in cases of suspected academic violations. They first discuss the problem with the student. If, as a result of this dialogue, a consensus regarding Honor Council’s goals of education, restoration, and accountability can be met, reporting to Council is not necessary. However, if no consensus can be met the student should report themselves to Honor Council. If the student does not do so within one week, the faculty member reports the matter to Honor Council.
As confrontation is often a matter between two individuals or parties, it is important to exercise discretion and respect privacy accordingly when initiating a dialogue. In cases where a trusted advocate or other confronting party is solicited, or when an active bystander initiates a confrontation, students should still remain conscious of and respect as much of the privacy of the confronted party as possible. If a member of Honor Council, a COML, or another trained student facilitator is acting on behalf of another student in an initial confrontation, privacy of the confronted party should likewise be maintained.
Section 3.07 Upholding the Honor Code
- The Pledge
We realize that as part of the Haverford College community, our actions affect those around us. We understand that membership in the Haverford community is dependent on our commitment to the Honor Code, and we proclaim this by signing the Honor Pledge, which states:
“I hereby accept the Haverford Honor Code, realizing that it is my duty to uphold the Honor Code and the concepts of personal and collective responsibility upon which it is based.”
We all must sign the Honor Pledge prior to our admission or readmission to the college, and our withdrawal from this commitment will result in separation from the community.
- Honor Council
While the success of the Honor Code is dependent upon each of us actively engaging with the Code’s ideals, some administrative responsibilities must be carried out by a community body. In addition, we may sometimes be unable to resolve conflicts with others, or actions may occur which breach the trust of the community in a particularly serious way.
Honor Council’s task is to manage the administrative aspects of the Honor Code and to help resolve difficult situations and apparent violations of the community’s trust. Honor Council is charged with interpreting the sections of the Code that leave room for flexibility. It is, for example, Honor Council’s responsibility to decide if a situation warrants the convening of a trial or if it can be resolved through other means of dialogue and restoration.
Although Honor Council trials are not intended as punitive proceedings, there are repercussions for violating the Code. The goals of Honor Council proceedings are threefold: to hold any individual who violated the Code accountable, to educate the individuals involved, and to restore individuals who violated the Code to the Haverford community. Such proceedings should also take into account the needs of the community.
Honor Council is a self-regulating body; therefore, members are obligated to confront each other and the administration regarding errors and points of dissent with proper procedure in relation to the Honor Code and Council’s internal affairs, especially if they feel they are not fulfilling their community responsibilities or fully abiding by the Code. Honor Council members are responsible to the entire Haverford community to do so.
The Haverford community recognizes consensus as a valuable decision-making tool. For this reason, all decisions made by Honor Council, including those approving Council publications, are made by consensus. This method depends on reaching unity, requiring patience and open-mindedness.
It should be noted, however, that unity does not necessarily require unanimity. When discussion has reached a point when a proposed decision clearly has the support of the “weight of the group,” remaining dissenters may stand outside consensus in order to achieve unity. In Honor Council proceedings, there may be no more than two such dissenters. If the disagreement is fundamental and a matter of conscience, a dissenter may block consensus and discussion must continue with the object of finding a solution that is satisfactory to all.
As confrontation is often not a public matter, Honor Council cases will be kept in the strictest confidence. This allows individuals in the community to bring issues to Honor Council without fear of attaching a public stigma to parties involved. However, Honor Council must balance this need for confidentiality with the community’s right to be informed. One way of maintaining this balance is through pseudonymized abstracts of trial proceedings.
Section 3.08 Ratifying the Honor Code
At Spring Plenary, there must be a vote by two-thirds of those present in favor of opening ratification of the Code. If this occurs, the electronic ratification system will be open the fourth and fifth days following Spring Plenary.
If two-thirds of those assembled at Plenary do not vote to open ratification of the Honor Code, the Code fails the first round of ratification. To subsequently ratify the Code, students must create and circulate a petition requesting the convening of a Special Plenary to enable ratification to open. Forty percent of students must sign this petition conveying their desire for such a Special Plenary and pledging to attend.
During the ratification period, Honor Council will schedule eight hours each day of tabling to answer any questions and receive any criticism of the Honor Code which might arise. This council member will have a computer with network access which students may use to ratify the code. All students are strongly encouraged under the Honor Code to vote or to communicate to Honor Council reasons why they did not or could not.
Ratification ballots will have three options and a space for comments, suggestions, or criticisms. Filling in this space for comments will be required by the electronic ballot. The ballot will read as follows:
- A) I have thoughtfully considered my position on the Code and I vote for its ratification for the following reason(s):
- B) I have thoughtfully considered my position on the Code and I vote for its ratification, but I have the following objection(s):
- C) I have thoughtfully considered my position on the Code, and I do not vote for its ratification for the following reason(s):
If more than two-thirds of the student body chooses option “A” or “B”, the Honor Code is ratified. If less than two-thirds of the student body chooses option “A” or “B” but more than two-thirds of the student body votes, the Honor Code fails, and a Special Plenary will be scheduled to modify the Code in such a way as to enable a two-thirds majority to vote for ratification.
If less than two-thirds of the student body votes, the Honor Code fails. Students should strongly consider the wisdom of convening a Special Plenary. Such a Plenary would be convened only if forty percent of the student body signs a petition not only asking for the Plenary, but pledging to attend. At a Special Plenary, three-quarters of the student body would constitute quorum, and votes in favor of ratification by two-thirds of the student body would be required for ratification to occur.
Should the Honor Code fail ratification, the Haverford Community will continue to observe the Honor Code’s rules and guidelines for a transition period of 6 academic weeks after the vote. A Special Plenary can be organized at any time within that period to ratify an Honor Code. If no Honor Code is ratified within that transition period, the Code will cease to be in effect. Further Plenaries may still be convened to ratify an Honor Code.
Upon its ratification, we renew our commitment to the Honor Code and we pledge to uphold these ideals through the conduct of our daily lives.
This page was last modified Summer 2021 following Spring 2021 Plenary.