Trial Trends

The Year in Review (2017)

Each year since 2014 Honor Council has published data regarding trials run over the previous year along with historical contextual data.  We publish this in the spirit of transparency so that the community can understand and engage with the results of our process.

These data regard cases which Honor Council saw over the course of calendar year 2017 (Spring 2017, Summer 2017, and Fall 2017).

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this report please feel free to email

Structure of Report

  • Headlines: a selection of stand out data from the year
  • Cases Sent to Trial: number of cases received, cases dropped, and cases sent to trial
  • Trial Outcomes: statements of violation/non-violation, separation, and appeals to the President
  • Subject of Trials: plagiarism, exam misconduct, etc.
  • Department of Trials: from which academic department did cases come?


  • 55% of cases this year came from the Economics department, dramatically more than from any other department (see Department of Trials at the bottom)
  • While the last eight years do not show a pattern of declining separation, Honor Council has separated infrequently for the past three years (see Trial Outcomes)
  • In terms of number of cases, type of cases, subject of cases, and several other metrics 2017 was a very unremarkable year.

Cases Sent to Trial

When Honor Council receives statements about a potential violation of the Honor Code, it must decide how to proceed (either with a constitutional trial procedure or to drop it). When Honor Council drops a case it means it is not suspicious of a violation or feels the goals of a trial have already been met between the parties.

  • Cases Received 21
    • 20 Academic in nature
    • 1 Social in nature
  • Cases Dropped 1 (sent to trial by Council but dropped when the confronted party left the community)
  • Cases Sent to Trial
    • 20 Academic in nature (includes the case which had to be dropped)  (95.24%)
      • Historical average (2011-2016): 89.91%
    • 1 Social in nature  (4.76%)
      • Historical average: 4.59%

The number of cases received in 2017 is fairly typical among the last seven years, as can be seen in the chart below.  Council saw a very average number of cases this year.

Trial Outcomes

  • Statements of violation: 18  (90%)
    • Historical average: 89.29%
  • Statements of non-violation: 2  (10%)
    • Historical average: 10.71%
  • Cases recommending separation: 2  (10%)
    • Historical average: 21.57% (see chart below)
  • Appeals to the President: 3  (15%)
    • Historical average: 12.75%
  • In all three appeals from 2017 the President upheld Honor Council’s Decisions

Honor Council’s tendency to recommend separation has varied widely over the last eight years.  While there is not a clear declining pattern, Council has recommended separation infrequently for the past three years.

Subject of Trials

This year saw slightly more cases involving plagiarism than in past years.  This year 61% of cases related to plagiarism while the historical average is 48%.  This increase in plagiarism left other subjects comparatively low compared to historical trends.


  • Plagiarism: 11  (61.1%)
    • Historical average: 47.92%
  • Exam Misconduct: 3  (16.7%)
    • Historical average: 27.1%
  • Inappropriate Collaboration: 1  (5.6%)
    • Historical average: 11.5%
  • Social: 1 (5.6%)
    • Historical average: 9.4%

Department of Trials

This year 55% of cases came from the Economics department.

  • Economics: 11  (55%)
  • Mathematics: 4  (20%)
  • Computer Science: 2  (10%)
  • Anthropology: 1  (5%)
  • Physics: 1  (5%)
  • Political Science: 1  (5%)

This sharp rise in cases from the Economics department over the last two years has no precedent in the seven years for which we have records.  The Mathematics department continues to generally send a comparatively high volume of cases, but in the last two years Economics was afflicted with numbers far surpassing Mathematics.

The above chart includes each department which accounts for greater than 5% of all cases between 2011 and 2017

This report was compiled by Riley Wheaton (’20) Honor Council librarian