Students are expected to conduct themselves in a way that is consistent with College policies and in a manner appropriate with the College's mission as an educational institution. The College Corporation retains authority over the granting of degrees and the disciplining of students at the College. In academic matters, mutual responsibility between instructors and students requires cooperation and trust in maintaining the details and spirit of an honor system. This insures that a high level of integrity and honesty will be maintained within the academic programs.

The following are the major violations of the Honor System:

  • Cheating: Copying others' works, collaborating with others without authorization, using crib notes or other unauthorized source materials during examinations, accessing and using others' computer files without authorization, and violating other specific regulation of the instructor.
  • Plagiarism: Intentionally or unintentionally using someone else's words, works, thoughts, or expression of ideas without giving proper credit. When a source is not cited, it is assumed that the words, works, thoughts, or ideas are the sole product of the author, i.e., the student. Plagiarism includes handing in as one's own work a paper on which a student has received extensive aid in substance and/or structure without acknowledging that help, as well as using one paper for more than one course without authorization to do so. Material used from outside readings, references, or the like, must be noted using footnotes, endnotes, or whatever notation devices are appropriate for the field of study. Direct quotations must be differentiated from text using quotation marks or by indenting or single spacing.

Other violations to the Honor System include:

  • Misusing library and technology resources (including computer hardware and software), e.g., mutilating, stealing, deliberately misshelving, concealing or defacing, as in marking, underlining, highlighting, as well as unauthorized reconfiguration of software programs.
  • Illegally duplicating software or violating software licensing agreements. Software license agreements prevent the duplication of any software application which an individual does not personally own. This excludes public domain software (shareware or freeware).
  • Violating copyright law (Title 17, United States Code, Section 101, et seq.). Students should pay particular attention to section 107 which allows photocopying of copyrighted materials under the guidelines of "fair use" and to section 108, which describes some of the photocopying regulations in academic libraries. (View the Simmons College copyright policy.)


By enrolling in Simmons College, each student pledges to uphold the honor system by presenting work only of his or her own creation and to follow the Honor System, which supports this expectation. In addition, students are responsible for upholding the ethical professional standings of their programs. Students must try to ensure that others in the community also act honorably.

Instructors are responsible for defining and explaining the honor system at the beginning of each semester, and for explaining standards of conduct as they relate to cheating and plagiarism in that course, specifically: time limits, use of reference materials, and applicability of the honor system to special projects or cooperatively assigned student tasks. In addition, faculty are expected to provide those conditions and expectations for tests and papers that support personal student responsibility for upholding the honor system.


Any student violating the honor system is responsible for reporting himself or herself immediately to the course instructor. In addition, a student who observes another student violating the honor system is obliged to inform the student in violation to urge that student to report himself or herself to the faculty member. The observing student is encouraged to report the case to the program director if no action is taken by the offending student.

A faculty member suspecting a student of violating the honor system is encouraged to discuss the matter with the student. If the issue is not resolved at that level, the incident should be reported to the dean, who will attempt to resolve the situation in consultation with the instructor and the student.

Appeals Process

If the decision of the Dean does not resolve the issue of Honor System violations, the faculty as a whole serves as the appeal body. All such faculty decisions are confidential. Actions deemed appropriate by the voting faculty will be taken at this time.

Any student who has a case pending has the following placed on his or her transcript: "Honor Systems Case Pending." If the student is found not to be in violation of the Honor System, any notations regarding an Honor System violation is removed; the transcript of a student found in violation of the Honor System will not note a violation of the Honor System policy, unless the student is excluded from the College. In this case, the transcript will be noted as follows: "Excluded from the College."

When a case is referred to the faculty, the student in question is notified of the meeting. The student must be given an opportunity to examine and respond to the evidence before that meeting.

A violation is established by a preponderance of evidence and the faculty renders an appropriate remedy, which may include exclusion from the College. If any sanctions apply, they are effective immediately upon the decision of the faculty and notification is sent to the student and the instructor.

Voted by the Faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, May 19, 1988; amended, May 17, 1995; amended June 25, 2001.