Report shows increase in honor principle cases

by Priya Ramaiah | 11/4/14 8:33pm

The Committee on Standards adjudicated 63 cases in 2013-14, 57 percent of which comprised alleged honor principle violations, according to a report released yesterday.

Of the 36 honor principle cases, nearly three-quarters involved plagiarism or cheating, and 17 percent involved unauthorized collaboration, according to the COS and Organizational Adjudication Committee 2013-14 annual report.

The COS hearings resulted in 35 suspensions, the longest of which was six terms, 13 probations and three separations from the College. Seven hearings resulted in students being found not responsible, while four received warnings and one a reprimand. There were 25 cases of organizational misconduct in 2013-14, 17 of which were by fraternities, seven by sororities and one by a non-Greek organization. The most common organizational violation involved the College’s alcohol policy, including serving alcohol to underage students or insufficient oversight of alcohol service.

Beta Alpha Omega and Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternities admitted to conduct by their members that violated the College’s hazing policy, reaching a “Fresh Start” agreement with the College to conduct internal and external reviews of how they treat new members.

The judicial affairs office also saw an increase in the number of sexual misconduct reports, with 17 people reporting sexual misconduct involving undergraduates, compared to an average of three sexual misconduct cases heard by COS per year for the past 11 years.

The rise in sexual assault reporting echoes data released Oct. 1 in the 2013 Security and Fire Safety Report. The numbers in the two reports, however, do not necessarily match. The Security and Fire Safety Report — which Safety and Security releases annually in accordance with Clery Act requirements — covers the calendar year, not the academic year and encompasses different geographic areas. Some reported incidents match Dartmouth’s definition of sexual misconduct but not the Clery definition of a sex offense, such as online threats.

The data is not counted in the COS report if the reporting person asks for the case not to be referred to judicial affairs after making a report to a Clery-defined campus security officer, such as an undergraduate advisor, undergraduate dean or athletic coach.

Of the sexual misconduct reports that judicial affairs receives, incidents that happened on or after June 18, 2014, will be referred to independent investigators, per the new policy. No one has yet undergone the external investigator process for sexual assault reports, judicial affairs director Leigh Remy said. The COS will adjudicate reports of sexual misconduct that occurred before June 17, 2014.

The report also covers hearings conducted by judicial affairs administrators in response to misconduct allegations for which the accused student would not be eligible for suspension. Judicial affairs responded to 477 reports of undergraduate misconduct, some of which included multiple allegations, including 345 alcohol policy violations, 56 instances of disorderly conduct and 50 instances of other drugs.

The Good Samaritan policy applied to 94 students, while 147 students, following a first violation of Dartmouth’s alcohol policy, participated in alcohol education.

“You can trace a theme through this,” Remy said. “Alcohol plays a role in people’s decisions. The concern comes from what flows from alcohol use, not alcohol use itself.”

This is the first year that the COS and OAC report will be available to families and alumni, Remy said. She added that she hopes the report will spur campus dialogue around the violations it addresses.

“I hope this report strikes the right balance between protecting individual privacy and engaging the community in these issues,” Remy said.

Computer science department chair Thomas Cormen said all professors in the department bring academic honor principle violations to him, though he believed such violations happened less frequently last year.

Computer science professor Hany Farid wrote in an email that given the relatively few number of cases of academic honor violations, it is difficult to conclude that the number of cases is on the rise. Farid added that during his past introductory computer science class offerings, which totaled over 600 students, he has had only one incident go to COS.

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