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How it Works

This page provides information on the MBA Honor Code Process Overview.

The Smeal College of Business Honor Code is an initiative started by Smeal students and continually improves through feedback and review.  Smeal graduate students are expected to adhere to the Honor Code to solidify a culture of integrity and safeguard its future growth.

The Process involves three major steps

A report is filed with the AI office

This report can come from a student, faculty, and/or staff member.  The report is reviewed by the AI Officer who determines if there is probable cause to send the case to investigation and notifies the student of the report that was filed.  The College AI Officer’s role is to facilitate the process, and is not to be a decision maker.   The AI Officer attends and facilitates investigations and review boards, ensures that the proceeding is handled according to guidelines, questioning is fair, and that all parties understand their roles and what is required of them.  If there is no probable cause to send the case to investigation, no further action is taken.

If the AI Officer finds that there is probable cause to move the case forward, the case will move to an Investigation Committee

One PhD student and one faculty member will be asked to serve on an Investigation Committee.  Students and faculty members who take part in this process are selected from the “Pool” of volunteers who have undergone training related to the AI process and investigating cases.  Their role is to question the student(s) involved and collect information pertinent to the suspected academic infraction.

In order to separate powers and maintain a system that is most fair to accused individuals, no member of the College Honor Committee or program AI committees may be Pool members. A separate individual will also be assigned to document the investigation.  An Investigation Committee renders one of the following three decisions – the student can be cleared and a report will be filed with the AI Officer; the Investigation Committee determines that the facts of the case merit passing it on to a Review Board; or, when egregious violations have occurred, the case can be referred to University Judicial Affairs (JA).

The case moves to the Review Stage

Two PhD students and one faculty member serve on a Review Board.  Their responsibility is to thoroughly review information provided by the Investigation Committee, ask additional questions regarding the initial report, and hear testimony from witnesses.

The individuals who serve on the Review Board cannot have been investigators of the case they are reviewing.  A Review Board renders one of the following decisions – the student is cleared and a report is filed with the AI Officer or a violation is confirmed by the Review Committee that will deliberate and impose a sanction.
All PhD Honor Code cases that proceed to an Investigation Committee and beyond are included in the Disclosure Notice that is released at the beginning of the ensuing semester. For the sake of student confidentiality, all identifying information is eliminated from Disclosure Notices.

It is important to note that the PhD Honor Code process does not involve accusatory proceedings.  The purpose of the process is to clarify and better understand the situation at hand.  Students under review should know that they are welcome to have an advocate present for them throughout the process and that the AI Officer and the Chair of the AI Committee are available to answer questions and assist in any way possible.  Additionally, students should rest assured that confidentiality is of the highest importance during and after the process.