Council Procedures

The following menu explains the Honor Council process in different steps. Please contact us at honorcouncil@fas.harvard.edu or by calling 617-384-7239 with any questions.

Concern Raised

The Honor Council process begins when a member of the community, whether faculty, staff, or student, brings forward a concern that the Honor Code and/or rules on academic integrity have been violated. When a concern is reported, the involved student is notified, and an initial meeting at the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct (OAISC) is scheduled.

Read more about how and when to raise a concern at the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct website.

Initial Meeting

After being notified that a concern has been raised, the student meets with a staff member of OAISC and, ordinarily, a Student Academic Integrity Fellow (SAIF) to discuss the concern and the Honor Council process. The student's Resident Dean of Freshmen (RDF) or Allston Burr Assistant Dean (ABAD) may be present at this meeting. During the meeting, the OAISC staff member will provide the student a letter detailing the concerns that gave rise to the inquiry, materials related to the concern, and explanations of the Honor Council's procedures and confidentiality expectations.

The student will work with his/her ABAD or RDF throughout the remainder of the process. In addition, the student may choose to work with a SAIF or Personal Adviser for additional support. For more information on working with SAIFs, Personal Advisers, and RDFs/ABADs, see Your Support.

Student Statement

After the initial meeting, the student will have the opportunity to respond to the issues raised in the initial concern and to provide context and information to broaden the Council's understanding of the circumstances. This written student statement is optional and ordinarily must be submitted to the Council within three days of the initial meeting. The student is provided suggested guidelines for composing a student statement during the initial meeting, and may receive support throughout the writing process from a SAIF/Personal Adviser and RDF/ABAD.

Honor Council Appearance

The student will be provided a chance to meet with a team of the Honor Council following the submission of a written statement or, if electing not to submit a response, the time afforded for such submission. Each team acts with the full authority of the Honor Council. The Appearance is an opportunity for the student to explain the situation from her/his perspective and to expand on the written statement. It is also an opportunity for members of the Council team to ask questions and engage with the student on the concerns that have been raised. Similar to the personal statement, this step of the process is optional, and the student may choose not to meet with a Council team.

If the student chooses to attend the Appearance, s/he will be accompanied by the ABAD/RDF and may invite the SAIF/Personal Adviser to attend, when applicable. Appearances are ordinarily scheduled on Monday afternoons.

Students are encouraged to meet with their ABAD/RDF and SAIF/Personal Adviser, when applicable, before the meeting to prepare for the Appearance by reviewing the Council's procedures and discussing potential issues or questions that may arise.

Response and Case Conclusion

Following the Appearance, the Council team will deliberate and vote on whether the student is responsible for a violation of the Honor Code or rules on academic integrity. If the student has decided not to appear before the Honor Council, the team will deliberate and vote based on the available materials relating to the student's case.

After the Council team has reached a decision (ordinarily the same day as the Appearance), the student will be notified of the Council's response by her/his ABAD/RDF. The student has the option to schedule a follow up meeting with the Secretary of the Honor Council and a Council member to discuss the Council's decision and response. 

For a list of the possible responses by the Honor Council, click here. For information about what happens after the conclusion of a case, click here.

A full text version of the Council's procedures is available here. For a visual representation of the Honor Council process, see the Process Flowchart