Student Resources

Types of Academic Misconduct

The University has established and defined nine (9) different types of academic misconduct.  Click here to see descriptions and examples of each type.

Tips to Avoid Being Accused of Academic Misconduct

Students are responsible for taking steps to avoice committing, or appearing to commit, academic misconduct.  Some foundational approaches students should consider include:

My instructor says I cheated.  What happens now?

With an accusation of academic misconduct an instructor sets in motion a sequence of events. This sequence includes an opportunity for students to see the information in their case file and accept or deny (through appeal) the allegation and possible sanction. 

When an instructor believes that a student has cheated, they have two options:

  • Refer the violation allegation directly to the Honor Council.

  • Handle it autonomously by meeting with the student and then reporting the violation and assigned sanction to the Galveston Aggie Honor System Office.

If a student has a prior report of an academic misconduct violation, it is automatically referred through the Honor Council when the instructor tries to submit the report in the online system. Most cases of academic misconduct are addressed autonomously by faculty members.

Honor Council Referral

If the allegation has been referred to the Honor Council, the accused student will be contacted by a case manager from the Galveston Aggie Honor System Office to set up a meeting to explain the details of the process. Generally, the first step will be an investigation. This will be followed by an Honor Council Hearing. Occasionally, the Honor Council Investigation Team will find that there is not enough evidence for the case to proceed to an Honor Council Hearing.

Autonomously Handled Allegations

If a faculty member chooses to handle a case autonomously, they may contact the accused student to discuss the case directly. The other option is that they may contact the Galveston Aggie Honor System Office to facilitate a discussion about the violation and sanctions. In either situation, students are entitled to meet with a Galveston Aggie Honor System Office case manager to discuss appeal options.

Q-Drops and Withdrawals

Accused students may not Q-drop or withdraw from a course with a pending allegation or finding of academic misconduct. If the paperwork has already gone through to Q-drop or withdraw from a class before an academic misconduct violation is reported, the course will be reinstated on the student’s transcript and designated grade sanctions applied.

Meeting with the Galveston Aggie Honor System Office Case Manager

The case manager will initiate contact by sending accused students an email to set up a time to meet once the violation report is received. This email will be sent to the Texas A&M University email account only.

When students meet with the case manager, options will be presented to the student. These options include the opportunity to agree with the violation and sanction or appeal the decision of the faculty member. The case manager will also be able to answer any questions about the sanction.

When to Contact Us

Some instructors, especially those with experience at other institutions, may be unfamiliar with Texas A&M University’s procedures for addressing academic misconduct. Instructors are required to report all violations of the Aggie Code of Honor to the Galveston Aggie Honor System Office to ensure that the process is properly followed. This requirement is intended to protect the rights of the student and the faculty member.

Who has to prove what?

The Galveston Aggie Honor System is based on a “preponderance of the information” standard. Said another way, the decision makers must believe that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.

Can I Appeal the Violation

A student can appeal a violation but basis of the appeal must fit one of the four specific categories below:

  • Substantial new evidence not available at the time of the original hearing: To consider new information, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original hearing.

  • A violation of due process rights: To determine whether the original hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and evidence presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the accused student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present rebuttal of allegations.

  • The sanction is not commensurate with the violation: To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate for the violation of the Honor System Rules which the student was found to have committed.

  • The finding of responsibility is inconsistent with the facts presented in the hearing: To determine whether the decision reached regarding the accused student was based on a preponderance of the evidence, that is, whether the facts in the case were sufficient to establish that a violation of the Honor System Rules occurred.

Click here to review information regarding the appeal process

How Does an Honor Council Investigation Work?

An Honor Council investigation is the process by which objective data and pertinent information are gathered and presented for evaluation by case investigators and the Galveston Aggie Honor System Office.  It is a meeting to gather information from instructors and students about an alleged violation.

An Honor Council investigation has several purposes:

  • Gather information from the alleged violator, the reporter, and any witnesses

  • Provide verification that there is a possibility that academic misconduct occurred, which is the threshold required for investigators to send the case to a hearing panel

  • Present a complete picture of the situation for a subsequent hearing panel

An Honor Council Investigation Team consists of 1 student and 1 faculty member from the Honor Council, who will interview individuals involved in the case. Usually this will just be the alleged violator and the instructor. Occasionally there will be others involved with a case, such as a witness, tutor, teaching assistant, or other members of a study group. Investigation Team members are not allowed to sit on the Hearing Panel for the same case.

Galveston Aggie Honor System Office case managers coordinate the scheduling of the investigations. To protect confidentiality and provide a private setting, the location for the meeting is determined by the Galveston Aggie Honor System Office. If this presents a problem for you, notify the case manager when providing your availability.

During the Meeting

While meeting with participants, the Investigation Team may ask questions as they take notes. This questioning is not meant to be a criticism or suggest a finding, but are tools to reach a full understanding of the circumstances surrounding the alleged violation. If reporters have not already provided copies of the course syllabus and other evidence of the violation to the AHSO Case Manager, it should be provided at the time of the investigation.

The Investigation Team should not express opinions or a hypothesis of what might have happened. Similarly, they cannot offer any predictions of what a Hearing Panel will decide.

Follow Up Notification

The Investigation Team will submit their report and recommendation on the need for an Honor Council hearing within 5 business days. The case manager will notify the accused student and reporter by email of the results of the investigation.

What Happens in an Honor Council Hearing

An Honor Council hearing is where your case is put before a panel of Honor Council members.  Click here to review the Honor Council adjudication process.

How Does the Remediation Course Work?

The Academic Integrity Remediation Program is required to remove Honor Violation Probation and is often assigned as an additional requirement with lesser sanctions as well. 

The Academic Integrity Remediation Program consists of four (4) modules that strive to provide students with education and resources for integrity, ethics, writing, research, and real world implications of ethical misconduct. Completion of the course is a requirement to be removed from Honor Violation Probation.

Students who are assigned this sanction will be notified by a case manager and will be given details of the program. 

How Can I Be an Honor Council Member?

The process of becoming an Honor Council Member varies depending on whether you are an undergraduate student, a graduate student, or a faculty member. The selection process for each is provided below.  The Honor Council will consist of two undergraduate students, one graduate student, and two faculty members from each degree-granting academic department. 

Undergraduate student Honor Council members are selected by the Graduate Student Association.  Graduate student Honor Council members are appointed by the Graduate Student Council. Faculty Honor Council members are selected by the department head of their respective department.

Members’ terms are two years, except for the initial appointments. To provide continuity, one-half of the initial positions in each category (undergraduate, graduate, faculty) shall be for one year, as determined by a lottery.  Terms begin at the end of the spring semester and end at the conclusion of the spring semester of the final year of the appointment.  Members may serve two consecutive terms.

Replacement of faculty members who resign or are removed is made by the Academic Department for the remaining portion of the unexpired term.  Replacement of student members who resign or are removed is made by the Student Government Association or Graduate Student Council.