The Aggie Honor Code was created to unite the students of Texas A&M University with a high code of ethics and personal dignity. It can be found on exams, syllabi and posted around campus, reminding students to maintain integrity in the things that they do.
Once someone reports breaches in the Aggie Honor Code, the Aggie Honor System Office has two separate processes for addressing the reports. One of these processes is autonomous, meaning the student and faculty involved directly communicate and come to a mutual decision. The second process is facilitated by the Aggie Honor Council, offering both an investigation and a hearing before a conclusion is reached.
Breaking the Aggie Honor Code can result in a variety of different punishments, varying from a failing grade to expulsion, depending on the severity of the case. Timothy Powers, director of the Aggie Honor System Office, said the Honor Council assigns reprimands situationally and that the university built the system with flexibility.
“When our office was created, the University created two guidelines for us, from a sanctioning standpoint, and that reads that the usual sanction for a first offense is an F* [failure due to academic dishonesty],” Powers said. “And it says the usual sanction for a second offense is some kind of suspension or expulsion from the University.”
Though an offense for breaking the Honor Code could result in being kicked out, each penalty has modifiers that can reduce the sanction. Three years ago, Powers and his team used student feedback to rework the way the Aggie Honor System Office process reports, prioritizing the involvement of the accused student.
“Before, the faculty member could raise an allegation and try to get a response from the student,” Powers said. “But if the student didn’t check their email or chose not to engage, we would just take that and run with it. But now, we are much more intentional about doing very little before we get to the students, and we do a lot of outreach to make sure students are involved.”
Honor Council member and business senior Josh Mathew said the Aggie Honor System doesn’t seek to harm the futures of students, but allows them to learn from their mistakes and grow in character.
“We are here to help the student body,” Mathew said. “We are more rehab than we are punishment. We still want you to succeed. Something we always ask is ‘What are your goals?’ ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ We try to punish appropriately, with respect to what you want to get because we don’t want to prevent your dreams from coming true.”
Computer science sophomore Samuel Mahan said the Aggie Honor Code has significance, which it draws from the emphasis on honor and tradition at A&M. Students should maintain academic integrity to prevent encounters with the Aggie Honor System Office and to uphold the Aggie Core Values.
“I think those [the Aggie Honor Code] are actually values we keep pretty close to our hearts,” Mahan said. “Just as an Aggie, those are some things that you want, those are some of the Core Values. That’s something we identify as, it’s part of the school.”
For more information on joining the Aggie Honor Council and upcoming events put on by the Aggie Honor System Office, visit www.aggiehonor.tamu.edu/.