Honor Council releases fall 2010 semester case verdicts

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February 17, 2011

10:46 PM

The College of William and Mary Honor Council released the outcomes of the 22 cases it heard during the fall 2010 semester Monday.

The Undergraduate Honor Council handled 19 of the cases, while three cases were handled by graduate or professional school Honor Councils.

The chief justice of each of the College’s six honor councils is obligated to compile and release information on cases handled during the previous semester. The information released is limited only to the charges, verdicts and sanctions to protect the privacy of those involved.

The Undergraduate Honor Council handed down 11 guilty verdicts in 19 cases last semester, one of which was overturned on appeal. Two cases ended in not guilty verdicts, charges were not filed in three cases, and two cases are still pending.

The 19 undergraduate cases included 11 counts of lying, 15 counts of cheating and three counts of stealing. The council found guilty verdicts in eight of the 11 lying counts, 11 of the 15 cheating counts and none of the stealing counts. One count of lying and one count of cheating are pending.

“It’s a little heavier [caseload] than we have usually,” Undergraduate Honor Council Chairman John Pothen ’11 said.

Among the guilty verdicts, two students were permanently dismissed from the College, two students were suspended, and seven students were placed on varying forms of probation. One of the suspensions was overturned on appeal. Both permanent dismissal sanctions occurred in cases with multiple charges of lying.
Pothen said that the number of dismissals handed down this semester is unusual and that a lying charge carries no more weight than cheating or stealing.

“It really depends on the specifics of the case,” Pothen said. “It really depends on the lie itself.”

Many sanctions included counseling referrals, appointments with the Dean of Students Office, sessions at the Writing Center, failing grades and anonymous letters of apology.

In previous semesters, the Undergraduate Honor Council faced a similar caseload and conviction rate. In spring and summer 2010 semesters, eight of 12 undergraduate cases ended in guilty verdicts. In the fall 2009 semester, 13 of 19 undergraduate cases ended in guilty verdicts, one of which was dismissed on appeal.

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