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Reporting a Violation

If You Suspect a Violation by a Graduate Student:

  • Send an email to the Graduate Honor Council (GHC) gradhonor@rice.edu with any questions you may have about this process. Attach any relevant tests, papers, and any other material evidence you may have at the time. It is also helpful if you save copies of all the tests in a class for statistical comparisons. Any email sent to the GHC’s address above will be received by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and you should receive an acknowledgement in one business day.  Research misconduct violations may be directly reported directly to the University’s RIO, the Vice Provost for Research, as per Rice University Policy No. 324.
  • Especially in upper level science classes, it is important that the accuser present a detailed explanation of the suspected violation to insure knowledgeable decisions from GHC members not familiar with the relevant field of study. During a hearing we may also call another professor as an additional expert witness to give the council more information about difficult subject material.
  • If you are responsible for determining an accused student’s grade before the GHC has reached a decision, we request that you determine the grade as if there were no suspected violation. If the GHC determines that a violation did in fact occur, the Council may recommend a grade change to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, who will review our decision and enact any changes at that time.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of the accused. Do not tell the accused about the suspected violation; the accused will be notified by the Graduate Honor Council after we receive the letter of accusation.
  • The Chair of the GHC will inform you of the status of the case after the investigation into the matter.
  • You may be called as a witness if the case progresses to a hearing. Both the accused and the GHC will be allowed to ask you questions about the suspected violation. The presence of the accuser is usually only required for about half an hour.

If you have any further questions about the Honor System in general or about the progress of your case, do not hesitate to contact the Graduate Honor Council at gradhonor@rice.edu.

After an Allegation

  • After an allegation is received, a triage committee, consisting of the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, or designee, and the Research Integrity Officer (RIO), or designee, shall determine what the type of honor code violation is described in the allegation. A violation of the honor code can be classified as either a coursework violation, research misconduct, or advanced degree requirement violation. This classification shall determine how the case is handled.
    • Coursework Violations: The GHC shall preside over all allegations involving coursework violations, including all instances in which a graduate student knew of a violation of the honor code and did not report such violation as required under the honor code, and instances in which a graduate student knowingly made a false accusation.  Examples of coursework violations are cheating on homework, exams, or other assignments submitted for course credit, and plagiarizing on written assignments that are not intended for publication. Coursework excludes thesis, dissertation, and research .
    • Research Misconduct: The RIO shall handle all cases involving research misconduct whether or not it occurs in a specific course. Examples of research misconduct include falsifying or fabricating data, false citation, and plagiarism in documents intended for publication.  All of these forms of research misconduct fall under RIO jurisdiction. Plagiarism in documents submitted for course credit, but not intended for publication falls under the jurisdiction of GHC.  Research misconduct violations may be directly reported directly to the University’s RIO, the Vice Provost for Research, as per Rice University Policy No. 324.
    • Advanced Degree Requirement Violation: The chair of the department in which the accused graduate student is enrolled shall oversee any case that involves a violation of advanced degree requirements, such as language exams, thesis proposals, and qualifying exams. This category does not include coursework violations or research.

A diagram of the Honor System can be found here.