Honor Code

Atkinson Honor Code FAQs

  1. What is the Atkinson School Honor Code?
  2. Does the Honor Code Replace Willamette University Policies Related to Conduct?
  3. What is Considered a Violation of the Honor Code?
  4. Who are the People Involved in an Honor Code Process
  5. What Should I Do If I Think A Student Violated the Honor Code?
  6. What Should I Do as a Faculty or Staff Member if I Think a Violation of the Honor Code has Occurred?
  7. What Should I Do if I am Suspected of an Honor Code Violation?
  8. What Should I Do if I Violated the Honor Code?
  9. What Should I Do to Avoid Violating the Honor Code?
  10. Does the Honor Council Oversee All Violations of the Honor Code?
  11. Will I Be Able to Bring an Advocate to an Honor Council Hearing?
  12. How Long Will Documentation of a Violation of the Honor Code Remain in the Student’s File?
  13. What Should I do if I Don't Agree with the Results of my Honor Council Hearing?
  14. How Can I Get More Information About the Honor Code?

1. What is the Atkinson School Honor Code?

“The Atkinson Graduate School of Management (Atkinson) develops ethically responsible managers and leaders through a culture honoring the highest standards of academic integrity, ethical conduct, and professionalism.  The Atkinson Honor Code sustains an environment of honor and trust in the Atkinson community.

Atkinson advocates for the values of Integrity, Human Dignity, Integration, and Excellence in fulfilling its mission of providing a premier management education for aspirants to management in the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors.  Atkinson’s adherence to Willamette University’s motto -- Non nobis solum nati sumus (Not unto ourselves alone are we born) -- exemplifies a commitment to its stakeholders and community.

Honesty and integrity are essential qualities to the practice and profession of management and ought to guide all individual members in fully developing his or her potential.  Atkinson’s distinct culture demands a community of members who accept individual responsibility and excellence, compassion, professional and personal integrity, teamwork, drive, and passion.

All members must therefore agree to abide by and promote the following standards of professionalism and excellence that constitute our Honor Code:

  • Not seek an unfair advantage over other members, including but not limited to giving or receiving unauthorized aid during completion of academic and professional requirements;
  • To honestly represent one’s self and facts at all times;
  • To respect the personal and property rights of all members of the Atkinson community; and
  • Uphold this Honor Code by fully cooperating with and protecting the privacy of the proceedings.

Atkinson members are expected to adhere to all policies and requirements of Willamette University and abide by all applicable laws and regulations.

Each member is responsible for his or her behavior in the academic and professional communities.  For members of the Atkinson community, any violation of this Honor Code should result in disciplinary action.

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2. Does the Honor Code Replace Willamette University Policies Related to Conduct?

The Atkinson School Honor Code specifically applies to issues of academic honesty and professional behavior of students enrolled in Atkinson School courses. The Honor Code is intended to create and sustain an environment of honor and trust, encourage each person to develop to his or her full potential, and promote a positive set of values and behaviors that distinguish members of the Atkinson School community in their personal and professional lives. The Honor Code also gives students an important role in resolving issues of academic honesty and professional behavior.

The Atkinson Honor Code supplements, but does not replace, Willamette University policies related to student conduct. Incidents of conduct involving interpersonal violence, harassment, sexual misconduct, discrimination, dating violence, domestic violence, threats of violence, theft, damage to property, weapons, illegal use or abuse of alcohol or drugs, failure to comply with the terms of any agreement or sanctions imposed in accordance with the Willamette University Student Rights & Responsibilities, will generally be processed through the Willamette University conduct process.

However, the Atkinson School reserves the right to perform a preliminary investigation and consult with the University's Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities to determine whether the process for any given situation will reside within the conduct procedures of the Atkinson School, the University, or both.

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3. What is Considered a Violation of the Honor Code?

Violations of the Honor Code may be violations of academic honesty or violations of professional behavior. A discussion of expected academic behaviors of Atkinson School students is available in the segment of the Student Handbook titled "Expectations of Academic and Professional Behavior."


Violations of Academic Honesty: Honor Code violations of academic honesty pertain to actions that occur within the realm of class deliverables, tests, team projects, presentations, papers, grading and attendance records, communication with the professor, and communication with other students. Academic violations of the Honor Code include but are not limited to: plagiarism, cheating, unauthorized possession or disposition of academic materials, and misrepresentation.

  • Plagiarism: "Plagiarism" is the improper use of another person's ideas or words without acknowledgment. Examples of plagiarism include: 1) failing to use quotation marks when quoting from a source; 2) failing to document the source of distinctive ideas, or 3) fabricating or inventing sources.
  • Cheating: “Cheating" is using unauthorized materials or giving or receiving unauthorized assistance during an examination or other academic exercise. Specific examples of cheating include: 1) collaborating with another student on a deliverable, test, or other academic work beyond the level designated for the assignment; 2) copying the work of another student or permitting another student to copy your work during an examination or other academic exercise; 3) taking an examination or completing an assignment for another student or allowing another student to take your examination or complete your assignment; and 4) possessing unauthorized notes, study sheets or other materials during an examination.
  • Unauthorized Possession or Disposition of Academic Materials: Includes: 1) taking, selling or purchasing examinations or other academic work; 2) taking another student's academic work without permission; 3) facilitating academic dishonesty; and 4) submitting the same paper for two different classes without specific authorization from the two faculty members
  • Misrepresentation: Includes but is not limited to: 1) lying to a faculty member in regard to a course; 2) falsifying information, records or document.

In the absence of a specific policy or regulation within the area of academic honesty, the Honor Code standards of excellence are the default Atkinson School policy. As such, students are expected to:

  • not seek an unfair advantage over other members, including but not limited to giving or receiving unauthorized aid during completion of academic and professional requirements;
  • honestly represent one’s self and facts at all times;
  • respect the personal and property rights of all members of the Atkinson community.

Violations of Professional Behavior: Honor Code violations of professional behavior pertain to a student’s conduct within the educational process, learning environment, use of University facilities and resources, group process and team responsibilities, student activities, school guests, client interactions, on-campus and off-campus events, internship supervisors, places of employment, career management activities, and communication with others, etc.

Professional behavior violations of the Honor Code include but are not limited to: actions related to seeking an unfair advantage over other members of a group or other groups; representing yourself or your group in a manner that does not communicate a truthful representation of the facts; showing disrespect for the personal rights or property rights of others, disrupting the educational process, and representing yourself in an unprofessional manner.

In the absence of a specific policy or regulation within the area of professional behavior, the Honor Code standards of excellence are the default Atkinson School policy. As such, students are expected to:

  • not seek an unfair advantage over other members, including but not limited to giving or receiving unauthorized aid during completion of academic and professional requirements;
  • honestly represent one’s self and facts at all times;
  • respect the personal and property rights of all members of the Atkinson community.

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4. Who are the People Involved in an Honor Code Process

The people involved in the Honor Code process are the Honor Code Officer, the Honor Code Council, the respondent, and the reporter.

Respondent: The respondent is the student accused of violating the Honor Code.

Reporter: The reporter is any person who speaks to the Honor Code Officer about their concerns that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred. The reporter could be a faculty member, staff member, a student, a client, an internship employer, or any other member of the Willamette community. 

Honor Code Officer: The Honor Code Officer will meet with any person who wishes to report an incident believed to be a violation of the Honor Code. The Honor Code Officer is a member of the full-time faculty or administrative staff who has been appointed by the Dean to serve for a period of three consecutive semesters: fall, spring and summer.

The Honor Code Officer is a neutral fact finder who is responsible for investigating reported violations of the Honor Code, working with the reporter and the respondent to determine a resolution, forwarding cases to the Honor Council and appeals to the Dean, communicating decisions to the reporter and respondent, and documenting Honor Code cases. 

The Honor Code Officer for the Early Career/Career Change program is Judy O'Neill, Associate Dean and Director of Admission.   The Honor Code Officer for the MBA for Professionals program is Alex Subert, Assistant Dean and Director of Admission.

Honor Councill: The Honor Council promotes a culture of honor at the Atkinson School, informs students about the Honor Code, and reports to the Atkinson School Student Affairs Committee. The Honor Council is composed of seven members: five students, who are voting members of the Council; one member of the full-time faculty who is an advisory non-voting member of the Council; and one member of the administrative staff who is an advisory non-voting member of the Council. Student members of the Honor Council are selected during the fall semester of each academic year. Advisory members (one member of the full-time faculty and one member of the administrative staff) are appointed by the Dean.

When an alleged violation is formally referred to the Honor Council via the Honor Code process, the council investigates the case, conducts the hearing of the case, and determines whether the respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating the Honor Code. If the respondent is found responsible for violating the Honor Code, the Council determines consequences commensurate with the incident. The Council seeks to make its decisions by consensus. When consensus is impossible, a majority vote determines the decision.

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5. What Should I Do If I Think A Student Violated the Honor Code?

All members of the Atkinson community should feel empowered to address Honor Code violations and potential Honor Code violations.

If the student has already violated the honor code, encourage the student to tell the professor or the Honor Code Officer.  The Honor Code Officer for the Early Career/Career Change program is Judy O'Neill, Associate Dean and Director of Admission.   The Honor Code Officer for the MBA for Professionals program is Alex Subert, Assistant Dean and Director of Admission.

If the student is considering violating the honor code, remind the student that they have other options. In all cases, it is better for a student to do their own work … even if they get a lower grade on a test or assignment … than to experience the personal, academic and professional consequences associated with violating the Honor Code. If you do not feel comfortable talking with the student, you should talk to the professor or the Honor Code Officer.

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6. What Should I Do as a Faculty or Staff Member if I Think a Violation of the Honor Code has Occurred?

If a faculty member, staff member, or any member of the community thinks a student or group of students violated the Honor Code, the person should meet with the Honor Code Officer within 20 working days of the incident to discuss the alleged violation and identify the student(s) involved. The Honor Code Officer for the Early Career/Career Change program is Judy O'Neill.  The Honor Code Officer  for the MBA for Professionals program is Alex Subert.

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7. What Should I Do if I am Suspected of an Honor Code Violation?

The best thing to do is to talk with the faculty member or administrator who is in charge of the class or activity related to the violation, or speak directly to the Honor Code Officer.

The Honor Code Officer for the Early Career/Career Change program is Judy O'Neill, Associate Dean and Director of Admission.   The Honor Code Officer for the MBA for Professionals program is Alex Subert, Assistant Dean and Director of Admission. Either way, it is always necessary to present your case honestly. 

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8. What Should I Do if I Violated the Honor Code?

The best thing to do is to talk with the faculty member or administrator who is in charge of the class or activity related to the violation, or speak directly to the Honor Code Officer.

The Honor Code Officer for the Early Career/Career Change program is Judy O'Neill, Associate Dean and Director of Admission.   The Honor Code Officer for the MBA for Professionals program is Alex Subert, Assistant Dean and Director of Admission. Either way, it is always necessary to present your case honestly. 

Faculty, administrators and the Honor Council are likely to consider the fact that you came forward on you own accord.

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9. What Should I Do to Avoid Violating the Honor Code?

Make sure you understand the Honor Code as well as the School's expectations of academic and professional behavior.  

Here are some tips to avoid violating the Honor Code 

  • Think Before You Act -- It is Never Necessary to Violate Academic Honesty. If you are tempted to violate the Honor Code, remember you always have other choices that do not violate the Honor Code. Don’t let short term issues like lack of sleep, feeling panicked about your course work, etc. cloud your thinking.   
  • Get Help! Use Your Resources. Graduate school is difficult and everyone needs help at one time or another. The Atkinson School and Willamette University have many people and services to help you manage the transitions you will experience during your MBA program.
  • Understand the Allowable Degree of Collaboration for Each Assignment. Be sure you understand the level of collaboration allowed for each deliverable, exam and project.  If you have a question or do not understand the level of collaboration allowed on a given assignment, check the syllabus and/or ask the professor for clarification.
  • Cite Your Sources. Atkinson students are required to submit only their original work, or the properly cited work of others. Whenever using the ideas, words, or work of another person, you must acknowledge the source. 
  • Prioritize Learning and Maintaining a Reputation of Integrity: It is always better to do your own work even if it means you will get a lower grade on a test or assignment than to experience the personal, academic and professional consequences associated with violating the Honor Code. 

If you in doubt regarding academic or professional expectations, talk to your professor or staff member.  And remember, there are always alternatives to violating the honor code. In the absence of a specific policy or regulation within the area of academic honesty or professional behavior, the Honor Code standards of excellence are the default Atkinson School policy. As such, you are expected to:

  • not seek an unfair advantage over other members, including but not limited to giving or receiving unauthorized aid during completion of academic and professional requirements;
  • honestly represent one’s self and facts at all times;
  • respect the personal and property rights of all members of the Atkinson community.

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10. Does the Honor Council Oversee All Violations of the Honor Code?

No. Cases are only referred to the Honor Council for a hearing when the Honor Code Officer, the reporter and respondent were not able to reach consensus in a more informal process. 

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11. Will I Be Able to Bring an Advocate to an Honor Council Hearing?

The respondent and the reporter may each bring one advocate at the hearing. Your advocate may talk to you, but the advocate may not talk to the Honor Council, speak for you, or present your case.

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12. How Long Will Documentation of a Violation of the Honor Code Remain in the Student’s File?

After a final decision has been made, the Honor Code Officer will document the student’s file. Documentation will be removed from the student’s file at graduation. 

If a student is suspended from the program and does not return to graduate from the MBA program, the documentation will remain as part of the student's file.  

If a student is dismissed from the program, the documentation will remain as part of the student's file.  

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13. What Should I do if I Don't Agree with the Results of my Honor Council Hearing?

You may accept the Honor Council’s decision or appeal the decision to the Dean by notifying the Honor Code Officer. The appeal must be received by the Honor Code Officer in writing (email or paper document) within five (5) working days of the day the reporter and respondent received notification of the decision of the Honor Council. An appeal to the Dean may only be based on:

  • significant new evidence not presented in the Honor Council hearing which was unknown to the person making the appeal at the time of the original hearing,
  • significant factual errors that have been rectified
  • significant demonstrated failure of the Atkinson School to follow its own processes and procedures,
  • a clearly excessive consequence,
  • misconduct on the part of the Honor Code Officer or Honor Council, or
  • evidence of bias on the part of the Honor Code Office or member of the Honor Council

If the Dean upholds the Honor Council’s decision, the decision is final. If the Dean sends comments back to the Honor Council, the Honor Council will meet within five (5) working days to review the comments. After review of the Dean's comments, the Honor Council shall reaffirm or alter its decision. At this point, the decision of the Honor Council is final.

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14. How Can I Get More Information About the Honor Code?

For more information about the Honor Code, contact the Honor Code Officer, a member of the Honor Code Council or the Student Affairs Committee, or visit the Honor Code section of the Student Handbook.

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