College Judicial System

Faculty members who wish to report a violation of the academic honor code, or who need advice in this area, should contact the Judicial Liaison, Professor Barry Maine. Students and other members of the community with concerns about academic honor code issues should also contact Prof. Maine.

Honor System

Wake Forest University upholds the ideals of honor and integrity. The Honor System is central to University life; its essence is a commitment by each person to do what is right and abide by community standards. Each student is pledged to be trustworthy in all matters, and a violation of that trust is an offense against the community as a whole. In the specific terms of the Honor Code, a student pledges in all phases of life not to cheat, plagiarize, engage in other forms of academic or social misconduct, deceive, or steal. The strength of the Honor System derives from the commitment of each and every student to uphold its ideals.

Components of the Judicial System

  1. The Honor and Ethics Council (HEC)
    The HEC hears cases of academic misconduct, usually plagiarism, cheating, or deception. There is a pool of ten students appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Vice President for Campus Life (following consultation with student government). There is also a pool of ten faculty members, appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Dean of the College. The Dean of the College is a permanent member of the HEC and serves as its presiding chair. The Dean will normally discharge this responsibility through a designate. For 2016-2017 that designate will be Associate Dean Tom Phillips. For a particular hearing, the Chair of the HEC (see below) appoints a panel of two students and two faculty members to serve with the presiding chair. So panels represent the community, with representation from students, faculty, and administration. All five persons are voting members.
  2. Board of Investigators and Advisors (BIA)
    The BIA consists of sixteen members, appointed by the Judicial Election Committee. Members have two functions: 1. To investigate academic cases and present them at an HEC hearing; 2. To advise accused students, in academic and non-academic cases. The BIA chooses two of its members to serve as co-chairs. The co-chairs will continue to perform the normal functions of a Board member but will have the following additional responsibilities: 1. In coordination with the Offices of the Deans, make assignments to individual members; 2. Supervise investigations to promote efficiency and thoroughness; 3. Assist other members in the discharge of their tasks; 4. Serve as a liaison for the Board to other parts of the judicial system. The Associate Dean of Student Conduct serves as advisor to the BIA.
  3. Judicial Liaison
    The Judicial Liaison provides advice, substantive and procedural, to faculty members (and others) who are dealing with academic honor code issues. The Liaison also receives allegations of academic misconduct on behalf of the Dean of the College and manages cases prior to the actual hearing. The Liaison may be a member of the Dean’s Office or a member of the faculty. Prof. Barry Maine of the English Department is the current Judicial Liaison.
  4. Office of the Dean of Student Services
    Concerning non-academic cases: Cases involving felonies go in the first instance to the Vice President for Campus Life and/or Dean of Students. Cases of sexual misconduct are handled by the Title IX Office – Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board. Organizational misconduct is handled by the Office of the Dean of Student Services – Student Conduct. All other types of non-academic misconduct (including alcohol offenses) are heard by the Office of the Dean of Student Services – Student Conduct. The Associate Dean of Student Conduct is regularly the hearing officer. In some non-academic cases the hearing officer may choose to be assisted by a panel. BIA members may be involved in some of these cases, to provide representation.
  5. The Judicial Council
    The Judicial Council was established by the Trustees with a twofold purpose: 1. To establish and direct the undergraduate judicial system so as to insure justice and due process to all members of the undergraduate academic community. 2. To hear appeals on cases involving undergraduate students from the following bodies: the Honor and Ethics Council, interim hearing panels, the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board, and administrative hearings. The Council consists of six faculty members, two members of the administration, and two students. Professor Simone Caron of the Department of History serves as chair.

Case Path for Academic Cases

  1. Academic cases are usually submitted by a faculty member, though they can originate elsewhere. Faculty members have considerable discretion in dealing with what they believe to be academic misconduct. Some issues may be appropriately handled by the instructor without recourse to the judicial system. But in general faculty members are encouraged to submit serious matters to the system. Once the instructor becomes aware of a possible violation he/she has ten school days to make a formal submission. The instructor may consult with the Judicial Liaison during this time for advice on how (or even whether) to proceed.
  2. The instructor writes a letter to the Judicial Liaison, who acts on behalf of the Dean of the College in formally receiving allegations of academic misconduct by students. The letter provides details about the alleged violation.
  3. The Judicial Liaison does an initial review to determine whether the case is of a nature to be heard by the Honor and Ethics Council and whether the requisite materials are in hand.
  4. If it is determined that the case should proceed, the Judicial Liaison informs the accused student that he/she will be the subject of an investigation.
  5. The Judicial Liaison contacts the BIA co-chair and arranges for an investigation; a BIA advisor will be assigned. At least 24 hours must elapse between when the Judicial Liaison informs the accused student of the investigation and the beginning of the investigation (the accused, if he/she so wishes, may sign a waiver and allow the investigation to begin immediately).
  6. The BIA investigator conducts the investigation, under the supervision of the BIA co-chair, in a reasonable amount of time, writes a report, and submits the report to the Judicial Liaison.
  7. The Judicial Liaison determines whether the matter should proceed to a hearing.
  8. If it does, the Judicial Liaison issues formal charges to the accused and makes arrangements for a hearing; this includes selecting the four members who will serve with the Dean on the panel. No hearing will take place sooner than five school days after the student is formally notified of the charges.
  9. The hearing takes place.
  10. If there is a finding of responsible, the student has the right to request an appeal hearing before the Judicial Council. If the sanction is suspension (or higher), the request is automatically granted. If the sanction is less than suspension, the Judicial Council reviews the request and determines whether or not to grant the request. In making the request the appellant needs to persuade the Council that there is something problematic that needs review. There are four grounds for appeal: 1. The sufficiency of the evidence to support the decision of the hearing body; 2. The appropriateness of the sanction; 3. Germane new evidence; 4. Procedural error that significantly impacts the outcome.


Dr. Barry Maine
Department of English
P.O. Box 7387 – Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC 27106-7387