Honor Code

1. Purpose of the Honor Code

This Honor Code, written and maintained by the students of Olin College, exists to provide an ethical framework for the Olin student community. It represents an individual commitment by each Olin student to dedicate themselves self to these standards as well as a community commitment to ensure that these standards are upheld. This Code will serve always as a bold statement that ethics are not optional at Olin and that they are simultaneously an individual and community concern.

2. College jurisdiction

Olin College students are members of the college community as well as citizens of the Town of Needham and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As citizens, students are responsible to the community of which they are a part and the college neither substitutes for nor interferes with the regular legal processes. Students are also accountable for offenses against the academic community. Therefore, an action involving a student in a legal proceeding in a civil or criminal court does not free the student from responsibility for their conduct in a college proceeding. If a student is charged in both jurisdictions, the college will proceed with its internal review according to its own timetable. Also see Related Policies and Processes for articulation with Babson College, Wellesley College, and Brandeis University student judicial systems.

3. Honor Code values

3.1 Integrity

I will represent myself accurately and completely in my work, my words, and my actions in academic and in non-academic affairs.

3.2 Respect for others

I will be patient with and understanding of fellow community members, and considerate of their inherent dignity and personal property. I will care for community resources and facilities so others may effectively use them.

3.3 Passion for the welfare of Olin College

I will be a steward for the welfare of Olin College through a spirit of cooperation, concern for others, and responsibility for the reputation of Olin College.

3.4 Openness to change

I will be receptive to change, supportive of innovation, and willing to take risks for the benefit of the community.

3.5 Do something

I will strive to better myself and my community and take responsibility for my own behavior. When I become aware of a violation of the Honor Code or an issue within the community, I will take action towards resolution of the situation. I expect others to do the same.

4. Honor Code procedures

4.1 Procedural definitions

Honor Board: The Honor Board members consist of the Chair, Vice Chair, and 6 general members. There  must be at least one member from each class. Additional involvement includes a staff representative, a faculty representative, and an Adviser to the Honor Board.

Honor Board Leadership: The Honor Board Leadership consists of the Chair, Vice Chair, and the Adviser. The Chair does administrative tasks and works with the rest of the Honor Board to assist in hearing and administrative processes. The Vice Chair assists the Chair in their duties. The Chair is a voting member of the Student Government. The Adviser is the Dean of Student Affairs or their designee.

Hearing Panel: The Hearing Panel consists of four persons selected by the Facilitation Team and Chair and Vice Chair from the appropriately trained members of the Hearing Panel Pool. The Hearing Panel recommends sanctions and Dean of Student Affairs approves/modifies/waives sanction as they see fit. in responsibility hearings and sanction setting hearings.

Hearing Panel Pool: The Hearing Panel Pool is a set of enrolled students who have been trained in the Honor Board procedures and feel comfortable in their skills to hear a case that comes to the Board.

Facilitation Team: The Facilitation Team consists of the Adviser and two members of the Honor Board that facilitate report proceedings. Their goal is to ensure that proceedings are conducted in a responsible and timely manner per the Honor Code.

Moderator: A member of the Facilitation Team responsible for moderating discussions of all Hearings as the result of a Report.

Recorder: A member of the Facilitation Team responsible for recording the proceedings and discussion during a hearing.

Reporter: The person(s) filing the report.

Reported: The person(s) being accused of a violation of the Honor Code..

Report: A written notification of a violation of the Honor Code or college policies or procedures. May take the form of a “General” or “Streamlined Academic.”

General Report: Any report of a violation(s) of the Honor Code or college policies or procedures excluding reports of sexual misconduct (i.e. Title IX violation), which should  be submitted as a report to the Title IX Coordinator and/or relevant authorities. Please visit this link to report sexual misconduct (https://www.olin.edu/about/sexual-misconduct-title-ix) .

Streamlined Academic Report: Reports of an academic violation where a conclusion has been reached and is sent to the Honor Board for review.

Charge: The details of a violation and each individual aspect of the Honor Code or college policies or procedures addressed by a report.

Hearing: The process by  which the Reporter, Reported, Facilitation Team, Hearing Panel, and Adviser to the Honor Board meet to determine responsibility and set sanctions, if deemed appropriate.

Responsibility: Acceptance of one’s actions, refers to confirming the violations listed on a report.

Sanction: The consequence assigned to the Reported based upon a finding of responsibility and nature of the violation as determined by the Hearing Panel.

Witnesses/Advisers: Both the reporter and the reported can call witnesses and advisers to assist them throughout the hearing. Witnesses are people who have knowledge of the event and advisers are people who support the reporter or reported in the hearing.

Aggrieved Parties: The Facilitation Team can determine that there are one or more aggrieved parties, in addition to the reporter, who have been substantively aggrieved by the violation beyond any grievance suffered by the Olin community as a whole.

Appeals Board: This group is convened to review all information available pertaining to hearings and proceedings that have led to an Appeal. Their purpose is to ensure that such proceedings were conducted according to the established procedures as written in the Honor Code and, if it is determined that procedures were not followed accordingly, to send the case back to the Honor Board for further review.

Faculty Representative: A member of the faculty who attends Honor Board meetings and is a member of the Appeals Board.

Staff Representative: A member of the staff who attends Honor Board meetings and is a member of the Appeals Board.

Investigative Procedure: If deemed necessary by the Honor Board Leadership and/or the Facilitation Team, an Investigative Procedure may take place to determine the merit of a Report. All actions taken regarding a Report before a decision of merit are considered part of this procedure.

Merit: Whether or not a Report has substance that necessitates the need for a Hearing. It is not necessary to use an Investigative Procedure to determine merit and it is assumed that most Reports will have merit. This definition is simply meant to prevent abuse of the Honor Code procedures.

Hearing: All actions taken regarding a Report if and after the Honor Board Leadership and Facilitation Team has decided that it has merit.

Case: A General Report that has merit as determined by the Honor Board Leadership and Facilitation Team.

Quorum: 50% of the student body presently enrolled at Olin College..

4.2 Reporting and Hearing Procedures

Reporting Overview

There are several tracks that students or community members have when considering using the college as a means of adjudicating a violation of the Honor Code or related College policies. This Honor Code outlines the track that involves the Olin College Honor Board, a group of elected student representatives and appointed employees of the college responsible for facilitating adjudication of violation reports sent to them. Other tracks - direct facilitation and/or adjudication by the Office of Student Affairs, direct facilitation and/or adjudication by the Olin College Title IX Coordinator , civil or criminal courts, etc. are not bound to the same process as outlined herein.


In order to submit a report to the Honor Board for review, any Olin community member  can file a report form that is received by  the Chair, Vice Chair, and Adviser to the Honor Board. The details of the layout and content of the report form are subject to the determination of the current Honor Board. At minimum, the Report cites a violation of at least one of either the Honor Code Values or college policies or procedures. The Honor Board Leadership and Facilitation Team have the responsibility to view each report that is filed and make a decision of whether or not to proceed with the Case. The Chair and Vice Chair have the ability to dismiss a report if it is not under the jurisdiction of the Honor Code. If they do not dismiss it, normal procedures are followed.

Determining Merit

Upon receiving a report, the Honor Board Leadership will assign a Facilitation Team to it. If either the Honor Board Leadership or the Facilitation Team feels they are not able to clearly determine merit from the content of the report, the Facilitation team should conduct an Investigative Procedure. The purpose of this procedure is not to determine responsibility  but merely whether or not a Report is worthy . In absence of obvious lack of merit after an Investigative Procedure, all Reports should be assumed to have merit and be continued to a Case.

Investigative Procedure

If an Investigative Procedure is deemed necessary by either the Honor Board Leadership or the Facilitation Team, the Facilitation Team shall interview the Reported and the Reporter about the alleged violation and shall gather from both parties names of witnesses able to substantially contribute to the Facilitation Team’s understanding of the alleged violation. Members of the Facilitation Team may interview witnesses with substantive knowledge of the alleged violation. It is critical that the Facilitation Team conduct this process in a timely manner. In absence of obvious lack of merit after an efficient Investigative Procedure, all Reports should be assumed to have merit and be continued to a Case. If, in a Case that does not involve a potential academic violation of the Honor Code, all members of the Facilitation Team, as well as all Reporters, Reported, and involved Aggrieved Parties, agree that an alternate solution may resolve the issue presented by a report without requiring a hearing, then the Facilitation Team may recommend that the solution be attempted. The outcome of this attempt will then be taken into consideration when the Facilitation Team determines whether or not to refer the Case to the Honor Board.


During each Hearing one member of the Facilitation Team shall serve as moderator and the other shall serve as recorder. Neither the moderator nor the recorder shall have decision-making power. The Hearing Panel is formed as defined in Section 4.1. The faculty and/or staff representatives to the Honor Board may be present at hearings, though their presence is not required and they hold no decision-making power. If the Honor Board is unable to meet its obligations in a timely fashion due to scheduling conflicts, disqualifications, or other reasons that the Dean of Student Affairs determines may compromise its effectiveness, the Dean may appoint an ad hoc Facilitation Team.

Upon formation of the Hearing Panel the Facilitation Team will deliver the charges to the Reported and the Reported will be given the opportunity to accept or not accept Responsibility. If Responsibility is accepted, the Case will then proceed to a Sanction Setting Hearing. If Responsibility is not accepted the Case will proceed to a Responsibility Hearing. Absent extraordinary circumstances, a Hearing shall be held within sixty business days of a Report being submitted and ten business days from the date the Facilitation Team delivers the charges to the Reported. All Hearings will be closed to all persons other than the Facilitation Team, the Hearing Panel, the Adviser to the Honor Board, , Witnesses, Aggrieved Parties, the Reporter, the Reported, and their Advisers. Notice of the Hearing shall be delivered to the Aggrieved Parties, the Reporter, the Reported, and Witnesses either in person, or to the appropriate campus mailboxes, or to the appropriate e-mail accounts, at least two business days in advance of the hearing. Notice to the Reported shall include the charge(s) against the Reported.

Responsibility Hearing

Immediately prior to the Hearing, the Hearing Panel will receive the Report submitted by the Reported and will be briefed by the Facilitation Team. During the Hearing the Reported and the Reporter will both be given the opportunity to speak, if present, and the Hearing Panel will have the opportunity to ask questions of each. Decisions shall be based solely upon evidence and testimony introduced at the Hearing and the briefing provided by the Facilitation Team.

The Hearing Panel shall make one of the following decisions: (a) a finding of not responsible, (b) a finding of responsible (based on preponderance of the evidence), to be followed up by a Sanction Setting Hearing, or (c) continuance of the Case to obtain additional information or for further consideration. All decisions shall be made by consensus.

Sanction Setting Hearing

Prior to the recommendation of Sanction(s), the Reported may present one Character Witness. Advisers may serve as the Character Witness during a Sanction Setting Hearing.

The Hearing Panel may request and/or review recommendations for Sanction(s) from the Reported, the Aggrieved Parties, and the Reporter. The Reported may respond to the Hearing Panel’s recommended Sanction(s) prior to the close of the Hearing. The Dean of Student Affairs shall review sanctions recommended by the Hearing Panel. Decisions shall be based solely upon evidence and testimony introduced at the Hearing(s) and shall be made by consensus (i.e., unanimous vote of the voting members of the Hearing Panel who do not abstain from voting). The Hearing Panel shall include in the materials it submits to the Dean of Student Affairs a brief written summary of the Reported’s response, if given.


Requests for appeal may be made to the Dean of Affairs e on the following grounds:

  1. Procedural error;

  2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the Hearing that could change the outcome of the Hearing;

  3. Belief that the severity of the Sanction is inappropriate given the details of the Case.

Disagreement with the finding(s) or Sanction(s) is not, by itself, grounds for Appeal.

Upon conclusion of a Hearing and delivery of the outcome to the parties involved, the Reported and/or Reporter may appeal a finding of Responsibility or Sanction(s) by written statement to the Dean of the College within one business day. The Appeal letter must clearly state the grounds and rationale for the Appeal. Once received, the Dean of Student Affairs will convene an Appeals Board and notify the Reporter, Reported and Aggrieved Parties. The members of the Appeals Board will be the Faculty Representative to the Honor Board, the Staff Representative to the Honor Board, and a student member of the Honor Board determined by the Honor Board Leadership. None of the Appeals Board members will have been involved in the adjudication of the Case being appealed. The Dean of Student Affairs may appoint new members to the Appeals Board as needed or in the event of a conflict of interest. This may result in more than three voting members on the Appeals Board.

The Appeals Board will not substitute its own judgment for a finding of Responsibility or Sanction(s).

The Appeals Board may rule in one of three ways:

  1. They may recommend a new Hearing before a new Hearing Panel.

  2. They may recommend the Case go back to the original Hearing Panel for further review for reasons such as new evidence that was not available during the original Hearing.

  3. They may recommend that the Appeal be denied.

If the Appeal is denied, the Sanction(s) will be imposed and the college will consider the Case closed. The Appeals Board must inform the Dean of Student Affairs about the outcome of the Appeal deliberations within 10 business days of the written Appeal being received. The Dean of Student Affairs will notify, in writing, the Reporter, the Reported, and Aggrieved Parties of the outcome of the Appeal within 2 business days of receiving the outcome from the Appeals Board.

Barring any extraordinary circumstances, if a request for Appeal is filed, Sanction(s) resulting from the Case will typically be put on hiatus and not implemented until after the Appeal is resolved. If an emergency suspension or dismissal has been administered, the student must leave campus and remain off campus during the Appeal process.

Failure to Comply with Sanction(s)

If the student fails to comply with sanctions, the Honor Board Chair and Vice Chair will determine if a noncompliance hearing (which is handled by the Dean of Student Affairs) is needed or if the Dean of Student Affairs is granted authority to setup a separate process. 

Streamlined Academic Report

In the event that a faculty or staff member identifies a violation of academic integrity, the faculty or staff member and the Reported will work independently to develop an appropriate Sanction. A summary of the violation and resolution is submitted to the Honor Board Leadership for reviewing and recording.

5. Amendments


Within a month of the start of every academic year, a town hall must be called to ratify and/or amend the Honor Code for that academic year. 

Any member of the Olin student body may submit a proposal for an amendment to the Honor Code to the Honor Board Chair or Vice Chair. The proposal must include the reasons for the amendment and the proposed wording of the amendment, along with signatures of at least 10% of the student body.

Once the proposal has been brought to the Honor Board, a Town Hall Meeting must be called within the semester to discuss and vote on the proposed amendment. Multiple amendments may be considered at one Town Hall Meeting. The Town Hall Meeting is open to all of the Olin community, and all students are expected to make an effort to attend. Quorum (half of the student body) must be met to vote on any amendments.

At the close of the meeting, all present students will vote by secret ballot, once per amendment, with the option to vote for each proposed amendment or the unchanged Honor Code. If no choice receives the votes of more than 50% of the student body or 75% of the students voting at the meeting, whichever is smaller, or if quorum is not reached, the Code remains unchanged.

After all proposed amendments are voted upon, all present students will vote by secret ballot on whether or not to abolish the Honor Code. If neither choice receives the vote of more than 50% of the student body the Honor Code remains in effect.

If the Honor Code is abolished, policies drafted by the Student Affairs Office will take effect immediately. In order to reinstate the Honor Code, a proposal must be submitted to the Student Affairs Office, which will put the issue to a student vote, as per the policies of the Student Affairs Office.