Information for Undergraduate Students

Duke University undergraduates have a long history of leadership in the area of academic integrity at Duke University. The Honor Council, a longstanding organization at Duke, is a student-run educational and advocacy group, with members represented on the umbrella organization, the Academic Integrity Council. It helped to create the honor code signing ceremony at Duke, after first year Convocation. The Undergraduate Conduct Board, also composed of undergraduates, is in charge of running the hearing panels in cases of disciplinary infractions; it, too, is represented on the Academic Integrity Council. Any member of the Honor Council, the Undergraduate Conduct Board, or the Academic Integrity Council is available to serve as a resource for undergraduates with questions about integrity.

Duke undergraduates are subject to the honor code we call the Duke Community Standard. Created in 2002, inaugurated in 2003, and revised in 2007, the DCS serves as a guide to ethical behavior. It is followed by a pledge that commits all undergraduates to the highest personal and community standards of conduct.

The Duke Community Standard is an aspirational set of principles. From these principles flow policies. Duke undergraduates are subject to the policies set forth in the Duke Community Standard in Practice: A Guide for Undergraduates. The Academic Integrity Council works closely with the Office of Judicial Affairs and other units and organizations on campus to review and recommend policies as appropriate.

A new version of the Duke Community Standard was approved by the undergraduate body via a referendum on April 3rd, 2007 and will take effect in the fall of 2007. The principles articulated in the new Standard are both aspirational and nuanced. That is, it is easier to say what is not meant by any one of them than what is intended. Respect, for example, may involve observing the inherent dignity of all people but it does not imply insistence on blanket deference to authority. Honesty may involve accuracy and truth but in some situations it may be morally acceptable, even preferable, to lie. Fairness cannot simply signify treating others free from bias because we are all biased in one way or another. Accountability captures the responsibility we take on, to ourselves and others, for our actions; how far we extend that accountability to the community as a whole, and in what ways we choose to express it, may prove more difficult to determine.

Perhaps the most important aspect of this or any other honor code is that it prompts reflection on these principles, values, and expectations, leading to decisions based on thought.

The obligation to act empowers students to take an active role in promoting integrity. It is not an obligation to report on peers. Rather, it expresses the responsibility for doing something if dishonorable behavior is encountered. That "something" can take various forms, and thus a student can choose an action with which he or she feels comfortable.

One of the policies revised as a result of collaboration among various organizations is the policy on short-term illness. This policy was instituted as a result of joint efforts by the Honor Council, the Academic Integrity Council, and students in a Public Policy course.

Undergraduates seeking assistance with integrity questions or concerns may also find valuable resources in the interactive plagiarism tutorial as well as the library's website on plagiarism.

All questions concerning Academic Integrity can be sent to