The University School of Jackson Honor Code

The Honor Code at University School of Jackson is predicated on the assumption that all students are honorable young men and women and have the right to be trusted. University School of Jackson students desire to learn in an atmosphere where honesty and integrity endure and is an integral part of their lives. In the Upper School, beginning each year, each student will recite the USJ Oath of Honor, thereby accepting his or her responsibility for this Honor Code:

  • A USJ student does not lie. Students will tell the truth and will not purposely mislead others.
  • A USJ student will not cheat. Students will ensure that the work they do is their own and that they will neither give nor receive unauthorized assistance in academic work.
  • A USJ student does not steal. Students will respect the property of others and will ensure school property remains protected and intact for their use.
  • Individually and collectively, USJ students will do all in their power to support the community of trust embodied in this code. Students will not condone dishonesty or the disregard of the Honor Code by other members of the USJ community.
This USJ Honor Code governs all USJ students on campus and at all school functions. Student conduct must conform to the following:

Lying: In any instance in which a student is asked a question, the student is expected to tell the truth. Deliberate verbal or written falsification is a form of lying and is, therefore, a violation of the code. Deliberately allowing a false assumption to be drawn also constitutes lying.

Stealing: Students will not steal. No student has the right to take or use anything which is not his or hers without the express consent of the owner. Thus, borrowing without permission may be considered stealing.

Cheating: Students will not give nor receive any unauthorized information in any form of schoolwork where credit is earned or lost.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a form of cheating and will not be tolerated under the Honor Code. Students must give authorial credit on all writing assignments for work that is not exclusively their own. A more detailed explanation of plagiarism can be found on page 29 of the USJ Upper School Handbook.

Computer Misuse: Honor violations involving misuse of technology may encompass some components of all of the above. Specifically, students may not electronically misrepresent who they are, send email that intentionally conceals their identity, or borrow documents from other students without permission.

Condoning: Students are expected to support the community of trust and integrity embodied in the Honor Code. A USJ student will not condone violations of this code by others.

Honor is vital to University School of Jackson.

The goal of the USJ Honor Code is that each student live as a responsible person—one whose word is a bond, whose work is always his or her own, and around whom the property of others is safe. Lying, cheating, and stealing have no place at University School of Jackson. In recognizing that honor can be learned, USJ uses an honor system to facilitate the Honor Code. The Honor Code is administered by the Honor Council, a body of class representatives elected by the students. Its duty is to present the concept of individual honor to all students and to uphold that concept through enforcement of the USJ Honor Code.

Important Questions about the Honor Code

What three specific offenses violate the spirit and purpose of the honor system?
Lying, cheating, or stealing.

If an offense occurs, whose responsibility is it to report such an offense?
It is the responsibility of every student and faculty member.

What is the difference between “tattling” and reporting an offense to the Speaker of the Honor Council?
“Tattling” is for some minor offense; it is done in bad spirit and is intended to harm the person reported. Reporting an honor system offense is a duty and responsibility and is necessary to maintain the spirit of honor and the integrity of the students and the school community.

Is it important to report an honor system offense?
Yes, it is vital to the atmosphere of our community of trust and honor that offenses be reported to the Honor Council.

What is the benefit to the student being reported? First, a student will be given an opportunity to clear himself if he has not violated the Honor Code. If a student has violated the Honor Code, a student may avoid future dishonorable acts if asked to admit to wrongdoing and accept the consequences of those actions.

How is the Honor Council chosen?
The Honor Council is elected by secret ballot and is composed of two representatives of each class and one Speaker; the Speaker must be a senior.

What are the duties of the Honor Council?
Duties of the council are primarily to investigate every incident reported and then to clear a student if he/she is found not to have violated the Honor Code or recommend appropriate procedure if the student has been found to have violated the Honor Code.

If a student is disciplined for an honor offense, is this fact made public?
Out of consideration for the student and his/her family, discipline procedures are not made public.

What is the wording of the pledge that may be put on written work?
My name affirms my honor.

Are quizzes, assignments and examination papers considered pledged if the above pledge is not specifically written on that paper?
Yes. All tests, quizzes, assignments, or examination papers are under the honor system and a name on such paper signifies that he or she has neither given nor received assistance.

Why write the pledge on papers?
The pledge serves to call attention to the Honor Code and reinforces an atmosphere of trust when a test or exam is taken.


Article I: Parliamentary Procedure

Section 1. All hearings, deliberations, and/or meetings of the Honor Council shall be conducted using parliamentary procedure. All questions of parliamentary procedure not covered in this constitution or by these bylaws shall be determined by a two-thirds vote of the Honor Council with the concurrence of faculty advisors.

Article II: Amendments/Addendums

Section 1. Any proposed amendments and/or addendums to this document shall be approved by a consensus of the Honor Council with the concurrence of faculty advisors.

Article III: Oaths

Section 1. Every incoming officer shall sign a Code of Conduct and take the following oath in the presence of the student body:

I will not lie, cheat, or steal. I will, in good conscience, act responsibly to promote cooperation with and respect for fellow Council members to ensure the integrity of this Honor Council. I understand that all proceedings are confidential and that it is necessary for my behavior to reflect a commitment to honor.

Section 2. Every witness and accused called in the course of an investigation shall take the following oath:

I do solemnly swear to tell the truth.

Article IV: Membership and Offices

Section 1. The Honor Council shall consist of nine members, two representatives from each grade level and one speaker from the senior class. All members must maintain a 3.5 GPA in order to remain on the council.

Offices of the Honor Council shall include, but are not limited to, a speaker pro-tem and a secretary. Freshman representatives are not eligible for council offices or appointments.

Section 2. The Speaker: The Speaker leads the meetings and is the chief correspondent between those involved in an investigation, the faculty, and the student body. With advisor approval, the Speaker shall appoint a Speaker Pro-tem who will, when necessary, assume the responsibilities of the Speaker. During deliberation and discipline procedure, the Speaker—or if applicable, the Speaker Pro-tem—votes only to break a tie.

Section 3. The Speaker Pro-tem: Duties of the Speaker Pro-tem/Vice-speaker include assisting the Speaker upon request and acting on the Speaker’s behalf in his/her absence.

Section 4. The Secretary: The position to the Council will be filled on a volunteer basis, changing every quarter. The Secretary to the Council will prepare correspondence, photocopy forms, and prepare semester reports for the Council and faculty.

Article V: Nominations and Elections

Section 1. Students interested in running for Honor Council representative/speaker must complete and submit an application to the faculty advisors verifying the following: a GPA of 3.5, teacher recommendations, and the student’s disciplinary record on file with the Dean of Students.

Section 2. No student who has been convicted of an Honor Council offense shall be eligible for election to the Honor Council.

Section 3. All elections are by secret ballot. The Speaker of the Honor Council is elected prior to the election of the council representatives. He/she then organizes and supervises elections of class representatives.

Elections for representatives from the rising sophomore, junior, and senior classes shall be held in the spring prior to the school year and after the SGA elections. Representatives from the freshman class shall be held during the month of September.

Section 4: The Speaker shall have a minimum of one year experience as a member of the Honor Council. In the event a council member, past or present, is unable to serve as speaker, this requirement shall be waived.

Article VI: Filling Vacancies

Section 1. A special election to fill vacancies created by the resignation or removal of a council member will be held within the two weeks following that vacancy.

Section 2. The Speaker of the Honor Council organizes and supervises such election.

Article VII: Memberships in or Relationships to Other Bodies

Section 1. The Honor Council and the Student Government Association (SGA) are two separate bodies. Class presidents and officers of the SGA are not eligible to serve as members of the Honor Council.

Section 2. The Speaker of the Honor Council is not eligible to serve as president of academic clubs or societies, but may serve in other capacities within those groups.

Article VIII: Hearing and Appeal Procedures

Section 1. Summoning the Accused

A. ALLEGED VIOLATION: When an alleged infraction of the Honor Code is reported, the teacher will report the incident to the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students will investigate the alleged to determine if there is a possible Honor Code violation and will meet with the student in question. Then, the Dean of Students will confer with the Speaker and faculty advisors who will help determine the credibility of the evidence.

B. NOTIFYING THE ACCUSED: If a hearing is warranted, the Dean of Students will notify the student that he or she will be referred to the Honor Council (and concurrently notify the parents/guardians, see Article VIII, Section 1, C); the student will be apprised of the necessity of a hearing and of his/her rights: to designate a faculty member of choice who will advise and assist him/her, to summon witnesses on his behalf, to produce evidence supporting his innocence, to ask pertinent questions during his hearing, and to inform his parents of the hearing. This notification process shall be done during school hours; phone calls or text messages to the accused for this purpose are prohibited.

C. NOTIFYING THE PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF THE ACCUSED: If a hearing is warranted, the Dean of Students or the Faculty Honor Council Advisors to the Council will inform the parents/guardians of the accused of the following: the nature of the alleged infraction, the rights of the accused, the date and time of the upcoming hearing, the process of the hearing, the process for appeal, and the procedures for recommending disciplinary action. The Dean and/or Faculty Honor Council Advisors must stipulate to the parents that only Honor Council Members, advisors, the accused, and witnesses are allowed to be present at formal hearings.

D. THE HEARING: A hearing date will be set within three school days after notifying the accused. The accused will