It is the policy of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix (COM–P) that ethical behavior, professionalism and integrity are required of every student. The State, University and College-specific policies and statements listed below define these required behaviors and attitudes and allow for mechanisms whereby formal disciplinary actions may be taken.
Society entrusts the physician with vital responsibilities, including maintaining his or her patients’ health and preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. In accepting this trust, the medical profession expects its members to act honorably in all endeavors. Practicing physicians, faculty members in academic medical centers, house officers and medical students must adhere to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct. This Honor Code is intended to promote an atmosphere of confidence and trust among students. The governing philosophy and premise of this Honor Code is that students striving to enter the medical profession are required to adhere to professional and ethical standards.
Every medical student is expected to act with integrity. The guiding principle of academic integrity is that a student’s work must be the student’s own. This Honor Code also requires that all medical students at the College of Medicine – Phoenix act honorably and honestly in all phases of their medical education. This Honor Code recognizes that students at the COM-P will be members of the medical profession and that they also are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the standards and rules applicable to physicians (See A.R.S. § 32-1401, et seq.). This Honor Code supplements the standards of conduct established in the University’s Student Code of Conduct1 and Academic Integrity2, which are stated in the Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual 5-308 (ABOR Policy 5-308), et seq.; however, the procedures set forth in this Honor Code will be the means by which misconduct will be reported and considered within the COM–P, and how sanctions will be imposed by the COM–P.
Conduct prohibited by this Honor Code consists of all forms of academic dishonesty, including, but not limited to: cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty and plagiarism as defined in ABOR Policy 5-308(F); modifying any academic work to obtain additional credit in the same class unless approved in advance by the faculty member or fellow student; failure to observe rules of academic integrity established by a faculty member for a particular course; engaging in unprofessional conduct or misconduct related to patient care; and attempting to commit an act prohibited by this Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308. Any attempt to commit an act prohibited by these rules will be subject to sanctions to the same extent as completed acts. It also is a violation of this Honor Code to intentionally falsely accuse a student of an Honor Code violation, to fail to cooperate with an Honor Code Committee investigation or meeting or a Student Progress Committee (SPC) proceeding or meeting, or to make any intentional misrepresentations in the Honor Code process.2
Students engaging in academic dishonesty or unprofessional conduct diminish their education and bring discredit to the academic community and to the medical profession. Students will observe this Honor Code whether or not faculty members establish special rules of academic integrity or conduct for particular classes or whether or not faculty make special efforts to prevent cheating in their individual courses. If a student has reason to believe that another student has violated this Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308, he or she has an obligation to report the incident to the Chair of the COM-P’s Honor Code Committee, as set forth below.
Faculty and Staff Responsibility
Faculty and/or staff members will notify students of any special rules of academic integrity or conduct established for a particular course (e.g., whether or not a faculty member permits collaboration, use of the same paper in more than one class, etc.), and will make every reasonable effort to encourage compliance with the Honor Code. If a faculty or staff member has reason to believe that a student has violated this Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308, he or she has an obligation to report the incident to the Chair of the COM-P’s Honor Code Committee, as set forth below.
When responding to charges of an Honor Code violation, students have the right to see and/or hear the evidence against them; to a fair consideration of the charges; and to be assisted by an advisor or licensed attorney of their choosing at their own expense at a formal meeting of the Honor Code Committee. If accompanied by an advisor, the advisor may not speak for the student at an Honor Code Committee proceeding, but may advise the student during the proceeding. Records of any proceedings before the Honor Code Committee are confidential to the extent required or permitted by law. Except as otherwise permitted by law or University policy, neither faculty nor other students participating in proceedings under this Honor Code will disclose personally identifiable information regarding either the student charged with a violation of this Honor Code or other students participating in the proceedings outlined below to anyone other than those individuals directly involved in the proceedings or who have a legitimate educational interest in the information. Under the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, neither students nor faculty who report misconduct under this Honor Code are entitled to information related to the consideration or disposition of any matter pending before or decided by either the Honor Code Committee, the Student Progress Committee (SPC), or the Student Appeals Committee, unless the student who is the subject of those proceedings agrees in writing to the release of such information.
PROCESS FOR ADMINISTERING THE HONOR CODE
1. Honor Code Committee.
- The College of Medicine – Phoenix will establish an Honor Code Committee, which will be responsible for investigating, conducting meetings and meetings regarding allegations of Honor Code violations, and making recommendations for disciplinary or remedial action to the Student Progress Committee (SPC). The Honor Code Committee also will be responsible for conducting a periodic review of this Honor Code and, when necessary, to recommend changes to these Procedures to the SPC.
- In accordance with the COM–P’s Bylaws, the Honor Code Committee will be composed of eight medical student representatives (two from each class), and three members of the College of Medicine – Phoenix faculty. The faculty will be appointed by the Dean or designee. The Associate Dean, Student Affairs may attend the Honor Code Committee’s formal meetings as an advisor to the Committee if requested, but does not vote. Each class will elect its student representatives.
- Each class also will elect one of its members as two alternate members of the Honor Code Committee and the College of Medicine faculty will elect one member from the basic science department and one member from a clinical department to serve as alternate members of the Committee. An alternate may participate in Committee meetings and deliberations, but will sit as a voting member of the Committee only when a regular Committee member from his or her class or faculty category is unable to be present or is disqualified from participation. A quorum of one-half of the voting membership of the Committee, including at least one faculty member, is required to conduct any meeting prescribed by this Honor Code.
- If a member of the Honor Code Committee believes he or she will be unable to review a matter objectively or participate in a meeting or meeting required under these Procedures, then the member may recuse himself or herself from the matter under consideration and will explain the reasons for such recusal to the Chair of the Honor Code Committee. Similarly, if a Committee member directly participated in a matter that is the subject of review before the Committee, that Committee member will be disqualified from serving as a Committee member in the matter that is the subject of review. If a Committee member recuses himself or herself from a matter, then a quorum for the meeting or meeting will be a one-half majority of the membership remaining.
- Terms for both student members and faculty members will be set in accordance with the COM–P Bylaws.
- The Honor Code Committee Chair will be appointed by the Dean or designee from among the faculty on the Committee. Terms of the Committee members will be delineated in the Bylaws. The Chair will serve a one-year term, but may be renewed annually. The Chair will preside at formal Committee meetings. An audio recording will be kept of the meeting and will be maintained in the Office of the Associate Dean, Student Affairs.
- No student who has been found guilty of a violation of this Honor Code will serve on the Honor Code Committee.
2. Preliminary Meeting.
- If a student, faculty or staff member has reason to believe that a student’s behavior constitutes a violation of this Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308, he or she will prepare a written, signed statement and deliver it to the Chair of the Honor Code Committee expeditiously. The Chair will meet with one student member on the Committee and the Associate Dean, Student Affairs no later than ten (10) working days after receipt of the written statement, unless those individuals are unavailable, in which case, the meeting will occur on the next available work day when all parties are able to meet. The accused student will not necessarily need to be notified until a determination has been made to proceed forward with the full Honor Code Committee.
- If the consensus of the Chair, the student member and the Associate Dean, Student Affairs is that the allegation, if true, would constitute prohibited conduct under this Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308, then the matter will be referred to the Honor Code Committee for a formal meeting, as set forth in Section 3.
- If the consensus of the Chair, the student member and the Associate Dean, Student Affairs is that the allegation, as presented, would not constitute prohibited conduct under the Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308, then the matter will not proceed further. The Chair of the Committee will notify the student who is the subject of the charge (hereafter “student”) and the person providing the written statement that the matter is closed and will not proceed further. All records related to the matter will be maintained in the Office of Student Affairs in accordance with University records retention schedules.
3. Honor Code Committee Meeting.
- If the matter is referred to the Honor Code Committee for a meeting, then the Chair of the Honor Code Committee will notify the student who is the subject of concern and the individual who submitted the written statement of the date and time of the Honor Code Committee meeting, which will be set no later than fifteen (15) days from the date on which it was determined that a formal meeting should occur, unless the Honor Code Committee is unable to establish a quorum of its members within that time. In that case, the matter will be heard on the next business day on which a quorum may be gathered.
- Formal meetings will be closed to all individuals except the Honor Code Committee, including alternates, the Associate Dean, Student Affairs, the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, the individual(s) who made the allegations, the student and witnesses to the alleged offense.
- The Honor Code Committee will receive evidence from the student, the individual(s) with knowledge of the alleged Honor Code violation and any other individuals the Honor Code Committee believes would provide relevant information regarding the matter in order to make a determination whether, based upon all the evidence presented, the student violated this Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308.
- The Committee, upon request of the student, will preclude witnesses from attending the formal meeting in whole or in part, except when such witnesses are providing information to the Committee. An audio recording of the meeting will be kept in the Office of Student Affairs. The Honor Code Committee may be assisted by a member of the University’s Office of the General Counsel throughout its investigation and through the conclusion of the proceedings to assure compliance with University policies.
- If, after receiving all the information presented to the Committee, two-thirds of the members of the Honor Code Committee attending such meeting find the student guilty of a violation of this Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308 by a preponderance of the evidence presented or if the student admits to violating either the Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308, then the Honor Code Committee will, within ten (10) working days following the meeting, prepare written findings and make a recommendation for appropriate remedial or disciplinary action to the Student Progress Committee (SPC).
- When recommending remedial action or discipline, the Honor Code Committee may consider the seriousness of the violation, the student’s state of mind, the harm done to the University, to patients, or to other students, if any, and whether the student has previously been found to have engaged in conduct prohibited by the Honor Code or ABOR Policy 5-308. In addition, the Honor Code Committee will consider mitigating and aggravating factors in accordance with the provisions of ABOR Policy 5-308(H)3. Recommended remedial action or discipline may include, but is not limited to: a warning; a grade of “fail” on a particular examination or assignment; a grade of “fail” in a course (block) or clerkship; suspension from the College of Medicine – Phoenix for a specified period; or dismissal from the College of Medicine – Phoenix. The Honor Code Committee may not recommend that a student submit to therapy, medical or mental health treatment or monitored rehabilitation.
- The Chair or designee will write an executive summary of the meeting, which will be forwarded to the SPC. The audio recording will also be made available to the SPC.
- If the Honor Code Committee concludes, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that the student did not violate the Honor Code of ABOR Policy 5-308, then the matter will proceed no further. All information obtained during the Honor Code Committee meeting will be maintained by the Office of Student Affairs.
- All statements and information obtained during an investigation or meeting will be confidential and the results of the proceedings will be revealed to no one, including any witnesses who may have appeared before the Honor Code Committee, whatever the ultimate disposition of the matter may be. At the request of the student, and if applicable, the finding of “not guilty” will be reported to such persons and places as the student may designate.
- Any matter referred for a formal meeting may be resolved by agreement between the group (comprised of Associate Dean, Student Affairs, the Chair of Honor Code Committee and the student designated at the time of initial meeting) and the student who is the subject of the complaint; however, any agreement with the student will be forwarded to the SPC for review.
4. Action by the Student Progress Committee.
Upon receipt of a report and recommendation from the Honor Code Committee, the Student Progress Committee (SPC) will conduct further proceedings in accordance with the Student Progress Policy at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
5. Appeal to Student Appeals Committee.
If the Student Progress Committee imposes disciplinary or remedial action as a result of a finding that the student violated this Honor Code of ABOR Policy 5-308 or if the student admits to such misconduct, then the student may appeal that decision and action to the Student Appeals Committee, in accordance with the Student Progress Policy at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
The records of any formal meetings under this Honor Code will remain confidential, except to members of the Honor Code Committee who participated in the meetings, the student, the Associate Dean, Student Affairs, the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, the Student Progress Committee (SPC) and the Student Appeals Committee. If the student appeals a determination of the SPC, the Associate Dean Student Affairs, the Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs and legal counsel for the College of Medicine – Phoenix will be notified.
7. Dissemination of this Honor Code and Procedures of the Honor Code Committee.
This Honor Code Policy and Procedures of the Honor Code Committee will be published in the College of Medicine – Phoenix Student Handbook, on the College of Medicine – Phoenix website and will be sent to all accepted applicants to the College of Medicine – Phoenix. Each student will be required to sign a statement annually that he or she has read and agrees to abide by this Honor Code and Procedures of the Honor Code Committee. Copies of this Honor Code and Procedures of the Honor Code Committee also will be provided to new College of Medicine - Phoenix faculty members and staff at the time of hire or appointment.
The Honor Code Committee also will conduct a periodic review of the Code, and make recommendations to change the Code to the Curriculum Committee for consideration and implementation, if required.
Policy is retroactive to 7/8/2013