Far from being a simple pen-and-ink statement, Davidson's Honor Code is a declaration by the entire college community that the honorable course is the most just, and therefore the best.
Students benefit from a unique set of freedoms when they sign the Honor Code: from the prevalence of take-home tests and unproctored, self-scheduled final exams to campus announcements that seek to reunite found belongings and money with the people who lost them, the privileges of the Honor Code are numerous, but its true impact is much deeper.
In essence, the Honor Code grants the college community confidence in the words and actions of others in a way that permeates every aspect of campus life. Trust between students, faculty, and staff enriches the widespread collaboration that commonly occurs across disciplines and at every level of college leadership. The Honor Code deepens bonds between students and encourages a sense of personal responsibility that extends beyond the classroom and into the lives of leadership and learning that students will pursue after graduation.
The Honor Code remains one of Davidson's most cherished traditions, with its beginnings dating to the college's formation in 1837. A student-run honor system has existed at Davidson for more than 100 years, and the Honor Council has existed in its current form since its inception in 1959 at the behest of John Wells Kuykendall '59, then student body president of the senior class and eventual President of Davidson College from 1984 to 1997.
The spirit of the pledge students make upon entering their first year helps engender an atmosphere of trust. Every signature helps sustain a climate of freedom and further secures the commitment to academic honesty and social responsibility that characterizes a Davidson education.
Each Davidson student is honor bound to refrain from stealing, lying about College business, and cheating on academic work. Stealing is the intentional taking of any property without right or permission. Lying is intentional misrepresentation of any form. Cheating is any practice, method, or assistance, whether explicitly forbidden or unmentioned, that involves any degree of dishonesty, fraud, or deceit. Cheating includes plagiarism, which is representing another's ideas or words as one's own. Additional guidelines for each class may be determined by its professor; each Davidson student is responsible for knowing and adhering to them. Each student is responsible for learning and observing appropriate documentation of another's work. Each Davidson student is honor bound to report immediately all violations of the Honor Code of which the student has first-hand knowledge; failure to do so is itself a violation of the Honor Code. All students, faculty, and other employees of Davidson College are responsible for familiarity with and support of the Honor Code. Any student, faculty member, administrative officer, employee, or guest of the College may charge a student with a violation of the Honor Code. Charges are presented to the Dean of Students and at the Dean's discretion must be signed. If the Dean determines that further proceedings are warranted by the Honor Council, he or she will prepare a formal charge. Hearings, administrative conferences and other proceedings regarding alleged violations of the Honor Code shall be conducted pursuant to the Code of Disciplinary Procedures.
The following statement is the official honor pledge of Davidson College.
"On my honor I have neither given nor received unauthorized information regarding this work, I have followed and will continue to observe all regulations regarding it, and I am unaware of any violation of the Honor Code by others."