Bookmark and Share

Statement of Ethical Principles: Judicial Review System & By-Laws of the Judicial Board

"...each member of our community should assume the responsibility of learning about and acting in concert with our shared principles. Our community is here defined as administrators, housestaff, students, and faculty. By voluntarily joining this community we bind ourselves to the acceptance of these principles and peer review." (Excerpt from the By-laws of the Judicial Board) 

Acceptable behavior within the academic community, including proper behavior on examinations, falls within the purview of the judicial review system and its functioning body, the Judicial Board. The system and operation of the board are defined in the document entitled "Statement of Ethical Principles, Judicial Review System and By-Laws of the Judicial Board," printed in its entirety below. One of the fundamental ideas in defining acceptable behavior for health care professionals, including those in training, is that possession of knowledge and technical skill alone is not sufficient. Health care professionals are given privileges and information not granted to society-at-large. In accepting that privileged position, they simultaneously assume an obligation to a higher ethical standard of honesty, truthfulness and discipline. The Judicial Board document attempts to characterize appropriate ethical standards.

Briefly, the system operates as follows: any member of the community who directly witnesses an act that he or she deems unethical should report the incident in a signed letter to the Chairman of the Judicial Board. This board consists of a chairperson appointed by the Dean and representatives of the different groups in the community.

The board will then investigate the issue and hold hearings, as defined in the document referred to above. Findings of the board and its recommendations with respect to the accused are forwarded to the Dean.

Judicial Board Chairman: Jill RachBeisel, M.D., 410-328-5161, jrachbei@psych.umaryland.edu  

Preamble

The academic community of this medical school, consisting of students, scholars, teachers, physicians and other health professionals, has the interrelated responsibilities of producing and disseminating new scientific knowledge, learning and teaching the biomedical sciences, caring for patients and educating individuals to carry on these same functions. In carrying out these responsibilities, the various and complex external controls cannot by themselves guarantee high standards. These must be nurtured by individuals with a developed sense of honor, integrity and intellectual honesty. It is incumbent upon the community to provide an environment which fosters these attributes in students and faculty members.

In teaching, research and patient care, the community has been granted many freedoms by society. The community must protect these freedoms and insure society of adequate review of the personal qualities of community members related to their roles and responsibilities.

By voluntarily joining this community, we bind ourselves to the acceptance of agreed-upon principles of behavior that will foster an appropriate academic environment.

In Part I of this document are listed examples of principles and behaviors that this community considers appropriate and desirable. No such statement can ever be complete; it cannot be construed as a comprehensive code of conduct. Rather, it is intended to be a guide for thought, self-scrutiny and discussion; an outline of expectations for ourselves and for those with whom we interact.

Together with the responsibility of the academic community to provide for itself a statement of its principles, is the responsibility also to establish procedures for dealing with allegations of transgressions. We choose procedures of peer review and pledge ourselves to their implementation. In this spirit, we established a Judicial Review System whose working instrument is a Judicial Board (hereafter referred to as "Board"). The Board shall be composed of representatives of the community and shall function as an instrument of the Medical School Council and shall advise the Dean who will act upon its findings.

The attitudes and performance of health professionals are taken quite seriously, and breaches of ethical behavior can result in the loss of career opportunity in the field for those found unable or unwilling to act in keeping with the principles expressed here. At the same time we expect members of this academic community to be persons of integrity; we do not expect them to be perfect. They can be improved, and be positively affected by counseling and guidance. The system shall permit punishments which allow continued progress, where it is appropriate.

The Board shall have jurisdiction in all cases involving alleged breaches of ethical principles except where such cases involve (1) the rights or well-being of patients entrusted to care in our hospitals or (2) misconduct in scholarly works. In these cases, jurisdiction is defined by (1) the process of the medical board of the applicable hospital, (2) the process set forth in the "UMB Policies and Procedures Concerning Misconduct in Scholarly Work," or (3) campus procedures for termination of faculty appointments, respectively.


Part I:  Statement of Ethical Principles, Practices and Behaviors

I.1.     Each member of the community is obligated to carry out his or her designated responsibilities within the rules and governance structure adopted and agreed to by the community as a whole. No cheating, plagiarism or misrepresentation of performance can be tolerated.

I.2.     Physicians, scientists, teachers and students should be concerned with their own competence and strive to improve themselves in the integration and transmission of knowledge. No cheating, plagiarism, or misrepresentation of performance can be tolerated.

I.3.     All members of this community have earned the opportunity to serve and learn here and merit respect for their achievements. Each member of this community is accepted as a person of integrity and honesty. Each member of this community is personally responsible for his or her adherence to the principles of truthfulness, honesty, fairness and courtesy.

I.4.     Each member of the community is obligated to act upon any observation or evidence which indicates to him or her that another member of the community has committed a breach of these principles. Tolerating unethical behavior by another undermines these principles as surely as personal failure to meet the standards.

I.5.     Each member of this community is here to learn, to serve, to produce new and enhanced knowledge and to help others learn. To this end, each is expected to recognize his or her deficiencies and endeavor to correct them, requesting help when needed. Every member is expected to respond to an appropriate request for such assistance in an appropriate and helpful manner. Needing assistance is not wrong, but failing to request and obtain help may be. No help may be given on reports submitted for evaluation of individual performance or during examinations, but collaboration and assistance in learning are desirable.

I.6.     Each member of this community is entitled to respect and should treat all others, regardless of status, respectfully and courteously. Professional relations should be characterized by civility. Scholarly contributions and professional assistance will be acknowledged. Each member should recognize, value and facilitate the contributions of others.

I.7.     Each member of this community has the obligation to review and understand the general principles of ethical behavior and performance and also the specific expectations of any course of study, examination or other evaluation of performance which applies to him or her. Those responsible for courses and examinations are charged to make clear these expectations and to be open to questions from those who are subject to those expectations. Effective communication is essential to fairness and justice.

I.8.     Authority must not be abused. Abuse or misuse of authority, even if unintentional, may compromise or damage other members of the community. Those in authority are charged to be conscious of this obligation.

I.9.     Each member of the community acting as an evaluator of any other member should recognize personal bias and attempt to eliminate its effect on the evaluation or recuse himself or herself as an evaluator.

I.10.     In contributing to the information base of the sciences in verbal or written communication, students and faculty should present data, its interpretation and other scholarly discovery with the complete honesty, objectivity, and integrity traditionally associated with the practice of science.

I.11.     An individual may challenge or refuse to comply with a directive which is inconsistent with our generally held principles. The Dean shall have final authority in all such circumstances.

I.12.     Both faculty and students must merit the confidence of patients entrusted to their care, rendering to each a full measure of service and devotion. By this is meant that the patients' well being is to be our first priority before personal desires and benefit. Each commitment is to be completed or responsibly assigned before leaving.

I.13.    Event-related misconduct is defined as misconduct, on campus and off-campus, related to any University-sponsored event, that results in harm to persons or property or otherwise poses a threat to the stability of the campus or campus community. Event-related misconduct is a violation of this community’s ethical principles and will not be tolerated.


Part II:  By-Laws of the Judicial Board

ARTICLE 1.    PURPOSES

  1. To provide a mechanism for peer review and resolution of allegations of unethical or inappropriate behavior via investigation, discussion and advice to the Dean of the Medical School.

  2. To review, from time to time, the Judicial System and report to the Council on its status and need for modification.

  3. To inform all members of the community, through the Council representatives, of the existence of the Honor Code and operation of the Judicial System.

ARTICLE 2.    MEMBERSHIP

Article 2. Section 1: Officers and Their Duties

  1. The officers of the Board shall be a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson, both appointed by the Dean from the full-time faculty. The Chairperson shall collaborate with the Dean in the appointment of the Vice-Chairperson. The Vice-Chairperson will automatically serve in the role of Chairperson if the Chair- person is absent or unavailable. If both officers are unavailable, the Dean or other appropriate university official shall make an ad hoc appointment from the full-time faculty on the Board.

  2. The Chairperson shall have the overall role of assuring compliance of Board activities with the By-Laws and acting as liaison between the Board and the Medical School Council. The Chairperson shall have the duty to call meetings and to preside over them or to request the Vice-Chairperson to perform these functions in his or her absence. The Chairperson shall communicate with accused parties and their accusers - not to receive or weigh evidence - but to make necessary procedural arrangements for meetings.

Article 2. Section 2: Members of the Board and Their Duties

  1. The Board shall consist of a total of eighteen members, all of whom have voting privileges. Two of these, the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, shall be appointed by the Dean (Article 2, Section 1). Sixteen will be drawn from the various groups within the medical school community, as follows:

     
    Faculty: Preclinical
    Clinical
    Physical Therapy
    Medical and Research Technology
    3
    3
    1
    1
     
    Student Body: 2nd Year Medical
    3rd Year Medical
    4th Year Medical
    Physical Therapy
    Medical and Research Technology
    2
    2
    2
    1
    1

  2. Except for the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, these members shall be selected by procedures designated by the groups which they represent.

    1. The Student Council of the medical school shall have the responsibility of selecting the student representatives from the medical school classes.

    2. The department chairpersons of Physical Therapy and Medical and Research Technology shall have the responsibility of selecting the student representative from their groups.

    3. The Elections Committee of the School of Medicine Council shall have the responsibility of selecting the faculty representatives.

     
  3. Failure of a group to properly identify its representatives within one month of suitable notification will result in its representatives being appointed by the Dean or his/her designee.

  4. The Members shall have the responsibility of serving at meetings and performing whatever other functions arise as reasonable and proper activities of the Board.

  5. The Chair of the Judicial Board shall annually report to the School of Medicine Council the activities of the Board. The nature and outcomes of cases will be reviewed, excluding specific identifiers.

Article 2. Section 3: Terms of Office for Members

The Chair and Vice-Chair shall serve at the pleasure of the Dean. The term of office for other faculty members shall be three years, limited to two consecutive terms. The term of office for students shall be until graduation or earlier separation from the medical school community, as long as they remain in good standing with the school. A term year shall be defined as beginning June 1st.

Article 2. Section 4: Premature Termination

  1. If, for any reason, a member's service on the Board is terminated, a replacement from the represented group shall be appointed to that role by the Dean or by his/her designee.

  2. A member can be asked not to serve on a Panel in a given Pre-Hearing or Hearing. Any member of the Board can initiate such action but all members are entitled to be fully informed of the circumstances underlying such actions.

  3. A member can be removed from the Board if such action is approved by at least six Board members. Any member of the Board can initiate such action but all members are entitled to be fully informed of the circumstances underlying such actions.

ARTICLE 3. PROCESS

(All meetings shall be closed to non-members, except for guests invited or approved by the Chairperson.)  

Article 3. Section 1: Administrative Meetings

The Chairperson will call a meeting to deal with administrative matters on his/her own volition or in compliance with a request by the Dean, by the Council, or by other Board members. There shall be at least one meeting of this type each academic year. All members shall be informed of Administrative meetings.

Article 3. Section 2: Reporting Violations

  1. A member or group of members of the community with knowledge of an incident perceived as a violation of our shared ethical principles is obligated by participation in this Honor Code to report that incident to the chairperson of the Board or to the Dean of the Medical School, who will then refer it to the Board. The report can be made verbally if discussion is deemed necessary, but the Board will take official action only in response to a written complaint.

  2. If the Dean is apprised of an incident that calls for immediate suspension of an individual and the Dean takes such action pending referral of the matter to the Board, the Dean will subsequently refer the matter to the Board for formal review. In such cases, the individual will be entitled to a hearing before the Dean or his designee within three days of suspension in addition to customary Board procedures.

  3. The Chairperson of the Board or his/her designee must take action if a complaint reaching the Board by proper means falls within the purview of the Board.

  4. The Chairperson or his/her designee will inform the accused person(s) of the allegation and present such persons with a copy of the written allegation. The person(s) bringing the complaint will be notified that the case will be pursued. The person(s) charged will be permitted to face the complainant during the hearing process except in the extraordinary case where the prospect of reprisal requires the complainant to be known only to the Board.

Article 3. Section 3: Minor Complaints

In the case of minor complaints, the complainant may request the Chair or Vice - Chair of the Judicial Board, with the participation of three members of the Board including at least one student and one Faculty member, to review the complaint and the response of the respondent and recommend a resolution. This procedure would be used for personal disputes, discourtesies, unintentional harassment or coercion, misunderstandings and omissions - not for charges of ethical lapses, cheating, abuse of authority, or dishonesty. If a resolution acceptable to the parties and the Chair is not reached in this manner at a single session, a Pre- Hearing or Hearing will proceed.

Article 3. Section 4: The Pre-Hearing

  1. Purpose

    The purposes of a Pre-Hearing are to review a written allegation to determine the need for a Hearing, the character of the Hearing, and the kinds of evidence that must be gathered to fully deal with the case. The Chairperson will initiate a Pre-Hearing to discuss the allegation and plan the appropriate investigation for a Hearing. The Pre-Hearing shall be the first step in the Board's response to a written allegation that falls within its purview1. A Pre-Hearing shall ordinarily be held within fourteen calendar days of receipt of a written allegation unless prevented by compelling circumstances. If a matter can be resolved in the Pre- Hearing, a Hearing is not required.

  2. The Panel

    1. The Panel shall have a maximum of five voting members, including the Chairperson or Vice-Chair. If the respondent is a student, at least three voting members shall be students; if the respondent is faculty, at least three voting members shall be faculty.

    2. When the Chairperson assembles the Panel from the Board's membership, a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure participation of all members in Board incidents over the course of time.

    3. When the Chairperson contact members, particulars of the case shall not be conveyed but the identity of complainant(s) and respondent must be revealed to avoid conflict of interest on the part of a member. A member must disqualify himself or herself if familiarity with the parties or the particular case might present actual or perceived bias or conflict of interest.

     
  3. Conduct of the Pre-Hearing

    1. The Panel shall meet with complainant and respondent or others that the Panel invites to clarify the issues so that the need for a Hearing can be assessed. Other parties shall not be present. A complete review of evidence is not appropriate but allusions to evidence are permitted if they are needed for assessment and/or for planning the Hearing.

    2. If the Panel2 is convinced on the basis of the Pre-Hearing that it would be unable to find a basis for a decision in a Hearing, it may terminate the case and issue its findings without a Hearing.

    3. If the respondent acknowledges the misconduct charged, a penalty (Article 5) can be recommended and explained to the respondent. That party may request a Hearing either before or after such recommendation and the Panel shall grant one hearing if requested.

    4. The Panel may decide to hold a Hearing if it believes that the quality of its decision will be enhanced by that action. Alternatively, the Panel may decide that a Hearing should be held by a different group. In that case, the new Panel will be chosen from the Board membership under the rules which define Hearings. However, at least one but not more than two of the initial Panel members will serve on the Hearing Panel to preserve continuity.

    5. The Panel shall avoid using the Pre-Hearing alone to reach its decisions if the respondent does not acknowledge misconduct.

    6. Whether or not a Hearing takes place, the Dean shall be informed of the Pre-Hearing and its findings.

    7. Complainant will be informed, in writing, of the Pre-Hearing events and process and, where appropriate, of the Dean's actions thereon.

    8. Respondent will be informed, in writing, of the Pre-Hearing events and conclusions and, where appropriate, of the Dean's actions thereon.

    9. If a Hearing is deemed necessary, the Pre-Hearing shall determine if an investigation is needed and the member(s) of the Board who will undertake the investigation. It is appropriate for such an investigation to explore relevant facets of the life and activities of the accused if legitimate questions of character and suitability for professional function are at issue. Any Board member who conducts such an investigation may present the findings to the Panel and is prohibited from serving on the Panel. A Hearing will take place when the necessary preliminaries have been completed.

     

Article 3. Section 5: The Hearing

  1. Purpose and Timing

    1. The purposes of a Hearing are to resolve an allegation of unethical behavior by a finding of mis- conduct or no misconduct, and to recommend one or more penalties (Article 5) if the finding is misconduct.

    2. A Hearing shall be held, if feasible, within fourteen calendar days after the Pre-Hearing or the Board's conclusion of its investigation of the matter whichever is later. The accused must be notified in writing of the Hearing five calendar days in advance. Any delays must be for good cause and the reasons therefore disclosed to all parties.

    3. A Hearing may include one or more meetings of the Panel and its time-span shall include whatever private discussion is needed by the Panel to reach its conclusions.

     
  2. The Panel

    1. The Panel shall have five voting members, including the Chairperson. It may contain a total of six individuals if both the Chair and Vice-Chair serve, but only one of these two individuals can vote.

    2. If the respondent is a student, the Panel shall have at least three voting members who are students. If the respondent is a faculty member, the Panel shall have at least three voting members who are faculty.

    3. A member must disqualify himself or herself if familiarity with the parties or the particular case might present actual or perceived bias or conflict of interest.

    4. All of the members who comprised the Pre-Hearing Panel may serve on the Hearing Panel, but the Chairperson reserves the right to replace one to four of them with members who have not been exposed to the substance of the case.

     
  3. Conduct of the Hearing

    1. All of the discussion at the Hearing, except for private deliberations of the Panel, will be audio recorded. Accidental loss of all or part of the tape record shall not invalidate the findings of the Hearing Panel. Tape recordings will be held in the Office of the Dean for three years following conclusion of the Hearing.

    2. With or before the written notice of the Hearing, the respondent shall be given a copy of this policy including the Bylaws of the Judicial Board and will be given a brief description of the testimony and other evidence to be presented against the respondent.

    3. The respondent has the right to hear all testimony and to examine all documents presented at the Hearing. Except under unusual circumstances (e.g., concerns for personal safety), the respondent has a right to know the identity of the complainant(s). At the Panel's discretion, the complainant may be present throughout all or part of the Hearing.

    4. The respondent may call witnesses and present evidence in his or her behalf. Formal rules of evidence do not apply. The Board reserves the right to limit repetitive evidence and to refuse irrelevant evidence.

    5. Attorneys will not be allowed to represent formally the respondent or to address the Panel, but may be present solely to give advice to the respondent during the Hearing. Under such circumstances, the Panel may elect to have an attorney present and permit the complainant and/or presenter to have legal counsel present.

    6. The respondent will be advised of his or her right to remain silent and/or not to appear at the Hearing. However, if a respondent elects not to appear or remain silent, the action will be construed as a waiver of those rights and the Hearing will proceed.

    7. The Panel who participate in the Hearing will reach a finding of misconduct or no misconduct on each charge. That finding will be based on the preponderance of the evidence. If a charge is sustained, the Panel will recommend appropriate penalties.

    8. Within a work day after the conclusion of the Board's role in the case, the respondent(s) shall be informed of the Panel's findings and recommendations. This information may be conveyed orally but it must be followed, within three work days, by written communication from the Panel.

    9. A full written account of the case, together with findings and recommendations, shall be conveyed to the Dean for review and implementation of any recommended penalties. The Dean may not change the verdict but he or she is not bound by the recommendations as to punishment or rehabilitation. The Dean shall inform the Panel in writing of the final action taken. The tape record of the Hearing shall be made available for review by the Dean, if he or she so chooses.

    10. Final actions taken by the Dean shall be conveyed to the respondent(s) and to the Panel.

     

ARTICLE 4. VOTING AND DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS

Article 4. Section 1: Voting

  1. Voting at meetings may be by voice, show of hands or ballots, as determined by the Chairperson.

  2. A finding of misconduct shall require four of the five votes provided by the Panel. All other decisions of the Panel shall be supported by a simple majority of the participants.

Article 4. Section 2: Disclosure of Records

To the maximum extent permitted by law, all records of the Board and the discussions associated with the Board's review of the incident shall be held in strict confidence by those individuals who have knowledge of the details.

ARTICLE 5. PENALTIES

The Panel will accept and consider affidavits or other evidence of character regarding the respondent before recommending a penalty. The Panel should choose one or more of the penalties described in this Article. However, in exceptional cases it can elect to modify or individualize them if such modification seems clearly indicated by the particulars of the given case. The Panel may formulate other penalties or rehabilitative measures at its discretion.

Article 5. Section 1: Faculty

  1. In the case of a faculty member, a finding of misconduct will be considered grounds for reprimand, probation, suspension or dismissal from the School to the extent permitted by University and Medical School policies, rules and regulations.

  2. If a faculty member is found to have participated in the fraudulent publication of research findings, the Board's findings will referred to the Dean for his or her action as defined under the University's Misconduct in Scholarly Work Procedures. Granting agencies supporting the research may need to be notified.

  3. If there is student participation in fraudulent publication of research findings by a faculty member, the Board's findings will be referred to the Dean for his or her action as defined under the University's Misconduct in Scholarly Work Procedures.

Article 5. Section 2: Students

  1. Inappropriate Behavior Other Than Cheating

    In the case of a student who is found guilty of inappropriate behavior other than cheating in the context of his or her education, the Board should recommend to the Dean one or more of the following penalties:

    1. Expulsion from the medical school. The student's transcript shall record, "A judicial board decision is on record for this student."

    2. Voluntary resignation from the medical school, with the circumstances described in the student's permanent record on file in this Medical School. The student's transcript shall record, "A judicial board decision is on record for this student."

    3. Suspension for a specified period, with the action made a temporary or permanent part of the student's record or not, as stipulated by the Board. In the former case, the student's transcript shall record, "A judicial board decision is on record for this student."

    4. Probation for a specified period with a protocol designed to safeguard Minimum Number of the School and the professional environment against repeated occurrences of the behavior for which the student was found to have committed misconduct. The protocol is to include specification of a mechanism for satisfactory termination of the probation. Probation will generally not become part of the student's permanent record but may be so ordered by the Board. If it is ordered, the student's transcript shall record, "A judicial board decision is on record for this student."

    5. A student who is found guilty of Event-related misconduct (not including offensive speech at on-campus or off-camps events) shall be subject to presumptive dismissal. Presumptive dismissal may be either suspension for a fixed period of time or expulsion. A finding of “Event-related misconduct” shall be noted on the student’s transcript. To avoid dismissal, a student must demonstrate specific mitigating or extenuating circumstances that persuade the final decision-maker that a lesser penalty is appropriate. If dismissal is not the recommended penalty, these factors must be enumerated in the written recommendation to the Dean and in the Dean’s penalty decision.

     
  2. Inappropriate Behavior That Includes Cheating 2  

    In the case of a student who is found guilty of cheating, one or more of the above penalties (Article 5, Section 2, A) may be recommended in addition to a minimum penalty of failure in the course. The circumstances and action will become part of the student's permanent record. The student's transcript shall record, "A judicial board decision is on record for this student."

ARTICLE 6. APPEALS

Article 6. Section 1: Process

  1. Within ten calendar days of being informed of the results of a Hearing by the Panel, the respondent may appeal to the Dean, in writing, for a new Hearing. An Appeal will be granted only if there has been failure of the accused to receive due process and/or there is newly available evidence.

  2. Any penalty(s) imposed by the Dean will not be implemented while an appeal is pending.

  3. In making the determination as to whether to order a new Hearing, the Dean may seek advice from any individuals of his or her choosing but the Chairperson should always receive a copy of the appeal and be given an opportunity to respond, in writing.

Article 6. Section 2: Failure of the Accused to Receive Due Process

If the Dean determines that there was, in fact, significant failure of due process he or she shall order a new Hearing and stipulate whether the same or a different group of Board members shall preside.

  1. If different members are stipulated they shall be individuals with no knowledge of the substance of the case. If no such individuals are available, the Dean shall appoint an ad hoc panel which will then conduct a Hearing according to the rules set out in these By-Laws (Article 3, Section 4). However, one member of the original Panel will participate without vote at the new Hearing and Panel discussion to assure continuity and recognize inconsistencies.

  2. In making these determinations, the Dean shall seek advice from any individuals of his or her choosing but the Board member who chaired the Hearing Panel should always be consulted for his or her explanation of the events.

Article 6. Section 3: Newly Available Evidence Presented to the Board

If the Dean determines that the newly available evidence could, in principle, lead to a different finding or different penalties, he or she shall order a new Hearing.

  1. Unless the Dean decides otherwise, the same group of members who reached the earlier conclusion shall preside at the new Hearing. The composition of the group can be varied if unavailability of particular members would compromise an early resolution of the case.

  2. If a new Hearing is ordered and the Dean stipulates that it is to be conducted by a different group, one member who served at the original Hearing shall participate in the new Hearing and Panel discussion, but shall not vote.

ARTICLE 7. AMENDMENTS

Proposed amendments to the By-Laws of the Board may be submitted to the Council by any Member of the Board or any member of the Council. Amendments shall take effect upon approval of the Council, the Dean and the President, provided that the amendments have been approved for form and legal sufficiency by the University's legal counsel. The record of such amendments shall be in the Minutes of the Council and, in addition, shall be circulated to the members of the Council who should so inform their constituencies.

Document Approvals

Faculty Council: November 29, 1995
Executive Committee: September 6, 1995
Dean: April 26, 1996
President: May 8, 1996
Attorney General: April 25, 1996


1 In rare instances, the Pre-Hearing might be used to decide whether the allegation falls within the purview of the Board.

2 Cheating includes plagiarism


Honor Code

The Honor Code of the University of Maryland School of Medicine is based upon the earned status of all members of the community as effective and committed scholars of medicine, science and other health professions who are persons of integrity and honesty. It places the responsibility for ethical behavior squarely upon each individual and requires peer review of questionable behavior.

Each member of this academic community is given notice that joining this community voluntarily commits the individual to accept and uphold the values and principles espoused in the Honor Code. Such values do not impinge upon personal opinion or promote controversial ideas, but characterize the obligation of physicians, other health professionals and scientists to truth, honesty, service to patients before oneself and fairness among colleagues. The individual pursuit of excellence is encouraged but does not permit an individual to ignore the society in which the effort takes place.

The Honor Code and its supporting Judicial Review System are direct outgrowths of the previous system, but emphasize the necessity for universal community awareness and involvement to make it effective. All students, faculty and staff must acknowledge their part in the system. It is the Dean's responsibility to take steps to establish this involvement and acceptance.

The operation of the Judicial Review System is modified to include a new, less formal mechanism for review of less serious breaches. This may ease acceptance of the obligation to report observations believed to indicate a breach of these principles. The System provides for penalties other than removal or disruption of the career path, recognizing that even persons of integrity are not perfect and may be improved by appropriate punishment and counseling. More emphasis is placed upon civility in communication and conduct, and upon avoiding abuse of authority.

In general, the language is more direct and explicit, emphasizing expectations of ethical performance more than operations of the system of judgment and potential punishments.

Emphasis is placed also upon self awareness of deficiencies and the availability of help.

Acceptance of the Honor Code requires changes in examination practices. It requires each student to exercise decorum and act in a manner respectful of others.


Rules of Conduct During Examinations

Ethical behavior includes proper behavior on examinations. Since there are some ambiguities surrounding examination conduct, students and faculty both have recognized the need for uniform guidelines. The following principles and guidelines were developed by a student/faculty committee.

General Principles

These principles apply to all examinations and evaluations whether written, oral, take-home, etc.

  1. "Cheating" includes plagiarism, the acquisition of prior knowledge of the examination content by any unauthorized process, and the receiving or giving of relevant information during the examination by any means which are inconsistent with the type of examination. "Unauthorized process" is defined as any method not specifically approved by the department; it includes the transmission, by faculty members or others, of examination content to a student or select group of students outside the normal institutional process.

  2. Students, staff and faculty members should report suspected infractions through the judicial system.

  3. Students, staff and faculty who publicly or privately make accusations of unethical behavior without reporting such behavior to the Judicial Board are behaving in an unethical manner.

Written Examinations (Other Than Take-Home Examinations)

  1. The faculty will inform the students, in advance, of the exact start and finish time, the place, and the grading policy for the examination. This may be accomplished through printed schedules. In addition, any special rules for the conduct of a given examination must be clearly stated in advance.

  2. Students are expected to be ready to begin examinations at the scheduled time. Students who arrive for the exam more than 15 minutes past the scheduled start time will be considered late.

  3. A faculty member will be present or readily available during all examinations in order to respond to inquiries and assist with conducting the examination.

  4. Inquiries relating to specific questions in the examination may be permitted at the discretion of the department. Students may supply the faculty with written comments about questions which appear to be ambiguous, unfair or ill-designed within 48 hours following the examination.

  5. Students shall leave the room after completing and turning in the examination. The student also must leave the halls adjacent to the examination rooms to prevent students still taking the examination from being distracted and disturbed by the noise which inevitably emanates from a group of students discussing the examination.

  6. No examination will be accepted after the final call for examinations.


Policy for Missed Examinations

  1. It is expected that students shall attend an examination at the place and time originally scheduled, unless unable to do so for reasons of personal health, family emergency, religious holiday or other similar circumstance. If such circumstance arises, then the student shall attempt to contact the course master as soon as possible.

  2. There will be a make-up examination or other evaluation process scheduled for any excused missed examination; the time of which will be set by course master in consultation with the student and administered without academic penalty. The course master shall have the ability to modify this rule under special course or student circumstances.

  3. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will be available to hear all concerns raised by students over the specific handling of a missed examination situation. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs may help facilitate a resolution or refer the matter to higher administrative authority.

  4. The above policy shall be written and distributed to students by the first day of each course and contained within the student Academic Handbook.


Rules of Conduct for Assignments Other Than Examinations

Expectations similar to those applying to on-site examinations govern the performance of assigned work that may or may not be graded. For example, the completion of take-home examinations, problem sets and library work clearly identified as individual efforts, or the acquisition of patient-related, research-related, or course-laboratory-related data must be done by the individual. The general rule is that assignments given in the spirit of individual initiative should be carried out in that same spirit. No one should report work as his or her own if others contributed to it or if material produced by others is included without reference.

 

Last Revision: June 3, 2009