The Academic Honor Code and Social Code

The success of the Academic Honor Code and Social Code requires the active commitment of the College community. Bowdoin College expects its students to be responsible for their behavior on and off College premises and to assure the same behavior of their guests. Bowdoin College designates the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs to supervise the administration of the Academic Honor Code and Social Code.

Uncompromised intellectual inquiry lies at the heart of a liberal education. Integrity is essential in creating an academic environment dedicated to the development of independent modes of learning, analysis, judgment, and expression. Academic dishonesty, in or out of the classroom, is antithetical to the College’s institutional values and constitutes a violation of the Honor Code.

The Academic Honor Code plays a central role in the intellectual life at Bowdoin College. Students and faculty are obligated to ensure its success. Since 1964, with revisions in 1977 and 1993, the community pledge of personal academic integrity has formed the basis for academic conduct. The institution assumes that all Bowdoin students possess the attributes implied by intellectual honesty.

The Social Code describes certain rights and responsibilities of Bowdoin College students. Although it imposes no specific morality on students, the College requires certain standards of behavior on and off College premises to secure the safety of the College community and to ensure that the College remains a center of intellectual engagement. The College has an interest in the character of its students, and both on and off-campus behavior reflect a student’s character and fitness to be a member of the College community.

Certain types of behavior may be inappropriate even though not “illegal”; for example, speech can be offensive even though legally permitted.

Individuals who suspect violations of the Academic Honor Code and/or Social Code should not attempt to resolve the issues independently, but are encouraged to refer their concerns to the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. The College reserves the right to impose sanctions on students who violate these codes on and off College premises, including while a student is studying away at a different institution.

The procedures under the Academic Honor Code and Social Code are not criminal proceedings and should not be construed as such. Bowdoin College acknowledges its responsibility to conduct student judicial procedures that reflect fundamental fairness. The following sections describe the Academic Honor Code and Social Code.

I. Definition of Terms

Listed below are standard definitions of important terms used in the Academic Honor Code and
Social Code:

A. The “Academic Honor Code” covers student conduct in such activities as classroom and laboratory assignments, examinations, quizzes, papers, and presentations. It applies to work completed for Bowdoin courses as well as courses taken at other institutions, including but not limited to study abroad. The “Social Code” governs non-academic student conduct occurring both on campus and off campus.

B. Terms such as “Bowdoin” or “the College” refer to Bowdoin College and its premises.

C. "Student” includes all persons officially pursuing course work at Bowdoin College.

D. "Faculty” or “faculty member” means any individual employed by Bowdoin College to conduct formal academic activities.

E. "College official” refers to any person employed by Bowdoin and not a member of the faculty.

F. The “Bowdoin community” incorporates all faculty, students, student groups, and officials or other persons employed by the College and its proper ties.

G. College “premises” comprise all land, buildings, facilities, and other property owned, used, or supervised by Bowdoin, including its student organizations.

H. "Student judicial procedures” refers to all written and stated policies involved in determining possible infractions and sanctions of College conduct codes.

I. The “Student Appeals and Grievances Committee” considers appeals of the Judicial Board decisions. The committee is chaired by the President of the College and includes the Dean of Student Affairs or Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs, faculty members and students.

J. The terms “shall” and “will” are used in the imperative sense; “may” and “should” are used in the permissive sense.

K. "Misconduct” refers to student actions that violate the College’s Academic Honor Code and/or Social Code.

L. "Preponderance of evidence” is the Judicial Board’s decisional standard by which the facts presented must demonstrate that it is more likely than not that a violation has occurred.

M. As used herein, the term "Dean of Student Affairs" includes the Dean of Student Affairs or his/her designee.

II. Interpretation

A. The Dean of Student Affairs shall interpret questions and resolve any perceived ambiguities about the Academic Honor Code and Social Code.

III. The Pledge

A. During matriculation, members of the incoming class must acknowledge the pledge that reads: “I have read, understand, and agree to abide by the Academic Honor Code and the Social Code.”

B. Signing of the pledge implies a student’s commitment to uphold the principles and rules outlined in the Academic Honor Code and the Social Code.

C. Students sign the Academic Honor Code and Social Code pledge form, a copy of which is kept in their permanent files in the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. Members of the Judicial Board coordinate the signing of the pledge.

D. Each time students place their name on examinations, papers, laboratory assignments, and other academic work, they acknowledge their responsibility and commitment to the Academic Honor Code.

IV. Proscribed Conduct

The following sections describe activities constituting breaches of the Academic Honor Code and the Social Code.


1. “Academic Dishonesty” includes but is not limited to (1) the receiving, giving, or using of any unauthorized assistance on any academic assignments, including but not limited to: quizzes, tests, written assignments, examinations or laboratory assignments; (2) references to sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in preparing papers, constructing reports, solving problems or carrying out other academic assignments; (3) inadequate citation of sources; (4) acquisition, without permission, of tests, computer files or similar material which would give the student an unfair advantage on an assignment or examination; (5) submission of academic work not a student’s own original effort; (6) use of the same work for multiple courses without prior knowledge of the receiving instructors; (7) depriving learners of access, including computer access, to library information through intentional monopolization, mutilation, defacing, unauthorized removal of books or other materials from College libraries, or purposeful failure to return library materials on a timely basis; (8) unauthorized altering of academic records (transcripts, grading sheets, Course Registration Cards, etc.); (9) fabrication of research data.

2. A number of Bowdoin College courses employ various kinds of collaborative assignments in several different situations, including homework, laboratory reports, and in-class assignments. When preparing such course work, students should follow the individual instructor’s policy on collaboration. When the instructor permits collaboration among students, the use of another student’s work or ideas should be credited properly.

3. It is the obligation of a student to be thoroughly familiar with proper citation of sources and to consult with his/her instructor and refer to authoritative style guides for research papers. Ignorance or carelessness is not a valid excuse for plagiarism.

The Bowdoin College Library Web site provides links to style guides. A faculty working group has also developed a set of online resources.

Plagiarism is possible with any work performed in any medium and in any scholarly discipline. Plagiarism involves the intentional or unintentional use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment in all such scholarly work as essays, examinations, oral/written reports, homework assignments, laboratory reports, computer programs, music scores, choreography, graphic depictions, and visual presentations.

Plagiarism also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in selling of term papers or other academic materials.


The following activities, occurring on or off College premises, constitute breaches of the
Social Code:

1. Conduct which is unbecoming of a Bowdoin student. Examples include, but are not limited to: lewd or indecent behavior (or sponsorship thereof); physical or verbal abuse or assault; threats; intimidation; retaliation; harassment; coercion; behavior or activities that significantly disrupt the educational experience of other students; and other conduct that threatens, instills fear, or infringes upon the rights, dignity, and integrity of any person including through the use of social media or other means of electronic communication.

2. Attempted or actual theft of, or misappropriation of, physical or intellectual property and/or services. Attempted or actual damage to property.

3. Purposely providing false, inaccurate, or misleading information to a College official(s), faculty member(s), or the Judicial Board.

4. Failure to comply with the reasonable request of a College official(s) or faculty member(s), including a request to identify oneself or honor the terms of a College no-contact agreement/order.

5. Threats or behavior that endanger the health and safety of oneself or others. Examples include, but are not limited to, tampering or interfering with, as well as destroying or misusing, fire safety equipment; the possession of firearms, explosives, other weapons, or dangerous chemicals; unauthorized climbing on College buildings and structures; throwing objects out of windows; and the reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

6. Violation of federal, state, or local statutes.

7. Disruption of the orderly processes of the College, involving obstruction of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other College activities, including its public-service activities. Actions disruptive to the orderly processes of the College include, but are not limited to:

a. Unauthorized entry into, or occupation of a private office, college residence, work area, a teaching, library, or social facility.

b. Failure to abide by the operating regulations of academic and non-academic offices, centers, unions, classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and other College buildings.

c. Unauthorized possession, duplication or use of keys or access cards to College premises, or tampering with locks to College buildings.

d. Conduct that restricts or prevents College employees from performing their duties.

e. Excessive or extreme noise, the display of banners/objects, or the throwing of objects which prevents or disrupts the effective execution of a College function or approved activity, including classes, lectures, meetings, interviews, ceremonies, athletic events, and public functions.

8. Installing or using any device for listening to, observing, photographing, recording, amplifying, or transmitting sounds or events where the individual/group involved has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without consent of all persons involved. The recording or photographing of a recognized group’s proceedings, performances, classes, lectures, programs, workshops, or other similar events without the specific authorization of the sponsoring organization, faculty member, speaker, or other party related to the event.

9. Failure to comply with any Bowdoin College policy including, but not limited to, the following specific ones: