After each report is received by the Office of the Honor System, the Student Attorney General conducts a preliminary investigation to determine whether the alleged conduct constitutes an offense under the Honor Code and whether a reasonable basis exists to refer the matter for a hearing before the Honor Court. In making his or her decision, the Attorney General may discuss the report with the reporting party and any witnesses, review any written material, and discuss the matter with the accused student. Students are not required to answer any questions that may be self-incriminating. Anything the student says to the Attorney General or staff during the investigation may be used in an Honor Court hearing if the student is charged. If the Student Attorney General finds that a reasonable basis exists, he or she will charge the student and schedule an Honor Court hearing. A decision to charge a student with a violation does not mean that the student has been found guilty, only that there is enough evidence to support the allegation and warrant a hearing.
If the Attorney General's investigation does not lead to charges, the matter is closed and neither the reporting party nor the Honor Court may impose sanctions.
Possible Violations of the Honor Code
At UNC students pledge to support the principles of academic integrity and to refrain from conduct that would be contrary to a safe, respectful, and productive University environment. For a complete list of Honor Code violations, please consult sections II.B and II.C of The Instrument of Student Judicial Governance.
After a student is charged, he or she receives an email and letter from the Student Attorney General's office informing him or her of the charge and possible sanctions that may be issued in response to the violation. If the Student Attorney General charges the student with an Honor Code violation, the student will meet with a Managing Associate for a Preliminary Conference to receive more information about the Honor System process and prepare for the hearing. The Managing Associate will assign an Investigator and a Defense Counsel to prepare the case for a hearing. The Investigator serves on behalf of the University community, presenting facts to the Honor Court that support the charge by questioning witnesses and presenting material evidence related to the alleged violation.
The Investigator is obligated to share all evidence with the accused student and his defense counsel before the hearing. The hearing is designed to provide the Honor Court with a complete set of facts so that it may make the most appropriate decision. The goal of all Honor Court hearings is to seek the truth and ensure there is a fair process for all parties involved.
The accused student and his/her counsel work to gather information that reflects the student's version of events and help the student organize and present it in an orderly and coherent fashion. Defense counsels are also responsible for making sure that students understand the Honor System process thoroughly.
All counsels who serve on the Student Attorney General's Staff are fully trained by the Student Attorney General and the Dean of Students Office and are certified to serve as Attorney General's staff counsels by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. While an accused student may be represented by any currently-enrolled undergraduate student on campus, the Student Attorney General cannot be responsible for the level of training or expertise of students who are not on his or her staff.