Undergraduate Academic Ethics Board

Student Organization Name: Undergraduate Academic Ethics Board

Category of Group: Student Government

Year Founded: Not sure…probably a long time ago.

Your Name: Mandy Stein

Your Year: Class of 2011

Your Hometown: Cary, NC

Your Position: Chair

Website: http://www.jhu.edu/ethics/index.html

I’ve been involved with the Ethics Board for two years now in several different capacities.  When someone finds out, they tend to be somewhat intrigued, so hopefully this entry will shed some light on the Board and my involvement.

The Undergraduate Academic Ethics Board is a very interesting group (or, technically, an independent committee of Student Council) in that we are all dedicated to our cause and work to promote it on campus and amongst our friends, yet most students are unfamiliar with us.

In some ways, I’d say that’s a good thing, however the Ethics Board constitution is part of the student handbook, two things that are probably vastly under-read.  I think it’s useful for students to have an understanding of how ethics, as a whole, is handled within their university.

So how does one actually get involved with the Ethics Board?  Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to serve a for one-year period, though you can reapply each year.  The application is available in the spring (so I applied as a second-semester freshman) and they are read by Student Council’s Committee on Leadership Appointments (COLA), which makes the decisions.  The Board is comprised of 12 students, a Presiding Official and the Chair, and we are overseen/trained/supported, etc. by the Associate Dean of Student Life.  Several faculty members also sit on the panels, two at a time.

Essentially, when there has been an accusation of a violation of academic integrity and the involved parties (typically a student and professor) are unable to settle the matter or there are other circumstances, the case comes to the Ethics Board for a hearing.  At a hearing, three undergraduate and two faculty board members hear the case and vote, while the Presiding Official, as the name implies, presides and moderates over the hearing.

The student members of the Ethics Board also meet a couple of times each semester to discuss new ideas and outreach projects.  From my own experience, the position has extended into more personal settings as well, meaning when friends or study partners have a question about properly citing sources, etc., I try to help them find the best resources.

During my involvement with the Ethics Board, I’ve been a regular board member (as a sophomore), the Presiding Official (last semester) and have just moved into the role as Chair.  It’s been very interesting to work in the different capacities, especially since the Board has such a formal role and defined structure (as laid out by its constitution).  It can be very difficult to take on the responsibilities of being involved with the Ethics Board, but just knowing how important its role is to the university while keeping our own perspective as students in mind seems to be the best way to fulfill our duties and ensure that the process is fair and as low-stress as possible.