Honor Code Committee & Procedure

In addition to the formalized College and University Policies outlined here, the College of Physicians and Surgeons has implemented an Honor Code, beginning with the Class of 2017.  The Honor Code delineates the standards that the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons deems essential to ensure its medical students’ qualification for the practice of medicine. Safety in the care of patients is the overriding principle. The Honor Code, discussed by the entering class and signed by each student during orientation, emphasizes the honesty and integrity, respectfulness, and professional behavior necessary for the practice of medicine. It reminds students that as future physicians, they are in the public eye and their behavior reflects on themselves as student doctors, on Columbia, and on the medical profession. 

Honor Code Committee Procedure

Honor Code Violations

Students may report Honor Code violations through several mechanisms explained to students at Orientation to P&S, during Transition activities to the Major Clinical Year, and delineated in an annual email to all students from the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs.  Students may report through the Student Honor Code Committee by notifying the Chair or Vice Chair of the Committee. Students who do not wish to go through the Student Honor Code Committee may instead report to the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs or their Advisory Dean.  In addition the following faculty and staff are available to students for confidential discussion and consultation regarding potential violations and options for handling:

  • Confidential Faculty Advisors (confidential)
  • Ombuds Officer (confidential)
  • Center for Student Wellness Director/Assistant Director (confidential)
  • AI:MS Director (confidential)

Student Honor Committee procedures are detailed below.  For all other options above, the allegation will be discussed with the student and options considered.  Confidential Faculty Advisors, Ombuds Officer, Center for Student Wellness and AI:MS staff are non reporting faculty and staff who will assist the student in reviewing options.  The Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs follows Academic Infraction Disciplinary Policy for an academic infraction and Dean’s Discipline Policy for other infractions.

Student Honor Committee Structure

  • Seven students, with a minimum quorum of five for all Committee activities
  • Appointed, not elected

§  Class presidents and Vice Presidents from each class will recommend and rank five exceptionally responsible/thoughtful students from their respective classes (a total of 20 names), providing a list the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs can use to form the committee and its leaders

§  Students taking time off for a dual degree or research must be full time at the CUMC campus to be eligible in that year. They may be recommended only from their original class

§  The Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs will select 7 students for the Committee, and 4 alternates.  All classes will be represented.

§  Terms are one year, follow the academic year and are subject to reappointment 

  • Chair and Vice-chair are post-MCY students in good standing and are appointed by the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs

§  Vice chair becomes chair temporarily if chair is away, unable to serve or has a conflict of interest

§  Students who serve in these positions are expected to do so only if they will not be spending substantial time away from CUMC (i.e., for rotations, academic purposes or travel)

§  These two students will make a good faith effort to coordinate their schedules/rotations so someone is available at any point in the year

§  Both are trained by Faculty Advisor

  •   Faculty advisor (non-voting)

§  A faculty or administration staff member who is neutral and independent from Student Affairs, and can provide expertise and guidance to the Committee will be appointed by the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs as faculty advisor

§  Secretary Appointed by the Chair and Vice-chair

§  The secretary [One of seven committee members] will carefully transcribe all discussions that take place in committee proceedings and produce a report for each meeting.  These confidential transcriptions and report will be stored in a confidential file maintained by the chair and faculty advisor.

·      Student Honor Committee process

o   There are two channels through which a potential honor code violation may be reported:

1) Traditional Method

  • Reporting process
  • Students report claims to [with claims report them to] the Chair or Vice-Chair
  • Anonymous claims will not be considered so as to deter spurious allegations.  The accuser, however, will be granted full anonymity from the accused party, and the identity of the accuser will never be revealed to said party without his express permission. The identity of both the accuser and the accused will be protected within the Committee during all proceedings. Names of the accuser and accused party will only be revealed to the administration if a claim is deemed to be valid by the Committee. [The identity of the accuser is protected within the Committee as it considers whether to proceed with an investigation]
  • Potential accusers are encouraged to meet with the CUMC Ombudsperson and/or a P&S Confidential Faculty Advisor to discuss the potential validity and consequences of reporting an allegation
  • Allegations may be rescinded at the discretion of the Committee
  •  First stage of decision-making: whether to proceed with committee investigation (majority vote)
  • The Committee will determine whether a claim merits investigation [before alerting the accused and making the identity of the accuser known to the accused]
  • If a claim is deemed worthy of further investigation, the Committee must convene and initiate an investigation within 7 days from filing of report
  • Second stage of decision-making: conclusion about validity of claim (majority vote)
  • The Committee will independently interview the accuser and the accused, collect evidence, discuss, and form a decision
  • If the claim is deemed valid, the Secretary will draft a report to be reviewed by the Chair and Co-chair, who will send it to the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs.  All such claims will then follow existing policies for full disciplinary review and when appropriate, determination and implementation of consequences will follow the [under] P&S Dean’s Discipline or Academic Infraction policies described on the P&S website.  The Honor Code Council will not determine consequences. 
  • If a claim is deemed not valid, no report will be sent to the administration.
  • All proceedings from the first and second stage of decision making will be kept confidential by the members of the Honor Code Council, with the exception of the report sent to the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs if a claim is deemed valid.
  • If a student is feeling threatened by the accuser, he or she will be encouraged to seek counsel from the Faculty Advisor and when appropriate, Public Safety

   2) Honor Code Consult Service

  • The Honor Code Consult Service is an alternative pathway to report potential honor code violations. It is to be used by students who wish to seek advice from senior members of the Committee and/or to verify if a claim warrants formal investigation by the full Committee.
  • Reporting Process
  • Students report claims to the Chair or Vice-Chair
  • Again, anonymous claims will not be considered so as to deter spurious allegations.  The accuser, however, will be granted full anonymity from the accused party, and the identity of the accuser will never be revealed to said party without his express permission.
  • Meeting with Chair and Vice-Chair
  • The accuser will initially meet with only the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee. The accuser will be able to discuss his claim with the Chair and Vice-Chair and solicit advice and guidance. The recommendation of the Chair and Vice-Chair may take one of two forms:

A) Chair and Vice-Chair may offer the accuser advice about how to handle the claim himself if the claim is deemed to not warrant formal investigation.

B) Chair and Vice-Chair may recommend for the claim to be brought in front of the full Honor Code Committee for formal investigation. At this point, the procedures delineated in the “traditional process” will be followed.

  • The accuser will have the opportunity to veto this decision if he does not wish for his claim to be brought in front of the full Committee.

o   The Chair will write an annual review of the Honor Code Committee, issues and procedures for review by the CEPC

 P&S Honor Code Leadership

Full Time                                                                                 Alternates

2015

•  Jonathan Salik (Chair)

•  James Rim (Vice Chair)

 

•  Dave Doobin

 

 

2016

•  Jonah Rubin

•  Bryant Shannon

•  Paul Blackloud

2017

•  Cecilia Davis-Hayes

•  Sarah Godfrey

•  Dylan Marshall

2018

•  Emily Weidenbaum

•  George Moran

 

 

•  Alissa Rogol

Faculty Adviser: Serge Przedborski, MD 

 

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