The University of Richmond is in the process of extending its sanction for honor code violations from two years to seven years to align with record retention policies and to comply with state and federal guidelines.
Though the policy extension may seem daunting for students, Westhampton College Dean Mia Reinoso Genoni said that honor code and conduct code violations were only reported if a student gave UR permission to report on any violations, as part of a graduate school application or another similar form.
“Very rarely does somebody’s conduct record get in their way in any way shape or form,” Genoni said. “A common mistake that people make is that they somehow think that everybody in the world gets [honor or conduct violation] information. … We only report when we get permission from our students, which usually means you're applying to grad school, and they want a report on your conduct.”
Richmond College Dean Joe Boehman and Genoni will also show the student specifically what they are writing about the violation. Whenever possible, they will explain the student’s circumstance, tell the school how the student handled and learned from the incident, and say they have no concerns about the student, Genoni said.
All current UR students will be affected by the policy change, Boehman said. This means that UR will retain the record for any student who has had an honor code violation for seven years after graduation.
UR extended its sanctioning for honor code violations to seven years for the sole purpose of complying with the UR’s record retention policy, Boehman said.
Over the course of the past year, UR has made several policy updates related to record retention, Boehman said. As a result, Shannon Sinclair, UR vice president and general counsel, approached the advisers of the Honor Councils -- Genoni and Boehman -- saying that based on the new policy, the honor code was out of compliance with record retention, Boehman said.
UR's record retention schedule on the registrar’s website was last updated in June 2011 but is being updated, wrote Jessica McKenna, reporting and compliance manager for the registrar’s office, in an email to The Collegian on Dec. 3.
According to the Library of Virginia Records Retention And Disposition Schedule, colleges and universities currently have a scheduled retention period of three years for student Honor Council convictions. However, UR is trying to maintain consistency among the times it retains different records, such as to conduct council violations, Boehman said.
“The record retention periods specified in the University’s record retention policy are based on state or federal laws and regulations, where applicable, and on best practices when there is not a specific state or federal statute or regulation governing the retention period of specific records," Sinclair wrote in a Dec. 2 email to The Collegian. Sinclair and other officials did not specify which record led to the university increasing the honor sanction from two years to seven years.
The deans said they did not expect the policy change to affect the number of cases brought to the Honor Councils. Honor Councils representatives will be tabling over the final exam period to discourage cheating.
Contact contributor Maddy Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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