Codes of Ethical Student Conduct: Best Values and Responsibilities
Presentation written by:
Presentation supervised by: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elena M. BARBU, firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of contents
- Code of Ethics for students: core values
- Student responsibility towards the members of the University
- Student responsibility towards the University itself
The Code of Student Conduct has been formulated to provide a clear statement of the University’s expectations of students in respect of academic matters and personal behaviour.
It addresses the interdependent duties, rights and responsibilities of faculty members and educational partners. Moreover, it seeks to encourage continued reflection and thoughtful response to ethical issues. It does not seek definitive answers to all ethical questions or situations. Rather, it seeks to outline the guiding principles to ethical conduct and to identify major issues.
- Code of Ethics for students – Core values
This section aims to presents broad values and ethical principles, based on our analysis of 10 ethical codes from different universities all around the world. Indeed, we noticed that even if Codes of Ethics for students may differ from an institution to an other, there are 7 values that seem universal.
Integrity is defined as, “Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”Having integrity means being totally honest and truthful in every part of your life. By making the commitment to become a totally honest person, you will be doing more to ensure your success and happiness in life than anything else you can ever do.
Students with integrity will work hard to earn their degrees in a fair and honest way by putting in the hours to study and complete assignments. When a student intentionally cheats through university, this integrity is compromised and the value of the degree and the morals of the individual are diminished. This lack of credibility then follows you into the workforce and can impact your professional goals. Nobody wants a doctor who cheated to get his medical degree to perform a life or death surgery on them or a bad engineer to build bridges.
During our research, we noticed that most of the university had an academic warning on their website concerning the importance of integrity. For example, the Arizona States University says « If a student violates both the academic integrity provision and additional provisions of the Student Code of Conduct, both the college and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will review the matter ».
In fact, many studies have found that people who engage in academically dishonest practices in school are significantly more likely to be dishonest, cheat, or even commit crimes like fraud or stealing in the workplace.
Respect could be defined as « a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way. ». Being respectful towards people is a key aspect in life in order to form and maintain positive relationships in order to become successful. If you treat them with kindness, they will be kind back. One way to show respect towards other people to treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Being open-minded means you have a willingness to listen to other ideas and opinions and consider the possibility that you are wrong or may change your own perspective.
Open-mindedness can advance mutual understanding, which accommodates the ideal of students working constructively and cohesively toward achieving common goals, despite intense disagreement.
The word “Discipline” comes from the word “Disciple” meaning a learner. Discipline means tearing to obey certain rules. Without it, there will be complete chaos and disorder everywhere in our society. There are some rules that control our activities. If we do not respect these rules, our life will be like a boat without the boatman.
The ability for an individual to have self-restraint allows them to behave in a consistently stringent and controlled manner. A lack of this ability can have disastrous results. Do you think a company is going to tolerate a person who is consistently late to work or who procrastinates in doing their work ? It is evident how these behaviors will weaken the image of a business.
Tolerance can be seen as the willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own. Tolerance means how to see the world from the perspective of others, not just your perspective.
Tolerance plays an important role in our everyday life in our society. Never before have we had so many opportunities to connect and communicate with different cultures and languages.
Our society has become increasingly multicultural, enriched by the aspirations of migrants, transnationals, displaced peoples,… Tensions arising from religious, cultural and linguistic difference are increasing, but tolerance an effective and sustainable way of ensuring our young people understand diversity and that’s why this value is so present in codes of ethical student conduct.
f) Team spirit
Team spirit can be defined as when the members of a group want the team to succeed. Team spirit improves the ability of individuals to work together and boosts morale.
In an academic context, this is an opportunity to make friends and talk with others. Each student can benefit on a personal level from teamwork. A team of students must actively listen to each other, articulate ideas and use genuinely constructive criticism to be effective.
g) Sense of responsibility
Responsibility is one of the traits of our character which means that a person is able to respond for his actions, is able to take some duties and to face certain consequences of the actions that may occur.
People are not born with a sens of responsibility, it is something every person should cultivate in themselves, it should become a part of one’s personality. Responsible people can be trusted, and this benefits both the person and the people counting on the responsible person.
All these values are the reason why an Ethical Code of Conduct is relevant for any academic institution. To make sure that every student is aware of what he can and what he cannot do, Students are expected to adhere to and practice the Code of Ethics on an academic level. The followings parts aim to summarize how the values we talked about are represented inside every student code.
- Student responsibilities towards the members of the University
The code of ethical students defines the rights and students’ responsibilities. These rights and responsibilities are at the root of the relationship between members of the university community, and students. It has been formulated to provide a clear statement of the University’s expectations of students in respect of academic matters and personal behavior. Students have responsibilities towards professors, university employees and other students.
To establish a perfect harmony between teachers and students the University should recognize and value the diversity of student experiences and expectations, and is committed to treating students, both academically and personally, in a fair and transparent manner. All students, in return, are required to comply with the requirements set down in this Code of Conduct. This is how the code adapts to the diversity of students.
a) Responsibilities towards professors
In China, professors enjoy the highest social status. Next are Greece, Turkey and South Korea among countries where students have the highest respect for their professors in a ranking conducted in 2013 by the Varkey GEMS Foundation, an international educational foundation. France occupies a median position according to this survey conducted with 1000 adults in each of the 21 countries studied.
This study reveals cultural differences in how the role of Professor is perceived by Students, says Professor Dolton, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and Dean of Research at the Center for Economic Performance of the School of Economics in London. It includes some results that may seem unexpected : Finland, often perceived as a model of high quality recruitment and high status teachers, is in the second half of the rankings, in 13th place, along with Germany (16th) and Japan (17th) among the lowest ranked countries.
In order to establish a perfect cohesion within the University, students have obligations towards their professors. Same rules are found in most university codes of conduct.
It is important that students return their assignments on time so that the teacher respects his program and does not penalize other students.
Do not be late
Punctuality is a principle that is generally written into the rules of the Codes. However, there are differences in the perception of punctuality between countries due to the difference of cultures.
There are countries that has a rigorous time management approach, such as in Germany, Scandinavia, the United States, or Great Britain.
Conversely, if you live in France or in the north of Italy arriving six or seven minutes late is still “basically to the hour.
There are also countries belong to a culture that has a flexible conception of time, as is the case in the Middle East, Africa, India or South America, the weather may have a completely different elasticity for you.
This explains why some professors are more tolerant about delays.
b) Responsibilities towards other students
The notions of civism, respect and, even more, politeness may seem obsolete and even archaic in our time when individualism sometimes makes us forget the existence of others. Collaboration, mutual aid and harmonious relations are very important values that students should share.
Do not steal the colleagues’ material
Universities provide severe penalties for theft. However, most Western universities are clearing themselves from the responsibility of theft. On the other side, in Gulf States Universities, thefts are severely punished and security cameras are set up. We can suppose that there is a link with the strong influence of the Moslem religion which represses strongly any type of theft. Besides the fact that the thefts are incivilities, they are punished legally.
Fraud and plagiarism on other Students
The code of ethical students has regulations in place governing fraud and plagiarism. Students who have committed serious fraud may have their enrollment terminated and be no longer allowed to finish their study programme. There are programmes that allow to check for plagiarism on other Students.
In France, plagiarism and fraud lead to heavy penalties, including the ban on taking national examinations for several years.
Universities are increasingly providing sanctions for discrimination. Discrimination occurs when there is a difference in treatment between persons that is not justified by a legitimate motive.
In France there are financial penalties and years of imprisonment. Sanctions are very different in function of Universities.
c) Responsibilities towards University employees
All codes generally state that employees must be respected.
Students have to treat all employees, honorary appointees, consultants, contractors, volunteers any other members of the public and other students with respect, dignity, impartiality, courtesy and sensitivity maintain a cooperative and collaborative approach to inter-personal relationships. They have to act honestly and ethically in their dealings with University employees, honorary appointees, consultants, contractors, volunteers, any other members of the public and other students and respect the privacy of employees, honorary appointees, consultants, contractors, volunteers any other members of the public and other students.
- Student responsibilities towards the University itself
We have seen in the previous section that students have certain responsibilities to have towards university members who include teachers, students in general, but also all supervisory or maintenance staff. It turns out that students also have responsibilities regarding the university itself. By this is meant behaviors to be held within the institution and when the student is brought to represent his university outside he has responsibilities outside the institution.
Within the institution
As we said, there are first of all codes to respect within the educational institution itself. Most of the time these codes are mentioned in a charter or bylaws, but sometimes these codes, which may be cultural, are presumed to be acquired.
Make sure you respect the dress code
In some countries, clothing is an element that is mentioned in students’ codes of ethics. In France it is less the case when leaving high school. However, it is best to have a suitable outfit, appropriate to an educational institution. That is to say, the dress code of the student must meet the criteria of decency. According to the Larousse dictionary, decency is “what should be done or said in a society”, it is a living knowledge.
In another way, some clothes are strictly prohibited and quoted in ethical codes. This is the case for example in the Cégep code of conduct relating to the student population it is mentioned that clothing that does not cover the trunk or that contain insults, racist, sexist statements are prohibited.
In some parts of an establishment a dress code may be imposed or strictly prohibited. This is particularly the case in laboratories, premises dedicated to sports. This is a health and safety issue for students.
Do not degrade the premises
The environment in which the students evolve is the premises of their university but also more generally the university campus.
In terms of ethical code, students have a duty to respect the local and the entire public domain. By this is meant not to degrade the premises, not to steal the property of the public property etc … The acts of deterioration or deterioration made to the furniture, to the buildings are generally sanctioned by the training for its author of the refund of restoration costs.
The institution in which the student evolves is therefore a property of the public, collective domain that must be protected and maintained in the state. For this it is asked to the students a certain cleanliness. That is to say, do not throw trash elsewhere than in a trash provided for this purpose.
Do not eat in places where it is advisable not to do so
For reasons of hygiene, cleanliness and safety (for allergies) it is forbidden to eat in certain places where this prohibition is posted, as is the case in some classrooms.
No smoking in the establishment
In France and lot of countries it is forbidden to smoke in educational and training establishments for students but also staff. These are collective places, mostly public, so smoking could harm the health of people sharing this place.
Do not post posters where it is forbidden
For any display on the walls of a university establishment requires prior agreement and some places are prohibited display. Students have a duty to respect that.
Use of computer tools and laboratories appropriately
Students, in their curriculum, are often brought to use the computer equipment of the university and sometimes, depending on the curriculum, the laboratory equipment. When using these materials, there may be excesses, such as illegally downloading a movie, music from a university computer, hacking someone’s account, and so on. Students must sign a charter and commit to respecting it in order to use computer equipment or the laboratory. By this charter the student agrees to have a correct and ethical use of tools available.
Do not organize events without permission
At the same point that postings cannot be done without permission, events cannot be organized without the permission of the institution or university in question. It’s about the safety of everyone, respect for others because organizing an event means “monopolizing” a place and maybe making noise.
b) Outside the institution
The application of ethical codes is not confined to internal use at the institution. Students are representatives of their university outside of the university and must therefore behave in the same way.
Contribute to the good reputation of the institution
Reputation is one of the criteria in choosing universities for students. Institutions want to attract as many candidates as possible to have a choice and to have people with great potential among their students. They have every interest in investing time and money on their reputation. Students also have this interest. In France, for example, companies have a mandatory apprenticeship tax and choose the school in which they wish to invest this amount. In addition, for all students to promote a good image of their university to companies allows future students to find an internship or work more easily.
There are all kinds of ways to contribute to the influence of one’s university or school. Students who participate in activities outside the university must behave in a manner consistent with their role as a representative of the university. This can be during stays abroad, as part of exchange in partner universities, internship abroad but also in all companies in the country of origin. This requires good behavior at home or abroad, showing the knowledge acquired and speaking well of the university and the city of origin. During internships, company presence for work-study or apprenticeship, students have to adopt ethical practices as much as they do for the university. “Behave in a professional, ethical and respectful manner in all its relations with the University’s learning partners during internships and internships ». Students can also engage in projects or associations to contribute to this reputation. They can participate in communications operations such as fairs, open houses, events or by holding a web page / Facebook.
New York University, Code of ethical conduct, available on https://www.nyu.edu/about/policies-guidelines-compliance/policies-and-guidelines/code-of-ethical-conduct.html
Indian Institute of Science, Students code of conduct, available on http://www.iisc.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/iisc_students-code-of-conduct.pdf
University of Ontario, Student code of ethics, available on http://www.engineering.uoit.ca/undergraduate/student-support-services/student-policies/student-code-of-ethics.php
University of Sydney, Code of conducts for student, available on http://sydney.edu.au/policies/showdoc.aspx?recnum=PDOC2011%2F215&RendNum=0
Université Lumière Lyon 2, Règlement intérieur de l’Université Lumière Lyon 2, available on https://www.univ-lyon2.fr/universite/gouvernance/reglement-interieur-de-l-universite-lumiere-lyon-2-459837.kjsp?RH=Gouvernance
Université de Montreal, Code éthique, available on https://ethiqueclinique.umontreal.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/code_ethique.pdf
Université Laval, Code éthique de la faculté des sciences de l’administration, available on www4.fsa.ulaval.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Codedethique2010-10.pdf
University of Western Australia, UWA Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct, available on http://www.hr.uwa.edu.au/policies/policies/conduct/code
University of Iceland, Code of ethics, available on http://english.hi.is/university/code_ethics
University of Westminster, Student code of conduct, available on https://www.westminster.ac.uk/study/current-students/resources/student-code-of-conduct
German educational research association, Code of ethics of DGfE, available on http://www.dgfe.de/en/service/code-of-ethics.html
Elite daily, Why discipline is so important, available on https://www.elitedaily.com/life/why-discipline-is-so-important
Studyrama, Discrimination à l’université, available on http://www.studyrama.com/vie-etudiante/se-defendre-vos-droits/discrimination-a-l-universite
Digischool, Dans quels pays les enseignants sont-ils les plus respectés ?, available on https://www.digischool.fr/vie-etudiante/enseignement/plus-haut-degre-respect-enseignants-chinois-17711.html
Tarjamati, Conditions et règlement d’acceptation : Universités saoudiennes, available on http://www.tarjamati.fr/conditions-reglement-dacceptation-universites-saoudiennes/
Pursuit, Teaching Tolerance : The role of Australian schools. https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/teaching-tolerance-the-role-of-australian-schools