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The Honor System is a highly prized way of life to be zealously guarded. It is based on the principle that responsibility for ethical conduct rests with the student. It is an educational asset to the core curriculum that strengthens the quality of veterinarian graduating from the PPVM-University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine by providing an opportunity for students to learn to govern themselves with honor and personal integrity. Honesty and integrity are essential to building successful relationships among professional colleagues and the public. Therefore, these values are foundational to our professional education.

Students in the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine (PPVM) are bound by the PPVM Honor and Behavioral Conduct Code, SDSU Academic Code all other PPVM policies that govern student behavior, and policies/rules of affiliated sites which apply to students in external experiences. Links to many of these policies can be found here: SDSU & PPVM Policies

Reports of alleged violations may be made by anyone (e.g., students, faculty, staff, clients, preceptors) with personal knowledge of student conduct that appears to violate any of the provisions outlined below The PPVM Honor and Behavioral Code is nearly identical to the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine Honor and Behavioral Conduct Code

Composition of the PPVM Honor Committee

Two members will be elected by the class to serve on the Honor Committee and serve a 1-year term. The committee will consist of 4 members, 2 students from Year 1, 2 students from Year 2 and the Director of the PPVM will appoint a Faculty Advisor who is ex officio member.

The Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine Honor and Behavioral Conduct Code

The purpose of this code is to promote ethical standards of personal conduct among students in the PPVM as they receive their first two years of education prior to attending the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Students are expected to always act professionally. This includes but is not limited to class, hospitals, clinics, labs, and field trips. Students will adhere to the ideals represented in the signed statement regarding the code presented upon entering the program. Allegations of academic dishonesty and minor professional behavior violations will be reviewed initially by the Student Honor Committee. All other alleged violations will be handled entirely by the Student Honor Committee or referred to the Director of PPVM. An overview of this process can be found here:

Academic Dishonesty

No student shall attempt to advance their own academic status or advance or retard another person’s academic status unfairly. Faculty are required to state in writing whether an examination, paper, or other graded activity is to be completed independently or as a group and whether reference materials may be accessed. The following are prohibited:

  1. Receiving, giving, or taking aid during an examination, quiz or other activity that contributes to an individual’s score or grade unless the instructor explicitly states that students may work together or use other resources.
  2. Attempt to obtain knowledge of, or answers to, specific examination questions before that examination is taken. Old exams may only be distributed through the PPVM Coordinator with written approval by the faculty member. Any student who possesses an old exam from any other source is required to return that exam to the instructor or to Coordinator. Possession of an old exam from any other source is a violation of the Honor Code.
  3. Plagiarism, i.e., copying or collaboration without the instructor’s permission in preparing papers and reports which are used by the instructor determining course grades.
  4. Falsification –willingly providing false, misleading, or incomplete information orally or in writing; forging or altering without proper authorization any official records or documents.  This includes but is not limited to forging a classmate’s signature on a sign-in sheet for a lab or other activity.

Professional Behavior Expectations

  1. Each student will respect the intellectual and physical property of others and will not use such property without the owner's permission.
  2. Students will recognize each other as colleagues by interacting respectfully and supporting the common goal of learning. They will not create disturbance that interferes with the learning of others.
  3. Students will recognize the role of professors as educators who have an interest in the students’ success. They will keep the common goal of education in mind when interacting with professors, faculty, or administrators, and treat them with respect in all situations.
  4. Students will recognize their role in the hospitals as both a student and an aspiring clinician providing services to clients. When in the hospital, students will always display an attitude of professional service.
  5. Students will address suspected violations of the Honor Code by reporting suspected violations to a Student Honor Committee member or to any faculty or staff member. Often a student is not completely certain a violation has occurred. The student is obligated to report observations if he/she has a reasonable, good faith basis to believe that a violation may have occurred.

Student Honor Committee Role and Process

All reports of potential Honor Code violations will be made to the Student Honor Committee via the Faculty Advisor or any elected student member of the Committee. This includes allegation of academic dishonesty and minor deviations from professional behavior expectations as outlined above. Reports made to student members will be immediately reported to the Faculty Advisor, who will call for a meeting of the Committee. The situation will be described and discussed by the Committee. Based on the initial report, the Committee will make the following determination:

  • The alleged report was not a violation of the Honor Code.
  • The alleged report is a potential violation, and more information is needed.

If the report is a potential violation, the Student Honor Committee will perform an initial review of the case by calling each party individually (accused, accuser, and witnesses) to describe the facts of the case as they know them. The Committee will deliberate and make the following determination:

  • There was no violation of the Honor Code. In some circumstances the Committee might find it helpful to refer the student to the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs for coaching to avoid future issues.
  • A potential violation did occur, and the case will be referred to, and heard, by the Student Honor Committee.

Student Honor Committee Role and Process

The Student Honor Committee is ultimately responsible for oversight and enforcement of the Honor and Behavioral Conduct Code. The Student Honor Committee is also responsible for review of all other potential behavioral violations including allegations of serious professionalism violations that go beyond the jurisdiction of the Honor Case Commission. Alleged violations should be reported to the Director of PPVM. Students will be subject to Committee recommendations, sanctions, or dismissal for the following behaviors:

  1. Conduct which violates any of the following behavior codes: SDSU Student Conduct Code, SDSU Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences policies that apply to students; policies/rules of affiliated sites which apply to students in a clinical experience.
  2. Conduct which violates behavioral and/or ethical standards of the veterinary professions; disrupts the operations of the University, PPVM or clinical training sites; or disregards the rights or welfare of patients, clients, fellow students, college/clinical staff, or other individuals.
  3. Unlawful conduct or egregious behavior within or outside the South Dakota State University community which impairs the student’s capacity to function as a veterinary student/prospective veterinarian.

Students are expected to review and be knowledgeable about these policies. Behaviors that may violate one or more of the above provisions include but are not limited to the following examples:

  • Students will not contribute to, or engage in, any activity which disrupts or obstructs teaching, research, or clinical service.
  • Students may not engage in threatening, harassing or assaultive conduct.
  • Students may not engage in theft, property damage or vandalism.
  • Students will not attend classes, labs, clinical or other academic settings (on or off campus) while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs.
  • Each student recognizes that his/her primary responsibility while on clinical rotations is the care of his/her patients. The patient's welfare has precedence over a student's personal educational objectives. The student will respect every client and patient's privacy and dignity and will maintain confidentiality regarding information about clients and patients. Each student recognizes his/her responsibility to consult with the clinicians or house officers regarding each patient's management.

Drafted August 19, 2021