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Revision as of 18:50, 9 June 2019


Board of Control

"No member of the Caltech community shall take unfair advantage of any other member of the Caltech community."

The Board of Control (BoC) is a committee charged with hearing cases of potential Honor System violations among undergraduates. The committee membership is entirely undergraduate. Decisions are reviewed by the Dean of Students.

Cases are organized by the BoC Chair and BoC Secretaries. Each case is heard and decided by a board of seven BoC representatives selected from the pool of current BoC representatives. Former BoC representatives and current House presidents may be asked to sit on cases if necessary.


Current Representatives

Name Description
Allison Wang Chair
Cole Brabec Co-Secretary
Nicholas Currault Co-Secretary
Matthew Bauer Avery
Alexander Pan Avery
Elise Liu Blacker
Beryl Hovis-Afflerbach Blacker
Maggie Lee Dabney
Simon Lequar Dabney
Jennifer Yu Fleming
Meena Hari Fleming
Emily Du Lloyd
Timothy Yao Lloyd
Anish Senapati Page
Sarah Zou Page
Celine Boucher Ricketts
Noah Yared Ricketts
Eman Elsheikh Ruddock
Tommy Alford Off-Campus (acting)
Alden Rogers At-Large
Noah Ortiz At-Large
Moya Ly At-Large
Helena Guan At-Large
Shubh Agrawal At-Large

Former Representatives

Name Description
Yelim Lee Avery
Zihao Qi Avery
Sara Fish Blacker
Ethan Jaszewski Blacker
Sarida Pratuangtham Dabney
Nayla Abney Fleming
Varun Shanker Fleming
Jessica Sun Lloyd
Matthew Zeitlin Lloyd
Yu Jin Kim Page
Matthew Riker Page
Neymika Jain Ricketts
Izzy Muise Ricketts
Cody Lim Ruddock
Mahi Gokuli Ruddock
Maria De Angelis At-Large
Tara Porter At-Large
Andrew Zhou At-Large
Maitreyi Nair Avery
Daniel Mark Avery
Megan Durney Blacker
Camilla Ora Blacker
Lily Zhang Dabney
Anuj Chadha Fleming
Ariel Stiber Fleming
Kaylor Cruz Lloyd
Nivetha Karthikeyan Lloyd
Kelly Liu Page
Sean Yu Page
Karen Pham Ricketts
Rebecca Mikofsky Ricketts
Siddharth Kurella Ruddock
Iman Wahle Ruddock
Sarah Crucilla Off-Campus
Katherine Guo At-Large
Surya Mathialagan At-Large
Joshua Chen Avery
Kavya Sreedhar Avery
Chris Johnstone Blacker
David Gunby Dabney
Wenqing Xu Dabney
Michelle Marasigan Fleming
Charles Ross Fleming
Kai Klocke Lloyd
Shreya Ramachandran Lloyd
Luke Juusola Page
Grace Xiong Page
Jake Mattinson Ricketts
Luiza Coelho Ricketts
Akshay Srivastava Ruddock
Gyu Jang Ruddock
Vaishnavi Shrivastava At-Large
Chris Dosen At-Large


General Information

For general information on BoC cases you can consult the Honor Code Handbook (see the Publications Section). Much of the information below is drawn/summarized from this handbook.

How Cases Work

Cases begin with a report of a potential Honor System violation. After receiving the report the chair and secretary for the case will meet separately with defendants and other relevant people in preliminary meeting to share the reported concern and to discuss general circumstances around the incident under investigation.

At this point the chair and secretary may dismiss the case without proceeding to a full hearing. If there is a significant lack of evidence or if it is abundantly clear that a defendant has not committed an Honor Code violation then the chair and secretary may dismiss the case without a full Board hearing. In the case of any ambiguity the chair and secretary will err on the side of proceeding to a full Board hearing. Please understand that the decision to proceed to a full Board hearing does NOT imply your guilt and does NOT mean you will be convicted. Plenty of cases get dismissed before the full Board.

If the case goes to a full Board hearing, sometime in the next couple of weeks the chair and secretary will organize an appropriate meeting time with the defendant(s) and witnesses. The defendant is asked to submit any dismissal requests (people that he knows well or feels would be unfairly biased); after the dismissals are processed a board of seven representatives is assembled. At this meeting the BoC will review all the relevant evidence and speak with the defendants and any relevant witnesses. Defendants will be shown all the concerns of the Board and will be given reasonable opportunity to respond. The chair and secretary who collected the report and ran the preliminary investigation will not have a vote on the Board.

After the Board has reviewed all relevant evidence and spoken with all relevant people, they will deliberate until a decision is reached.


The Board makes up to three decisions: a conviction decision, a nullification decision, and a protection decision. (The last two, nullification and protection, are only made if the defendant is convicted.) All cases are unique and all decisions are made on a case-by-case basis; the following is merely meant to give a general impression of how the Board reaches its decisions, and is by no means a strict criterion by which cases are decided.

Conviction: Whether or not an Honor Code you have committed an Honor Code violation. The standards for conviction are somewhat analogous to the "preponderance of evidence" standard used in US civil courts. This decision is primarily evidence-based; if the Board believes there is not enough evidence then you will be dismissed. A 6/7 vote is required for conviction and a 4/7 vote is sufficient for dismissal.

Nullification: How to remove the unfair advantage gained. This decision is meant to be as precise as possible. For example, if a person is convicted for plagiarizing a paragraph of a long paper, then the essay will be submitted for re-grading with the plagiarized paragraph removed. If a person is found to have copied certain problems from another student's exam, then credit for only these problems will be removed. The Board is careful to remove credit only for those things which we believe (and have evidence to support this belief) have been unfairly gained. Thus the intent is that a student will be given credit for all portions of the assignment that were done fairly. A 6/7 vote is required for the nullification decision.

Protection: How to protect the Caltech community from future violations. At this point the Board is informed of any previous Honor System violations committed by the defendant. This decision is very much dependent on circumstances. Being straightforward and honest with the Board, whether or not you have any prior violations, and your understanding of and respect for the Honor Code are all important for this decision. This decision requires a 6/7 vote for approval.

In cases where a defendant has been straightforward with the Board and has no prior conviction, the BoC will make an education-focused protection decision. Educational decisions may be (for example) a reflective essay, a meeting with representatives of the Board to discuss your case and how to avoid future Honor Code violations, or a meeting to discuss how to avoid plagiarism.

In cases where a defendant has been dishonest or who has one or multiple prior convictions, the BoC will consider stronger measures. A defendant may be given a unit cap for future terms of enrollment, or may be required to meet periodically with BoC reps to discuss the status of their work. In the more extreme cases, if the Board feels that you pose an immediate threat to the community or that the violations will continue unless some more serious action is taken, you may be placed on academic suspension. Defendants who have been put on leave are eligible to apply for reinstatement after a set number of terms has passed. Expulsion is academic suspension without the possibility of future reinstatement. Expulsion decisions are extremely rare, and are reserved for defendants who cannot be trusted in the community at any point in the future.


If you have any questions about the BoC or the Honor System, please feel free to consult any current or former BoC representative. You may find the FAQ useful:

Frequently Asked Questions

Specific information

If you are currently involved in a BoC case and/or want more specific information about case proceedings, please feel free to consult any current or former BoC representative. You may also find the following pages useful:

Information for Defendants

Information for Reporters

Information for Witnesses

Useful Links

Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism -- Information on Caltech's Hixon Writing Center website on avoiding plagiarism and proper citation.