Founded in 1842, the Honor System is one of the University’s most cherished institutions. Based on the principle that University students want to be trusted, the Honor System helps create and strengthen a school-wide community of trust.
Students at the University make a commitment not to lie, cheat or steal within Charlottesville, Albemarle County, or where they represent themselves as University students. Because they have made this commitment, students are trusted by peers, faculty members, administrators, and community residents alike. Students conduct themselves with integrity and are presumed honorable until proven otherwise.
Students are recruited and trained by the Honor Committee to serve as advisors and to provide counsel. Students investigate Honor allegations, assist and support accused students through the Honor process, and work with accused students in their defense at trial. Honor jury panels are similarly comprised entirely of students. While anyone may report alleged Honor violations, the process is administered entirely by students.
The vitality of the Honor System depends upon the willingness of students to uphold the high standards set by their peers. When a student is formally accused of an Honor offense following investigation, that student may elect to either (1) leave the University, without requesting a trial (in which case that student will be deemed to have admitted guilt, whether or not such an admission is expressly made), or (2) request an Honor trial. Any student found guilty of an Honor offense, or deemed to have admitted guilt after having left without requesting a trial, will be permanently dismissed from the University. The notation “Enrollment Discontinued” will be placed on the student’s transcript, without specific reference to the Honor proceedings. In the case of a student found guilty of an Honor offense following graduation, or deemed to have admitted guilt without requesting a trial after graduation, the General Faculty of the University may undertake proceedings to revoke that student’s degree. The rules of the Honor System apply to any person who was a University student at the time an alleged Honor offense was committed, so long as a case is reported within two years thereafter.
All students who enroll at the University, including those attending summer session only, benefit from the freedom and security provided by the Honor System; every student must agree to live by and support the spirit of honor. Applicants who are not prepared to embrace this freedom and accept this responsibility should not apply for admission.
This is intended as a brief summary of some important aspects of the University’s Honor System. For more information, visit www.virginia.edu/honor. If you have further questions, please call the Committee at (434) 924-7602.
All summer session students who have not previously attended the University in residence within the past calendar year will attend scheduled meetings in which the meaning of the System is discussed. More information about mandatory Honor Orientation Sessions is available at www.virginia.edu/summer.