Under the University’s Honor System, an Honor offense is defined as a significant act of lying, cheating, or stealing, where the student knew (or a reasonable University of Virginia student should have known) that such an act was or could have been considered an Honor offense. Three criteria determine whether an Honor offense has occurred.
- Act: Was an act of lying, cheating, or stealing committed?
- Knowledge: Did the student know, or should a reasonable University of Virginia student have known, that the act in question was or could have been considered lying, cheating, or stealing? (Ignorance of the scope of the Honor System is not considered a defense.)
- Significance: Would open toleration of the act in question be inconsistent with the Community of Trust?
If a student’s peers find her or him guilty of committing an Honor offense, the consequence is permanent dismissal from the University. A student who is convicted of an Honor offense following graduation will generally have her or his degree revoked by the General Faculty. Dismissed students may receive assistance from the vice president and chief student affairs officer as they apply to transfer to another institution.
A student who has committed a dishonorable act and wishes to make amends has two options. Before the student has reason to believe the act in question has come under suspicion by anyone, she or he may file a “conscientious retraction,” which, if both valid and complete, operates to exonerate the student as to the act in question. After a student has been reported to the Honor Committee, she or he may file an “informed retraction,“ which allows students to take a two-semester leave of absence before recommitting to the Community of Trust.
For details and further information about the Honor System, see the Honor Committee’s website or call 434.924.7602.