The Honor System
Initiated in 1842, the Honor System at the University of Virginia originated as an effort to ease tensions between the faculty and the student body. Today, the central purpose of the Honor System is to preserve and protect a Community of Trust in which students assume a high degree of responsibility in the pursuit of their intellectual, personal, and collective development.
The Honor Committee is ultimately responsible for the maintenance and administration of the Honor System. Twenty-seven elected student representatives from throughout the University serve on the committee. Assisting the committee in its work are 100 support officers from the student body.
For additional information about the Honor Committee and what constitutes an Honor offense, see Policies of Note: The Honor System.
The Judiciary Committee
The University Judiciary Committee was established to “promote the principles of civility and self-discipline that are appropriate to the conduct of an academic community.” The UJC is responsible for investigating and reviewing complaints of student misconduct, as defined by the 12 Standards of Conduct adopted by the University’s Board of Visitors.
The First-Year Judiciary Committee, a subcommittee of the UJC composed of 12 first-year students, has jurisdiction over violations committed by first-year students.
Students interested in becoming involved will find opportunities to participate as a first-year judge, support officer, or elected representative and judge.
More information about the Standards of Conduct is available in Policies of Note: Standards of Conduct.
On behalf of the Honor Committee and the University Judiciary Committee, it is our pleasure to welcome you and your loved ones to the University of Virginia. This truly is an exceptional place to pursue an education. At UVA, this education extends well beyond the confines of the classroom. By signing their application for admission, your student has already become a part of the University’s Community of Trust – a community supported and maintained, in part, by the Honor Committee and the University Judiciary Committee.
Each member of the Community of Trust commits to live a life of integrity and, specifically, to never lie, cheat, or steal. This commitment means that every UVA student is assumed to be honorable, and accordingly, that their word and work are presumed trustworthy. Students steward the Community by explicitly pledging their integrity as well as assuming responsibility for administration of the Honor System. Students exercise exclusive control of the Honor Committee constitution, thus setting and continually reaffirming the system’s underlying philosophy. The hallmark of this philosophy, and the high standard it sets, has not changed in more than 170 years: If a student’s peers ﬁnd a fellow student guilty of committing an Honor offense, the consequence is permanent dismissal from the University. Guided by this standard, generations of students have challenged themselves to do what is right and, in the process, have discovered the intrinsic value of living honorably.
The fundamental principles of respect and integrity, which serve as the foundation of the Community of Trust, also contribute to maintaining student safety. By entering this University, students accept responsibility to respect the physical welfare of all persons in the University community; ensure that property belonging to the University or members of this community is protected from misuse and harm; and maintain an atmosphere conducive to education and scholarship. Since its establishment in 1955, the University Judiciary Committee has ensured that these principles remain in place by investigating and adjudicating alleged violations of the University’s Standards of Conduct. These proceedings are entirely student-run and can result in a wide range of possible sanctions designed to fulfill the University Judiciary Committee’s educational mission.
Unsurprisingly, many alumni believe that the Community of Trust is the greatest gift left to current students. Incoming students are the newest stewards of this proud and enduring tradition. With the ongoing celebration of the University’s bicentennial, we welcome you and your loved one into this community and challenge you to help define its course throughout our next century.
Welcome to the University!
Lillie Lyon, Chair, Honor Committee
Shannon Cason, Chair, University Judiciary Committee