Honor System and Faculty

The University's Honor System – based on the concept of a Community of Trust – was established in 1842 and is the oldest entirely student-run honor system in the country. While the Honor System is student-run and all Honor cases are investigated and adjudicated solely by students, faculty members have an important role within the System. 

The organization, rules, and procedures of the Honor Committee are established in its Constitution and Bylaws, which are available on the Honor Committee website. These governing documents include Honor Offense criteria, retraction provisions, reporting mechanisms, investigation/hearing procedures, and possible sanctions. Questions regarding the Honor System or any aspect of Honor Committee practice or procedure should be addressed directly to the Honor Committee by phone (434-924-7602) or through its website.

  • Honor Offenses are defined as a significant act of lying, cheating, or stealing that a student knew or should have known might constitute an Honor Offense. In this context, cheating includes academic fraud.
  • The Honor Committee recommends that faculty be as explicit as possible in their syllabi and communications with students as to what may constitute cheating in their course.
  • The Honor Committee also recommends requiring all students to write out and sign a pledge on all graded work, affirming the student's commitment to academic integrity.  The standard pledge reads, "On my honor as a student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this assignment/examination."
  • Faculty members who suspect that an Honor Offense has occurred may contact an Honor Advisor or an Honor Committee representative from their school; these discussions are confidential and do not obligate the faculty member to file a formal report. 
  • A faculty member who believes that an investigation has not been conducted properly should notify the Honor Committee or the vice chair for investigations at 434-924-7602. 
  • Faculty members have the discretion to assign grades, or take other appropriate academic measures, regardless of the outcome of an Honor investigation.  The assignment of grades and other academic measures are subject to University policies and procedures, including grade appeals