Academic Misconduct at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) takes a firm stance against academic misconduct. The university promotes educational integrity principles and reinforces them through its Honor Code Policy and the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity. Upon enrollment, students pledge to abide by the university's honor code and receive access to the full policy online.

Although the reporting and hearings process is straightforward, academic misconduct penalties at Virginia Tech are harsher than other universities. Students facing cheating or similar accusations must understand the process thoroughly before scheduling a hearing, especially with so much at stake.

Although you cannot have an advisor from outside the university present, you can still benefit from their expertise. If you receive an academic misconduct charge from Virginia Tech, attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento is by your side.

With years of experience helping students avoid penalties that alter their educational path, advisor Lento boosts your confidence and increases your chances of a favorable resolution.

Virginia Tech Honor Code

Enforcing and promoting academic integrity principles fall on the shoulders of staff members, faculty, and students. The Virginia Tech Honor Code outlines the standards and code of conduct expected of students from enrollment to graduation. The code emphasizes intellectual honesty, academic integrity, and high standards that contribute to the university's community.

Defining Academic Misconduct

Virginia Tech categorizes multiple actions as forms of academic misconduct, emphasizing that the terms are not exclusive to other acts that the university deems as violations.


Using unauthorized means to gain an advantage over peers. Some examples of cheating outlined in the code are:

  • Cheating on tests using unauthorized sources or materials
  • Collaborating with others on assignments without alerting the professor
  • Allowing another person to conduct research or assignments on behalf of a student


Virginia Tech has a more comprehensive definition of plagiarism than usually seen at other universities. The description not only includes the general use of work or ideas without proper credit or citation but also prohibits copying or using programming and computer codes. Examples of plagiarism include:

  • Using data or another person's words without citing or references
  • Paraphrasing work without giving credit to the original author
  • Rewriting an idea and passing it off as one's work


The process of falsifying information or documents of one's work or others. Some examples of falsification include:

  • Forging signatures on a document or certification
  • Asking for a review of a completed exam after a student changes the answers to them
  • Falsifying lab or research data
  • Altering grades on exams, quizzes, academic work
  • Changing information on ID cards, reports, certifications, and other similar documents


Providing false data, lab research, information, and documents to professors or the administration. Examples of this violation are:

  • Providing false lab data
  • Fabricating a document to excuse an exam absence
  • Altering grades on a transcript and providing it to the university for a transfer request

Multiple Submissions

Using former work in another class without the approval or knowledge of the instructor. Examples include:

  • Submitting an essay done for one class to another professor
  • Altering and revising work from another class and submitting it as original work
  • Using a group work assignment paper in another class


Virginia Tech is one of the few universities that include a complicity clause as a standalone offense instead of adding it as a subsection of the code. Complicity is when a student collaborates with other students to cheat or facilitate cheating. Complicity includes:

  • Letting other students copy one's exam answers
  • Saving test questions and giving them to students
  • Working with other students on academic work without authorization
  • Doing work for another student or vice versa
  • Conspiring with others to commit acts of academic misconduct

All students, faculty members, and university staff must report a suspected act of academic misconduct to the Undergraduate Honor System.

Student Resolution Options

The Undergraduate Honor System oversees the adjudication process and handles code violations at Virginia Tech. If it is the student's first offense, or if the violation is not excessive, a faculty member can speak to the student alone before referring the case to the Undergraduate Honor System.

The faculty member can make recommendations based on the violation, and the student can either accept or reject the sanction. However, if the student receives an “F” grade, the faculty member must report the incident.

If the student does not accept the penalties, they must fill out the Undergraduate Honor System Violation Report Form.

Hearing and Process

Students accused of academic misconduct have the right to a hearing. Members of the hearing panel include three students, two faculty members who have voting privileges, and one student chairperson. Before the hearing, students can attend a pre-hearing meeting to help prepare for the event.

Panel members hear the information and statements of the parties and deliberate in private. All participants in the hearing receive a notification of the resolution. A hearing can take place without the attendance of the student or faculty member.

Penalties for Academic Misconduct

Academic violations at Virginia Tech incur harsh penalties and little room for error or multiple infractions. The sanctions mentioned in the code include:

  • Receiving an F on the exam
  • Course grade reduction
  • Complete an Academic Integrity Education Program
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Revoking a degree for a former student

Without a solid defense strategy, students who face an academic misconduct charge at Virginia Tech could lose years of hard work and effort.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Advisor

A policy as strict as that of Virginia Tech can alter the course of your education and even affect your future career prospects. Although you can't have an external advisor present during the hearing, attorney Joseph D. Lento helps you gather the evidence and make a compelling and convincing argument in front of the panel.

Mistakes happen, or you could be completely innocent of the charges, but the process remains the same. Suppose you don't have information and data to back up your argument before a panel, or suppose you make the mistake of not preparing the necessary defense - in such unfortunate instances, you may suffer severe consequences, including not graduating on time, having a disciplinary record that follows you, and so forth. With so much at stake, you must take the necessary precautions as early as possible in the process. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped thousands of students successfully defend against academic misconduct allegations across the nation and he can do the same for you.

If you receive notice of a suspected academic misconduct violation from Virginia Tech, call attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm today to discuss the next steps at 888-535-3686.