University of Virginia Academic Integrity Advisor

The University of Virginia has been committed to innovation since its inception in 1819. As a leading institution of higher learning, the University of Virginia has the authority to maintain order and to exclude students who disrupt the educational process.

The University of Virginia requires students to abide by a strict honor code. Students who violate these rules are subject to investigation and punishments. The university also has a zero-tolerance policy for academic fraud. Students who violate the honor code may face dismissal from the university — even for a first-time offense.

In this article, we'll review the ins and outs of the University of Virginia's honor code. We'll also discuss how the university handles infractions and how an advisor can help students accused of violating honor code policies.

The University of Virginia Honor Code

The University of Virginia Honor Code sets the standard for student behavior. For over 175 years, the university has held students accountable for this pledge. The Honor Code states that no student will lie, cheat, or steal. Students who violate this code must accept the consequences.

The University of Virginia follows a single-sanction policy for students found guilty of breaking the Honor Code. Under this policy, a single violation of the Honor Code results in permanent dismissal from the school.

Academic Fraud

The University of Virginia considers academic fraud a form of cheating. Since the Honor Code forbids cheating, the school may punish any student caught participating in academic fraud. The University of Virginia Honor Committee considers the following activities examples of academic fraud:


Using someone else's work or ideas and presenting them as your own. Students at the University of Virginia must cite sources and acknowledge others' works. Common examples include taking a passage from a book or paraphrasing text without quoting the original author.

Multiple Submission

Using a previously submitted work to fulfill academic requirements in another class without permission. The university may find students guilty of multiple submissions even if they alter or modify the original work.

False Citation

Falsely attributing work to a source that was not from the referenced material or citing non-included work.

False Data

Fabricating or altering data to deliberately mislead others. The university can punish students for changing data to alter experiment results or to receive a better grade.

Improper Citation of Internet Resources

Failing to use proper citation of internet sources. Since many internet sources do not include reliable information, the University of Virginia considers improper citation of these items a form of academic fraud.

The University of Virginia Investigation Process

University of Virginia students accused of academic fraud must go through an honor investigation. The university will notify the student of the alleged infraction before going through an informed refraction meeting. If the university believes the student committed fraud, they will conduct a formal investigation.

A rotating panel of Honor Committee members will meet to review the incident. If a majority of the panel believes it was “more likely than not” that the student committed the infraction, the Honor Committee will make a formal accusation.

If the Honor Committee accuses a student of an infraction, the student must request an honor hearing. Failing to request a hearing will result in an admission of guilt and removal from the university. During the hearing, students can select counsel to advise them.

Honor Hearing Results and Sanctions

After reviewing the evidence, the Honor Committee will determine whether or not the student is guilty of the alleged offense. The Honor Committee must prove three criteria: act, knowledge, and significance.

The university will immediately dismiss students guilty of honor offenses. Students will also receive an “enrollment discontinued” notation on their transcript, making it difficult to attend other higher education institutions. The university will also revoke their degree if the hearing occurred after graduation.

Students can also file an appeal if there is new evidence that could impact the Honor Committee's decision. If the university grants the appeal, students can go through a new hearing or have their charges dismissed.

What is Informed Refraction?

Since the University of Virginia has a zero-tolerance policy for Honor Code infractions, a single violation results in expulsion from the school. The university provides students with one alternative to dismissal: Informed Refraction.

Informed Refraction allows students to admit guilt for honor offenses in exchange for a reduced sanction. Students can file an Informed Refraction form within seven days of receiving notification of the infraction. By completing this form, students admit to the infraction and agree to make amends for their actions.

The student must then take a two-semester leave of absence from the university. The University of Virginia only allows students to use Informed Refraction once. Multiple infractions result in immediate dismissal from the school.

How an Advisor Can Help

There's no denying that breaking the University of Virginia's Honor Code can be detrimental. Even a first-time infraction can lead to expulsion from the university and threaten your academic career.

If the University of Virginia charges you with an Honor Code violation, you must contact a student defense attorney right away. They can review your Notice Letter and advise you on your best route to proceed.

Although the University of Virginia provides students with due process, hearings are not always fair. The university also gives you only seven days to file an Informed Refraction, which can have ramifications on your academic career. You should consult with an attorney before admitting guilt or attending a disciplinary hearing. Your future depends on it.

Your Academic Integrity Advisor

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent many years defending students accused of academic integrity infractions. He can help you create a defense, review evidence, and fight for a successful outcome. Don't let an academic fraud accusation derail your life. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation today.