“On my honor, I pledge that I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment.”
This sentence, one that students become exceedingly familiar with following Midterm and Final exams, is part of a greater commitment to honor that the UVa community touts. The University of Virginia prides itself on being rooted in “honor.” But the honor code is much more than refusing aid on an assignment or being able to leave your backpack on the second floor of Clem while you pick up your Roots bowl. Students, upon their entrance to the University, make a commitment to not lie, cheat, or steal not only on grounds, but wherever they represent themselves as an affiliate of the University.
Established in 1842, The Honor Code has become intertwined with the tradition of the University itself, which is what makes the most recent changes to it that much more significant. This past month, UVa students voted to reinstate the expulsion policy, which allows for the expulsion of students after an infraction.
One year prior, this policy was previously condemned for its life altering and unforgiving system, especially when acknowledging that Students of color have been disproportionately impacted. This condemnation resulted in the end of the single sanction policy, until now.
Although students voted to reinstate the expulsion, only extreme cases will reach this point. The new multi-sanction system will work on a case by case basis while continuing to present the threat of expulsion. Cville Daily noted, “The new honor circumstances enable personalized trials in which students will be holistically evaluated. The Honor Committee cites ‘amends, education, leaves of absence, and expulsion’ as possible sanctions.”
Photo Courtesy of The University of Virginia