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Chapter 3: Students & Student Affairs

3.1 The Student Body

The student body consists of about one-third graduate and professional students and about two-thirds undergraduates. In each case, selective admissions policies are in effect. About 20,000 apply for the graduate and professional schools and about twelve percent of these enroll each year. There are nearly 18,000 applications for undergraduate admissions, from which about 3,000 first-year students and about 800 transfer applicants are selected. The Office of Institutional Assessment and Studies keeps up to date information on student enrollment and other university data.

Demonstrated academic achievement in a challenging secondary school environment is the primary criterion for admission to the first-year undergraduate class. Eighty-six percent rank in the upper tenth of their classes and the average combined score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test is above 1300. About 69 percent are Virginians, 20 percent come from the northeastern states. The remainder come from across the nation and, increasingly, from international sources. In recent years, more than 25 percent of the entering undergraduate class has consisted of African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and international students.

Several specially selected groups are included in the entering class: the Echols Scholars in the College of Arts and Sciences; the Rodman Scholars in the School of Engineering and Applied Science; and the Jefferson Scholars, who are selected by the Alumni Association and supported for four years of undergraduate study and five renewable years of graduate study.

Students coming directly from secondary school enter the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Architecture, or the School of Nursing. The McIntire School of Commerce admits students after two years of undergraduate study, either here or elsewhere. The Curry School of Education admits students to the five-year BA/MT program after at least one year of study. Students in the program earn a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Arts and Sciences and a Masters of Teaching from the Curry School of Education.

The tone of undergraduate life is set by great reliance on the capacity of students to govern themselves. Student self-governance is the core of the community. Student Council is a University-wide organization primarily concerned with providing more and better services to students. Each of the schools has its own student organization, as do the residential dormitories and many service organizations. Student discipline has been delegated to students since establishment of the Honor System in 1842 and the Judicial System in 1954.

3.2 The Faculty Member and the Honor System

The Honor System, administered by students, is the basis for student self-government. At the heart of the system is the assumption that anyone who enrolls at the University is bound by a code of honor. An Honor offense is defined as an intentionally dishonest act of lying, cheating, or stealing, which, in the opinion of students, is serious enough to warrant permanent dismissal from the University. Failure to report a potential Honor offense, while not itself an offense, violates the tenet of the community and the spirit of the system. If a student violates the Honor Code, he or she cannot remain a member of the University community and is not entitled to receive or hold a degree from the University of Virginia.

The Honor Committee recommends requiring all students to write out and sign a pledge on all graded work. Appended to an assignment or examination, the pledge is a signed reaffirmation of the student's commitment to academic integrity. The standard pledge is, "On my honor as a student, I have neither given nor received aid on this examination (or assignment)."

A faculty member who suspects an Honor offense has occurred should contact an Honor advisor or the Honor Committee representative elected from their particular school.

Faculty members are expected not to use their own sanctions as a substitute for an Honor investigation. 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 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.

3.3 The Judicial System

The University Judiciary Committee (UJC) is the central body of the University's Judicial System and monitors all judicial proceedings within the University. The UJC is composed of twenty-one elected representatives who act as judges for judicial trials.

The UJC hears most cases of alleged misconduct other than those involving lying, cheating or stealing which fall under the jurisdiction of the Honor System. Misconduct is defined as any violation of the Standards of Conduct. The Standards of Conduct, adopted by the Board of Visitors in 1970, empower the Judiciary Committee with jurisdiction over violations of University policy. The UJC decides the question of guilt and, if necessary, the degree of sanction. For a complete list of the Standards of Conduct, as well as the academic and nonacademic policies governing students at the University, visit the UJC website. Any person, within or outside the University community, who believes that a University student or student group has either infringed upon that person's individual rights or has violated the Standards of Conduct should contact the UJC. Should a reported violation proceed to a full investigation and trial, the committee will convene to decide the guilt or innocence of the accused and, if guilty, will render an appropriate sanction. Faculty members who suspect that an incident of hazing has occurred should report the incident directly to the Office of the Dean of Students at (434) 924-7133.

3.4 Confidentiality of Student Records

Students attending, or who have attended, the University of Virginia have certain rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA or The Buckley Amendment) and related Rules of the United States Department of Education.

1) Access: Faculty and staff have access to students’ education records only for legitimate educational purposes in performing his or her duties for the University. Access to education records should not be used for any other purpose. 2) Release: University employees may not discuss the education records of a student with that student’s parents, or any other third party, without the written consent of the student.  If a University employee is ever in doubt, he or she should not release any information from student records without first contacting UREG or the University’s Office of the General Counsel for guidance. Grades may not be released in any form to third parties, without written consent, and should only be posted using a randomly assigned identifier. 

Information about compliance with FERPA by the University is maintained by the Office of the University Registrar (UREG).

The full policy regarding University student rights under FERPA can be found on the web.

3.5 The Administration of Student Affairs

General responsibility for students, especially all phases of undergraduate student life, is vested in the Division of Student Affairs. The offices shown in the organization chart of the University for the vice president and chief student affairs officer serve as the principal sources of advice and services for all graduate and undergraduate students in their extracurricular and personal affairs. The graduate and professional schools also provide some basic student affairs services on-site. The units within the Division of Student Affairs include:

Responsibility for all University students registered through the School of Continuing and Professional Studies rests with the dean of the school. For students enrolled in off-Grounds degree programs, this responsibility is shared with the department or school issuing the degree. The school's approach to student affairs is in keeping with the University's overall student policies including the Honor System. The school makes appropriate modifications in policies and student services to ensure that they are suitable for part-time adult students studying off-Grounds.

The Newcomb Hall complex and the Emmet Street parking garage comprise the center of student activities at the University. In addition to dining services, the bookstore, and postal and parking services, the complex houses the Student Activities Center, the Kaleidoscope Center for Cultural Fluency, offices for some student organizations and meeting rooms for students and other groups. Some spaces in the building, along with certain other locations around Grounds, may be scheduled for extracurricular functions through use of The Source, an on-line scheduling system.

Accommodating Students with Disabilities. The University's Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities is also the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Officer. Details of accommodating students is contained in the pamphlet "A Guide to Accommodating Students with Disabilities" which is periodically updated and distributed to all faculty.

Handbook for Survivors: A Guide to Surviving Sexual Assault. Published by the Sexual Assault Education Office and available free of charge to survivors of sexual assault and other concerned individuals.

The pamphlet, Sexual Assault: Options and Procedures, published by the University Committee on Sexual Assault and Judicial Review, sets forth procedures that address the sexual assault concerns of the University Community.