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The Code of Honor

"On my honor, I pledge that I have neither given nor received help on this assignment."


Established in 1842, the University of Virginia Honor System is the nation's oldest student-run honor system and one of U.Va.'s most cherished institutions. Based on the principle that University students want to be trusted, the Honor System helps create and strengthen a school-wide community of trust.

This tradition of student self-governance began with an incident in the University's early years. On the night of November 12, 1840, a masked student shot and killed John A. G. Davis, a popular professor of law. Sobered by the incident, the students agreed to a plan whereby they "vouched" for one another by agreeing to report misbehavior. In the same spirit, University faculty established an "honor pledge" on examinations, agreeing to trust students when they pledged that they had "neither received nor given assistance" on their schoolwork.

Today students at the University make a commitment not to lie, cheat, or steal within Charlottesville, Albemarle County, or where they represent themselves as University students in order to gain the trust of others. Because of this commitment, there's a strong degree of trust among the various members of the University community. Students are also expected to conduct themselves with integrity and are presumed honorable until proven otherwise.

Offenses are presented to the Honor Committee, a student judiciary body. Students are recruited and trained by the Honor Committee to serve as advisors and to provide counsel. Students investigate honor allegations, assist and support accused students through the Honor System process, and work with accused students in their defense at trial. Honor jury panels are similarly comprised entirely of students. While anyone may initiate honor proceedings, the process is administered entirely by students.

U.Va. students benefit from the freedom and security provided by the Honor System; every student must agree to live by and support the spirit of honor. Applicants who are not prepared to embrace this freedom and accept this responsibility should not apply for admission.

For more information about the Honor System, visit http://www.virginia.edu/honor/.