Honor is the moral and ethical cornerstone of Washington and Lee University. This commitment to honor is recognized by every student, faculty member, administrator, and staff member of the University. Providing the common thread woven through the many aspects of this institution, honor creates a community of trust and respect affecting fundamentally the relationships of all its members.
The Board of Trustees has granted to students the privilege of overseeing the administration of the Honor System. The pledge, “On my honor, I have neither given nor received any unacknowledged aid on this paper (exam, assignment),” expresses the student’s promise that the work submitted is his or hers alone and that no unfair advantage has been taken of peers by cheating. Students’ dedication to honorable behavior in all their academic work creates a strong bond of trust among them and between them and the faculty. This student dedication and the bond that it engenders also provide the basis for the faculty member’s commitment to accepting a student’s word without question.
The dedication to behave honorably is not confined to academic life. It is expected that students will respect each other’s word and intellectual and personal property in the residence halls and the Greek houses, on the playing field, in the city of Lexington, and wherever Washington and Lee students take themselves. This principled expectation provides the foundation for the community of trust that students seek to create not only in the academic sphere but also in life outside it as well.
The School of Law operates under the Honor System. By matriculating, each student accepts the obligations of the Honor System, including recognition of the full and final responsibility of the Executive Committee of the student body for the handling of honor offenses.
Most student offenses not involving honor issues are handled by the Student Judicial Council, composed of university students. Alleged violations of sexual misconduct and of the University’s non-discrimination and harassment policy by students are heard by the Harrassment and Sexual Misconduct Board. For additional information on student conduct policies and procedures, see the Student Handbook.
The Board of Trustees reserves the right to withhold the degree of any student who has been convicted of a felony by a court in any jurisdiction. Upon the satisfactory completion of that student’s court-imposed sentence, including any period of supervised probation, the Board may approve the awarding of such degree.
The Board may postpone approval of a degree for any student who has been charged with a felony in any jurisdiction when such charge is pending at the time the degree is to be awarded.