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III. Academic Dishonesty Sanctions


Instances of academic misconduct represent behavior that is of an especially serious nature. Sanctions assigned in instances of academic misconduct should convey the message that this behavior serves as a destructive force within the academic community. However, a wide range of sanctions can be employed in order to strike an appropriate balance between sending a message of accountability and enhancing a student’s moral and cognitive development.

The Undergraduate Honor System is empowered with assigning sanctions that are outlined within Virginia Tech policies. These sanctions include separation from the institution, probationary status, and documentation that a violation has occurred. In addition, the Undergraduate Honor System is empowered to assign appropriate academic and/or educational sanctions based upon the specifics of the incident. Examples of academic sanctions for academic misconduct include receiving a failing grade or other grade penalty for the course. Examples of educational sanctions include requiring a student to complete the Academic Integrity Education Program.

Faculty may assign sanctions up to an F* sanction as the student’s final course grade and referral to the Academic Integrity Education Program. Students are encouraged to discuss their involvement in an academic misconduct situation with their academic advisor. 

The University’s recommended sanction for academic misconduct shall be an F* sanction as the student’s final course grade. More severe or lesser penalties may be imposed if the circumstances warrant. If academic misconduct is determined, and an F* sanction is assigned while a course is still in session, the student is no longer eligible to attend the class, effective on the date of the decision.

The sanction for a second offense of academic misconduct committed by a student shall normally be expulsion from the University. Under rare extenuating circumstances, the hearing panel of the Undergraduate Honor System may assign a sanction less than expulsion for a student who has committed academic misconduct if the circumstances warrant. If a sanction less than expulsion is assigned by the hearing panel, a written explanation of the hearing panel’s decision must be provided to the parties involved, including the reporting faculty member, the faculty member’s department head, the student’s department head, the student’s dean, the University Registrar, and the Executive Vice President and Provost.   

A student may not drop a course, withdraw from a course, or withdraw from the University in order to avoid any sanction for academic misconduct. A class previously dropped or withdrawn from may be reinstated in a student’s record if an Honor Code violation is found to have occurred after the student successfully dropped, withdrew from the course, or the University.

When it is determined by an Undergraduate Honor System hearing or through the Faculty-Student Resolution process that a student has violated the Honor Code, the following are examples of sanctions that may be applied.

III. A. 1. F* Sanction
The F* sanction is intended to identify a student who has failed to uphold the values of academic integrity at Virginia Tech. A student who is assessed a sanction of F* as their final course grade shall have it documented on their transcript with the notation “FAILURE DUE TO ACADEMIC HONOR CODE VIOLATION.” The F* sanction shall be treated as a final course grade of an F for the purposes of calculating Grade Point Average and determination of academic class standing.

A student may file a written petition to the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity to have the sanction of an F* removed and permanently replaced with the grade of F. The decision to remove the F* sanction shall rest with the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity and is contingent upon the successful completion of the Academic Integrity Education Program. The Director’s decision is final. The F that remains when the * designation is removed, will be considered in the calculation of a student’s Grade Point Average. A student who wishes to re-take the course may do so concurrently with the Academic Integrity Education Program.

III. A. 2. Lowered Course Grade
An appropriate grade penalty may be applied only if the decision is made that the student may remain in the course after being found responsible for academic misconduct. The lowered course grade may result from assigning either a zero or other lowered grade on the assignment involved in the misconduct, or by assigning a final course grade lower than the student would have earned had the incidence of academic misconduct not occurred.

III. A. 3. Academic Integrity Education Program
Any student found responsible for academic misconduct may be required to complete the Academic Integrity Education Program. This sanction may be in addition to or in lieu of other assigned sanctions.

Failure to complete the program in the time frame assigned by the Undergraduate Honor System will result in the student either being placed on “academic hold” until such time as the program is completed or being placed on academic suspension. 

III. A. 4. Suspension from the University
This sanction includes suspension from the University for a period of time that will be specified during a hearing provided by the Undergraduate Honor System.  Suspension from the University for academic misconduct can only be assigned by the Undergraduate Honor System.

III. A. 5. Expulsion from the University
This sanction permanently dismisses a student from the University. Only the Undergraduate Honor System can expel a student for academic misconduct.

III. A. 6. Revoking of Degree
The Board of Visitors has the authority to revoke the degree of a former student if a finding of academic misconduct is determined after the student has graduated. The basis for revocation of the degree would be if the sanction that is assigned for misconduct would have caused the student to be ineligible to receive the degree at that time.

The Undergraduate Honor System will be responsible for investigating the allegation, conducting a hearing , and determining the sanction in accordance with the Honor Code. The Undergraduate Honor System’s decision may be appealed under the provisions of the Honor Code. If a sanction is assigned to the former student, then the case is referred to the college/school that awarded the degree to determine if the sanction would have made the student ineligible for the degree. If the answer is no, then the record of the misconduct is placed in the student’s record and on the transcript as appropriate. If the answer is yes, then the dean of the college/school will recommend revocation of the degree to the Executive Vice President and Provost. The Executive Vice President and Provost may recommend revocation of the degree to the President and the Board of Visitors who will make the final decision. The President will notify the student, the college/school, and the Undergraduate Honor System of the decision. The decision by the Board of Visitors cannot be appealed.