Honor FAQ's for Students

What happens if I have been reported for a possible violation?

If you have been informed that you will be reported, you must contact the Honor Council within 24 hours or resign from the College. If you are an undergraduate student, you can report yourself in three ways:

    1. Stop by the Honor Council Office, Campus Center Basement #007, between the hours of 10am-3pm
    2. Call the Honor Council Office at 757-221-3305 between the hours of 10am-3pm or leave a voice message
    3. Fill out the online report form.

Graduate students should contact the Office of Student Conduct for guidance.

What resources do I have as a Respondent?

Conduct and Honor Advocate Program

Each student going through the Honor Council process is entitled to a student advisor. These individuals have been trained to help guide students through our process. Along with the Chair and the Procedural Advisor, a Conduct and Honor Advisor is yet another source of support and guidance for the student. The advisor, however, is not an attorney. Although the advisor is present during the hearing, his or her role is not to seek the student's exoneration; rather, the student is available to answer questions that the student may have, to speak on the student's behalf, and to aid the student in asking questions of relevant parties at the hearing.

If you are interested in becoming a Conduct or Honor Advisor, please see the CHAP website.


There are two phases to a hearing: the violations phase and, if found in violation, the sanctions phase. You are entitled to name any material witnesses that you believe are necessary parties to your case, subject to the Chair's discretion. Please note that you must inform the Chair within 48 hours of the hearing with the names of any witnesses you wish to call.

For the sanctions phase, you are entitled to bring up to two (2) character witnesses and introduce letters relevant to the issue of sanctioning to be read at the hearing. We recognize that asking your friends, teachers, or other important people in your life to come speak on your behalf at an Honor Council hearing can be both awkward and intimidating. We have provided witness information which details our expectations for witnesses and what witnesses can expect from us. Use this as a reference when explaining the role and importance of the character witness to those you have chosen to represent you.

What happens at a hearing?

The hearing occurs in two phases, Judgment and Sanctioning, and both phases typically are held in the same night. A sanctions hearing only occurs when a violation has been determined.

The night of the hearing the relevant parties involved in the case and the six student panel members will be present. These individuals include: the Chair, a member of the panel serving as Secretary, your PA, the ICC, the Reporting Party, any materials witnesses, and your advisor, if you choose to have one. During the sanctions hearing, the individuals present include: the Chair, the panel, your PA and your character witnesses.

What does the Honor Council consider for sanctions?

The Nature of the Violation

  • What did the student do (or not do)?
  • Was the act egregious?
  • Was the act indicative of a certain state of mind?
  • What was the harm (or potential harm) created by the act?
  • How would this act, if repeated by others, affect our community and the trust we enjoy as students?
  • What were the student's alternatives to the behavior?
  • How much planning or thought did the student's act entail?
  • What sanction would discourage the student from engaging in similar behavior in the future?
  • What sanction would serve to deter others from a similar act?
  • What must the student do to remedy the harm created by the act?
Prior Violations/Previous Disciplinary History
  • Does the student have any prior Honor or Disciplinary violations?
  • Is this violation indicative of a pattern of behavior?
  • What has the student learned from past incidents?
  • Is this situation similar to past incidents in type or nature?
Extraordinary Circumstances Surrounding the Violation
  • Are there any extraordinary personal circumstances that were present at the time of the violation?
  • If a student knew the consequences of the behavior at the time and chose to take part in the situation, then the Council does not generally consider the circumstances extraordinary.
  • Note that special interests (such as involvement in student organizations, athletics, etc.) are not considered to be appropriate to receive a reduced sanction.
  • Circumstances should be documented where possible.  If the circumstances petain to medical/psychological matters, documentation must be submitted in advance to the Medical Review Committee.  Please allow sufficient time prior to the hearing for the Committee to review the materials and provide the Council with its assessment.
Development and Educational Impact
  • How will particular sanctions encourage growth and development for the student?
  • Does the Council need to reinforce student learning through secondary sanctions (community service, assignment, research paper, apology, etc.)?
What are typical sanctions?

While each case is determined on its own unique merits/circumstances, the Council does have guidelines for sanctions.  Typically any honor violation is considered serious, and for all but the most minor violations, some time away from the College can be expected.  We submit that time away is not merely a punishment, but rather provides for an intense period of reflection regarding our community's values, the student's personal choices, and the value of the student's educational experience at the College.

While confidentiality prevents us from making it common knowledge that a particular student has broken the Code, the Council releases reports detailing the judgments and sanctions to the community on a semesterly basis.