Resources for Parents

Parents and guardians can serve as crucial partners in the development of our students. As parents, you can support your student by understanding our community's values, policies, and procedures. Community Values & Restorative Practices student policies are developed primarily to assist students in their growth and development. To that end, we hold students accountable for behavior that violates our educational standards and community values.

The Association of Student Conduct Administration offers an excellent publication, The Student Conduct Process: A Guide for Parents (pdf)1, to help parents understand the philosophy of Community Values and anticipate the needs and challenges their students may face while at the university.

Honor Code Frequently Asked Questions for Parents
What is the Honor Code?

The Honor Code represents our behavioral expectations regarding students' ethical behavior both inside and outside of the university. The Honor Code is an affirmation that students will not lie, cheat or steal. For more information, please refer to the Honor Code.

How will I know if my student has been referred for an Honor violation?

We encourage, but do not require, students to inform their parents of any incidents, as we believe parents can be effective allies in helping their student learn from their behavior and develop into fully-mature adults. The university's practice is to treat its students as adults, and as such, we allow the student to decide if and how to inform his or her parents.

Students may modify their parental release settings at personalinfo.wm.edu to indicate whether they wish for parents to be notified of the final results of any Honor Code matter; if the student has chosen to release this information to parents, we will send a letter via email informing you of the incident and its resolution and your student's conduct status.

How can I help my student avoid an Honor violation?

Speak with your student about the challenges ahead. Honor is a cherished concept at William & Mary, and violations have serious consequences; suspension as a typical sanction. The Honor Code is present to establish a "level playing field" so that all students are judged by the merits of their efforts and ability. The university is an academically-rigorous institution, and your student is likely to be faced with the challenge of a heavy workload. Explore with your student how they plan to address this challenge proactively and the resources available should your student encounter difficulty. It is always better to submit work, even if incomplete, that represents an honest effort rather than to succumb to the temptation to cheat and suffer the consequences.

The Office of Academic Enrichment offers academic support programs on study skills, time management, and other skills to assist students. In addition, should your student encounter personal difficulty, encourage him or her to contact their staff to request an appointment with a staff member.

What is my role in the Honor process? How can I help my student?

You can help your student by learning about the Honor process, procedures, and goals. As our process primarily is developmental in nature, we believe it important for the student to take responsibility for the process and attend required meetings and fulfill sanction requirements, if any. By assuming responsibility for the process, the student is encouraged to develop a sense of confidence and competence in managing affairs in the future. It usually is not helpful to the educational development of the student if the parent attempts to overtake the process on the student's behalf.

Can I be present during the Honor meetings and/or hearing?

The first step of the Honor process is a meeting with the student who is assigned to investigate the report. This initial meeting involves only your student and the investigating committee. If the matter progresses to a hearing, the student is permitted to bring one silent observer to the hearing, and the student may elect to have a parent observe the hearing.

What happens if my student is found to have violated the Honor Code?

If your student is found responsible for a violation, the student will receive one or more sanctions. Because Honor violations are considered serious breaches of conduct, the typical outcome involves a suspension of at least one semester. In addition, if the violation is an academic violation, the Council will recommend either a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. The Council may also issue secondary sanctions. For more information, please read the Student Handbook's section on the Honor Code.

Does my son or daughter need a lawyer?

The Honor Code reflects the unique values of the William & Mary community. Because of this, our process is separate and distinct from the criminal or civil court systems. While students may, on their own, seek the assistance of an attorney, attorneys are not permitted to take an active role in the Honor process. Students are provided with the right to a student advisor to assist them.

Are disciplinary decisions appealable?

The student may appeal a decision based on grounds specified in the Handbook. Students must submit their appeal within seven days of the date the student received written notice of the outcome of the case.

With whom may I speak if I have additional questions?

Please feel free to contact the Community Values & Restorative Practices.

Conduct Code Frequently Asked Questions For Parents
What are the standards for conduct?

Our behavioral expectations are provided in the Student Handbook in the Student Code of Conduct.

How will I know if my student has been referred for discipline?

We encourage, but do not require, students to inform their parents of any incidents, as we believe parents can be effective allies in helping their student learn from their behavior and develop into fully-mature adults. The university's practice is to treat its students as adults, and as such, we allow the student to decide if and how to inform parents. Students can modify their parental release settings at personalinfo.wm.edu to permit parents to be notified of the final results of any student conduct matter. If the student has chosen to release this information to parents, we will send an email letter to let you know about a particular incident and its resolution. We also notify parents in cases in which the student is under 21 years of age, the matter is drug or alcohol-related, and the matter is deemed to be a serious violation (resulting in a sanction of probation or greater).

How can I help my student avoid becoming involved in the conduct process?

Speak with your student about the challenges ahead, particularly during the first year of college. It is helpful to understand basic student development theory in order to anticipate these challenges and help your student make positive choices regarding behavior. It is probably not surprising to learn that the vast majority of conduct violations involve alcohol as a factor, so we recommend you discuss the issue of alcohol with your student as well.

What is my role in the student conduct process? How can I help my student?

You can help your student by reviewing our conduct policies, procedures, and goals. As our process primarily is developmental in nature, we believe it important for the student to take responsibility for the process and attend required meetings and sanction requirements, if any. By assuming responsibility for the process, we encourage the student to develop a sense of confidence and competence in managing their affairs. It usually is not helpful to the educational development of the student if the parent attempts to overtake the process on the student's behalf.

Can I be present during the informal conference or discipline/Honor hearing?

The first step of the student conduct process is a meeting with the Case Administrator when the student is informed of the nature of the report and the student's options for resolving the report of possible misconduct. This initial meeting involves only the student and the Case Administrator. If the matter progresses to a hearing, the student may bring one silent supporter to the hearing--the student may elect to have a parent serve as silent supporter.

What happens if my student is found responsible for misconduct?

If your student is found responsible, the student will receive one or more sanctions. Sanctions are designed primarily to be educational; however, when the violation involves significant or potential harm to the community, or when the student has a history of violations, the sanctions may become protective of the interests of the community and its safety and well-being.

Does my student need a lawyer?

The university's Codes reflect the unique values of the William & Mary community. Because of this, our conduct process is separate and distinct from the criminal or civil court systems. While students may, on their own, seek the assistance of an attorney, attorneys are not permitted to take an active role in our processes. Students are provided with the right to student advisor, and in the case of an allegation of serious misconduct, the student may request the assistance of an administrative advisor in place of a student advisor.

Are disciplinary and Honor decisions appealable?

The student may request an appeal of a decision based on grounds specified in the Handbook. Appeals must be received by the appropriate party within five business days of the date the student received written notice of the outcome of his or her case.

Please also reference the Student Handbook or contact the Center for Community Values and Restorative Practices staff.

1 Note that the ASCA guide is a generic guide to assist parents in understanding the basic concepts of our profession.  The Student Handbook is the definitive source for information on the university's specific Code of Conduct and procedures for addressing possible violations.  We encourage you to contact us if you have specific questions about the university's code and procedures.