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For more information about the Honor System, please see the Dean of Students website.


Q. What is the Honor Code?
A. The Honor Code is a code of conduct that all students at W&M agree to live by. The Code was created by and is administered by students (see Section I of the Student Handbook).

Q. What does the Honor Code require?
A. The Honor Code forbids lying, cheating, and stealing. Plagiarism is a subset of cheating, and is specifically addressed in the Honor Code (see Section VI of the Student Handbook).

Q. Why do I have to abide by the Honor Code?
A. Adherence to the Honor Code is a condition of your enrollment at William & Mary. A student's failure to abide by the Honor Code offends the entire academic community and demands action (see Section 1 of the Student Handbook).

Q. Do my obligations under the Honor Code end at the law school door?
A. No. As a member of the William & Mary community, your honorable conduct is required no matter where you are or in what circumstances you find yourself. The Honor Code makes no distinction between offenses committed on school grounds or anywhere else (see Section II of the Student Handbook).

Q. What should I do if I see possible dishonorable conduct?
A. First, you must attempt to confront the individual and seek an explanation. If the explanation does not dispel your suspicion that an Honor Code violation may have occurred, you must report the individual to the Honor Council. To do so, contact the Honor Council Chair at or his or her personal email, or contact any Honor Council Associate Chair. For more information, please see Section VII of the Student Handbook.

Q. What happens if I am accused of an honor offense?
A. Any student accused of an honor offense is granted extensive rights, which are explained in person and in writing throughout the Honor Council resolution process (see Section V of the Student Handbook). Any allegation is vetted for triviality and timeliness before becoming an official matter (see Section IX(D) of the Student Handbook). The Honor Council then thoroughly investigates an allegation, after which the Honor Council determines if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to a hearing (see Sections IX(E), (G) of the Student Handbook). Only if an allegation survives these preliminary levels will the Honor Council hold a hearing (see Section IX(H) of the Student Handbook). Any finding of responsibility is automatically reviewed by the administration (see Section XI of the Student Handbook) and is eligible for appeal (see Section XII of the Student Handbook).

Q. Can a mere allegation hinder my ability to become a member of a bar organization?
A. Probably not. Allegations that do not result in findings of responsibility leave a student with no disciplinary record. However, reporting requirements concerning Honor Code allegations during the Character & Fitness review vary across jurisdictions. Questions about whether disclosure is required should be directed to the relevant Board of Bar Examiners, the Dean of Students Office, or Dean Jackson.

Q. What should I do if I have doubts that my own conduct is honorable?
A. The Honor Council Chair and Associate Chairs are always available to talk to you about the Honor System and the Honor Code. We may not be able to answer specific questions about specific behavior, but we can guide you to the appropriate sections of the Code. If you find yourself trying to rationalize questionable behavior, you may be on a dangerous path. Consider whether it might be wise to simply avoid the behavior and not take the chance!