In Support of the Honor System

The Jefferson Council lauds Rector Thomas Hardie, President Jim Ryan, and Honor Chair Hamza Aziz for their ringing endorsement of the Honor Code in the letter below.

Dear members of the University community:

In light of recent reforms and as the academic year begins, we collectively write to ask for your help in upholding and supporting the Honor Code and the Honor System.

The University of Virginia Honor System is one of the most significant and enduring aspects of a UVA education. At its best, the Honor System fosters a culture and a community and is internalized as a way of life. The Honor System is more than sanctions or a system of punishment for infractions. It is a shared value and commitment; it is fundamental to our ethos. It is an indelible characteristic of a Virginia graduate, and it sets our graduates apart from many others. And the Honor Code itself is an especially important part of this preparation: don’t lie, cheat, or steal. These values are the foundation of our community of trust, and this is why, each year at Convocation, incoming students sign the Honor Pledge.
At the same time, the Honor System is the hallmark of an equally significant tradition: student self-governance. The Honor System is a system run by, and for, students. Its stewardship lies in the hands of students themselves and their authority to shape the Honor System as they believe will best serve all students—current and future.

We are writing today to affirm the commitment of the Board of Visitors, University Leadership, and the Honor Committee to the Honor System and the rights of students to uphold it. But we also write with a request. Ensuring that the Honor System, and our shared community of trust, remains robust and effective requires everyone’s participation. Whether you are a staff member, a faculty member, a student, a researcher, a teacher, a mentor, or a health care provider, your support, understanding, and participation is crucial to its success. To learn more, go to honor.virginia.edu.

As we embark on a new academic year, we thank you for your engagement in our shared community of trust.

Sincerely,

Robert Hardie
Rector

James E. Ryan
President

Hamza Aziz
Chair, the Honor Committee

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Clarity77
Clarity77
5 months ago

Given the context of the recent erosion of standards as pertaining to the Honor System as overseen by the past BOV and Ryan, is this statement just lip service? I for one will adopt a wait and see approach.
The statement emphasizes the building of trust. Trust is essential and a foundation to building relationship leading to a sense of belonging. You may even say the new woke word, inclusivity. And yet over Ryan’s tenure the erosion of the Honor System in concert with student surveys and opinions reflecting a steady erosion of a sense of belonging. All while the administration preaches inclusivity. A classic demonstration of the Jungian concept of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Or said another way, speaking out of opposite sides of the mouth.
Over many decades the Honor System was an integral part of the UVA experience both on Grounds and at large in the community engendering good will, trust and yes, belonging. And yet in a remarkably short period under Ryan it has been eroded. After the JMU football game my best UVA friend, medical colleague and undergrad UVA roommate made our customary post game walk through the Academical Village. I pointed out the cable locks on the rockers outside the Lawn rooms. He replied, “you never saw those before.” I might add there is a perceptible loss of that UVA spirit enjoyed by many alumni. Quelle domage. It could have been otherwise except for the effect of a leftist approach to the UVA experience. Absolutely predictable.
The statement has a pleading component to the community with a “paradise lost” sense of contextual feeling It did not have to be were it not for leftist rot at the top. I will be watching but not holding my breath. Words so far. I prefer action.

Lorna gladstone
Lorna gladstone
5 months ago
Reply to  Clarity77

Could not have said it better. Perfect. Thank you. Totally concur.

joseph a miller lll
joseph a miller lll
5 months ago

You are correct, it seems they should not “Talk the talk unless they can walk the walk.”

Peter LeQuire, College ‘65
Peter LeQuire, College ‘65
5 months ago

This writing makes me sad. Suffice it to say that the notion that the Honor System is “living” and that will be “rolled out” sounds like it involves a gutting of the meanings of “lie”, “cheat”, and “steal”. Those who would change or abandon that system don’t deserve it.

And just how many since 1842 have enjoyed what is now being so casually sullied?

John Staige Davis
John Staige Davis
5 months ago

I am very encouraged to read this letter of strong support for the revitalized University of Virginia Honor Code sent from the Rector, President, and Honor Committee Chair.
Professor and Dean John A. G. Davis, whose murder on the Lawn by a student in 1840 is believed to have been the catalyst for the establishment of the Honor Code at U.Va,in 1842, was my great, great grandfather; for many years on the faculty here, I have been disturbed and saddened by the relentless erosion of U.Va.Honor Code standards.
May we be at a turning point now; how wonderful it can be to live in a Community of Trust.
John Staige Davis, IV
Professor Emeritus, U.Va. Medical School

Dennis Hughes
Dennis Hughes
5 months ago

Always remember former President Reagan “trust but verify”.

Legacy Grad 69'
Legacy Grad 69'
5 months ago

Today we see dishonor in so many venues. Honor is a way of life. It’s not an option. The University’s Honor Code is a beacon.