Protect your future plans, understand academic integrity at VCU

Dear students,

Welcome back.  Please know VCU is doing everything we can to support your academic success.  As we begin the spring semester, please be reminded that for a student to succeed at VCU, they must know, understand, and live within the parameters of the university’s policies, including the Honor System and Standards of Academic Conduct.

The Honor System and Standards of Academic Conduct applies to all learning environments, including in-person and virtual, synchronous, hybrid and asynchronous. Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to:

  • Unauthorized collaboration on homework or other assignments (for example via chat forums).   
  • Unauthorized possession of, or access to academic materials with the intent to gain an unfair advantage (for example, on-line resources). 
  • Unauthorized distribution or sharing of academic material including contributing materials to online file-sharing services and question-and-answer websites.

Infractions of the Honor System and Standards of Academic Conduct may result in one or more of the following:

  • Grade of ‘0’ on an assignment if academic misconduct influenced originally-assigned grade.
  • A grade reduction on the assignment if the academic misconduct influenced only a portion of the assignment grade.
  • A grade of ‘F’ in the course.
  • Suspension/expulsion.

Online file-sharing services and question-and-answer websites collaborate with colleges and universities, including VCU, to share IP addresses and associated information when needed to identify users.

Please do not jeopardize your future. There are multiple resources available for students to support your academic success which include VCU Libraries, the Campus Learning Center, The Writing Center, Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity and the Division for Academic Success

More often than not, students engage in prohibited conduct when they feel ill-prepared or distressed. Please take advantage of the above noted resources, and keep these tips in mind as well:

  • If assessments (i.e. quizzes and exams) are open book and open note, these parameters do not mean that studying or preparation are unnecessary or would not be beneficial.
  • If you are unsure about what is allowed, please contact your instructor. 
  • If assessments are open source (i.e. you may use the internet), this guideline does not mean that proper attribution is not necessary
  • The internet and social media are not consequence free zones, nor are they an appropriate alternative if an assessment is specifically open book and open note, but not open source. Be mindful of whether or not “searching” or “asking” are in fact permissible. 
  • All work submitted for credit, is expected to be completed independently, and in accordance with the Honor System and Standards of Academic Conduct, unless otherwise indicated by the instructor. 
  • Please ask for help. Some students find themselves in difficult situations because they are unsure if their actions are appropriate. Expectations vary from course to course and instructor to instructor. If you are unsure of the expectations regarding collaboration, use of class materials or outside sources, or regarding citations ask your instructor. Do not assume anything.  

All university members are expected to learn and understand the Honor System and Standards of Academic Conduct. Students are expected to ask their instructors about how to complete their work in order to conform with this policy. Academic honesty, truth and integrity are vitally important to advancing knowledge and promoting student success. It is important that all students, faculty and employees conduct themselves according to the highest standards of academic integrity.

Best wishes as you continue your academic endeavors. 


Karen Belanger

Director, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity

Division of Student Affairs