Student Rights & Responsibilities

This statement (as published in the Hokie Handbook) details what students can expect in their interactions with faculty, staff, and other students, as well as the community expectations of their conduct inside and outside of the classroom.

Virginia Tech is a place where the free exchange of ideas, in an atmosphere of civility, is valued for the good of the individual and for the entire community. To support the educational mission of the university - to create an environment where all students have the same opportunity to succeed academically and personally and to promote health and safety - Virginia Tech has established policies that set minimum standards for student behavior. As a distinguished educational institution, Virginia Tech encourages students to rise above the minimum standards, to live and learn together in an atmosphere that is characterized by personal intellectual growth, fruitful group interaction, mutual respect, ethical leadership, and to the good of each individual and entire community.

Virginia Tech students are both individuals and members of a learning community. As individuals they enjoy basic rights; as members of the learning community, they also accept certain responsibilities.

Students and the university share the responsibility for education. The university provides classes and many other educational opportunities, as well as personal advice and guidance. Students are responsible not only for studying, writing papers, taking exams, and completing assignments on time, but also for knowing university regulations and course requirements for all levels of their programs of study. It is the responsibility of all students to find and know these regulations and course requirements, outlined in this handbook and the undergraduate and graduate course catalogs and other academic policies.

As an institution of higher education, the university is further committed to creating and sustaining a community that facilitates not only academic development, but also the personal development of its members. Fundamental to this commitment is the expectation of the university that the individual members of the community will:

  • Be honest
  • Demonstrate respect for self
  • Demonstrate respect for others
  • Demonstrate respect for the law and university policies, their administration, and the process for changing those laws, policies, and regulations

In keeping with this commitment, the university has formulated the University Policies for Student Life (UPSL) to guarantee each student’s freedom to learn and to protect the rights of others. The concept of rights and freedoms carries with it corresponding responsibilities for which students are accountable. This policy is included in this handbook. It is the responsibility of all students to know and abide by the regulations and policies which govern their conduct as members of the Virginia Tech community.

Virginia Tech abhors behaviors that are racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise disrespectful or discriminating and strongly discourages these behaviors by any member of this community. Behaviors that violate the Student Code of Conduct are addressed through the student judicial system. For example, a student who threatens another individual with immediate physical harm has violated the abusive conduct policy and is subject to judicial action. Virginia Tech is committed to stopping these behaviors in this community.

Additional Resources

The Virginia Tech Principles of Community provides a statement of rights and responsibilities for all members of the Virginia Tech community in an effort to create an environment that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members. As an institution, we adopt and practice the principles as fundamental to our on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion to all members.

The primary sources of policies and procedures relating to student rights and responsibilities within the university judicial system are found within the University Policies for Student Life (found in the Hokie Handbook). Rights and responsibilities for students related to academics can be found in the Undergraduate Course Catalog and the Graduate School Catalog.

Other student rights for specific issues (e.g. eligibility for in-state tuition) are available on the Office of the University Registrar website.

For student rights regarding academic integrity, the Undergraduate Honor System website includes a list of student rights under the Honor Code.

Multiple documents outline the rights and responsibilities of graduate students while enrolled at Virginia Tech. These documents can be found in the Graduate Catalog, in the Building Graduate Community: Expectations for Graduate Study document and in the Graduate Honor System Constitution where Article VII outlines the rights and obligations of a student accused of violating the Graduate Honor Code.

Students at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) are held accountable by the University Judicial System for non-academic misconduct. The VMRCVM Office of the Dean also operates a standards committee. The standards committee monitors and implements DVM academic progression criteria; considers petitions for re-admission after academic or voluntary withdrawal; may propose changes to academic standards; hears appeals from students concerning the implementation and enforcement of academic and professional standards by faculty.