If you are found responsible for violating university policy, the hearing officer or committee will likely issue sanctions to you. There are two levels of sanctioning: primary sanction or secondary sanction. The primary sanction will be a status (as described below). The secondary sanction will be an educational experience (as described below).
Students have two official records with the university: academic and disciplinary. Written and audio records of all conduct proceedings involving students are maintained in the Student Conduct office for five years from the date of incident.
For the most part, the information in a student’s academic and disciplinary records are separate. The only time disciplinary action is noted on a student’s academic record is when he or she has been suspended or dismissed from the university. Notations involving suspension can be removed from the academic transcript after the suspension period has passed at the written request of the student.
If you authorize a record release, typically the only information which will be shared are those cases where you are found responsible for a policy violation and have been issued sanctions.
The simple answer to this question is: "It depends." Not all policy violations are viewed equally. Policy violations that are considered minor may receive a formal warning sanction and/or an educational experience. You can also be suspended on the first offense for certain egregious offenses, e.g., DUI’s, drug law violations, assault/battery, sexual misconduct, reckless use of a weapon, or multiple violations during a single incident. The university conduct system is cumulative over the entire time you are at Virginia Tech. This means that your prior conduct history will be taken into account for future violations, despite sanction expiration. Sanctioning is progressive during your time at Virginia Tech. Meaning, as you accumulate policy violations the sanctioning will progressively increase.
A complete list of sanctions appears in the University Policies for Student Life found in the Hokie Handbook. Sanctions will follow current case precedent, but individual circumstances are taken into account. Sanctions are designed to alter behavior and to make statements about the university’s expectations for student conduct. Even sanctions such as suspension are intended to help students learn from their actions and understand how unacceptable behaviors impact others. You should be aware that some violations of university policy may result in suspension or dismissal from the university for a first offense.
An educational experience is a constructive activity assigned as a sanction. It is usually designed to enhance a student’s ability to learn from the student conduct experience. In some instances, the educational experience may relate directly to the nature of the offense. In other instances, it may not. Students who violate the alcohol beverage policy may be sanctioned to attend an alcohol education class and/or a decision-making workshop. The educational experience is intended to promote thinking and learning that will lead to responsible decision making in the future. A list of typical educational experiences can be found on the Educational Sanctions page.
The following conduct sanctions may be imposed upon a student or student organization for violations of university policy. Sanctions are generally cumulative in nature. All disciplinary records are considered in determining an appropriate sanction.
The student is officially notified that his or her actions have constituted a violation of university policy and are, therefore, inappropriate. It is essentially a warning that is documented formally through Student Conduct. Formal warnings are not active sanctions and usually don’t prohibit students from participating in university activity. Further violations may result in more serious disciplinary action.
Student is required to make restitution for damage to university or private property. Restitution may be in the form of monetary payment or community service.
Student is notified that his or her status with the university for a specified period of time is such that further violations of university policies will result in his or her being considered for a "higher level" sanction, such as suspension from the university. If at the end of the specified time period no further violations have occurred, the student is removed from probationary status.
In some cases, a sanction of suspension or a denial of privilege may be set aside for a specified period. This means that, if the student is found responsible of any violation during that period, he or she will be subject to the deferred sanction without further review in addition to the disciplinary action appropriate to the new violation. Deferred sanctions include, but are not limited to, deferred suspension, deferred denial of network access, deferred denial of housing, and deferred dismissal.
Student is notified that, for a specified period of time, certain privileges or associations within the university are withdrawn. This sanction includes, but is not limited to, termination of residence hall residency, removal from athletic events, denial of network access, removal from the corps of cadets, denial of the privilege of participating in recreational sports activities, and revocation of the privilege of accessing certain university facilities.
Student is notified that he or she is separated from the university for a specified period of time. Students who are suspended must leave the campus within 48 hours of notification unless the decision is being appealed. A re-enrollment meeting with someone in Student Conduct is required to return to Virginia Tech. In some cases, re-enrollment may require permission from the director of Student Conduct. This meeting must be completed before a student will be permitted to re-enroll. In the case of suspension, a temporary notation is placed on the student's official transcript: “suspended by university action” and the duration of the sanction. Upon the request of the student, this notation may be removed at the end of the suspension period and once all sanctions are complete.Students on suspension are not permitted to enroll in classes at Virginia Tech or transfer credits taken at another university during their suspension.
Student is notified that he or she is permanently separated from the university. A notation is placed on the academic transcript: "dismissed by university action."
The university retains the authority to impose an interim (immediate) suspension if such action is necessary to preserve the safety of persons or property. In this instance, students will be afforded a preliminary hearing and an opportunity to show why their continued presence on campus does not constitute a danger to others, to themselves, or to property. A full hearing in compliance with the Hokie Handbook will be provided as soon as possible.