In November 2010, the decision was made unanimously by the University Safety and Security Policy Committee to adopt a policy that collects arrest, conviction, and issuance of protective order information from students. Virginia Tech chose to adopt this policy, which is similar to what was enacted at the University of Virginia in August 2010.

Students will be reminded at course registration of their responsibility to report this information to Student Conduct within ten business days of any arrest/conviction/issuance of a protective order using the required Self-Disclosure of Arrest(s)/Conviction(s) Form and must be submitted in person to Student Conduct. The purpose of this policy is to ensure the safety and security of the university community.

This is not meant to be a mechanism to adjudicate more violations as part of the student conduct system. Our current assumption is that for most disclosures, there may be a follow-up email or conversation to fill in any necessary facts and context, and no additional formal follow-up will be required. For arrests and convictions occurring in Virginia, Student Conduct will also access the court records database of the relevant city or county to check the specific charges and status of each. For the small number of serious infractions, there may be a meeting with Student Conduct to discuss what the student is doing to prevent a repeat offense or similar harmful behavior and also an offer of information regarding resources to assist the student in future decision-making. In rare cases, there may be a referral to Student Conduct for formal action. When necessary, the University's Threat Assessment Team may be notified.

You can find commonly asked questions about this process below.

The underlying purpose is to help us maintain a safe university community. For this reason, the decision was made unanimously by the University Safety and Security Policy Committee to collect arrest and conviction information from students. To accomplish that, at the time of course registration, students are prompted with a reminder of their continuing duty to make these disclosures. The system is based on the concept of self-disclosure.

Students have a continuing duty to promptly report to the Student Conduct office, any arrests or convictions for violation of federal, state, or local laws, or laws of other countries, excluding minor traffic violations that do not include injury to others. An arrest includes the issuance of a written citation or summons regardless of whether the student is taken into custody by law enforcement. Charges related to reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs are not "minor traffic violations" and must be reported. This duty applies regardless of where the arrest occurred (inside or outside the Commonwealth of Virginia), and regardless of whether the University is in session at the time of the arrest or conviction.

This self-disclosure policy covers an arrest, conviction, or issuance of a protective order that have occurred since initial enrollment until the date of response. Students should have already disclosed criminal history information at the time of application to Virginia Tech so this prompt is simply seeking any relevant information since that original application. Include things that may have already been reported to the University.

Given that there are few students under age 18, there should be very few cases in which a juvenile record is an issue. In the highly unusual case where a minor student has an underlying juvenile arrest, conviction, or issuance of a protective order that occurs after matriculating to the University and is otherwise under seal, he or she should seek the advice of legal counsel regarding the disclosure obligation in light of the relevant law of the state in which the arrest, conviction, or issuance of a protective order occurred.

We recognize that arrests do not represent an adjudicated conviction or an admission of guilt. Disclosure of an arrest is understood as that - simply an arrest - and may result in follow-up questions by the director of Student Conduct with subsequent supplementation by the student regarding the ultimate outcome of the case. Our focus at all times is on the underlying behavior. For those arrests that are referred to Student Conduct (and only where the underlying offense falls within the University’s conduct system jurisdiction), a conduct action may occur. We believe it is important to know in a timely fashion when a student has been charged with a crime. What ultimately occurs in a criminal proceeding may certainly inform any action the University considers taking, but it does not dictate the University's response.

Students should disclose arrests that were later dismissed, although there is an opportunity after answering "yes" to explain the subsequent dismissal. An arrest, conviction, or issuance of a protective order that have been expunged by court action should not be disclosed (see the specific provisions of Virginia Code Section 19.2-392.4{A)). Students should consult with legal counsel if they believe a prior arrest or charge has been expunged, as that term is defined under applicable law.

The director of Student Conduct (or, if necessary, his/her designee) will review each response to determine if follow-up is needed. This is done to insure that one uniform source is making this review.

Our current assumption is that for most disclosures, there may be a follow-up email or conversation to fill in any necessary facts and context. For arrest, conviction, or issuance of a protective order occurring in Virginia, Student Conduct will also access the court records database of the relevant city or county to check the specific charges and status of each. For more serious infractions, there may be a meeting with the director to discuss what the student is doing to prevent a repeat offense or similar harmful behavior and also an offer of information regarding counseling, alcohol, or substance abuse resources to assist the student in future decision-making. The most serious cases may require referral to Student Conduct for action. For a small number of cases that indicate a significant risk of violence, the University’s Threat Assessment Team may be notified.

All disclosures will be documented in a confidential, password-protected database maintained in Student Conduct for the purpose of noting and tracking any follow-up actions taken and to provide possible context for any future infractions. However, only matters that ultimately result in student conduct adjudication will be subject to future disclosure by Student Conduct in response to student-authorized inquiries by graduate programs and employers regarding a student's conduct or disciplinary record at the University. Arrest or conviction information may also be shared with the appropriate person in the student's relevant college and may be subject to disclosure if covered by a subsequently authorized disclosure by the student (for example, as part of a broad background check required under certain professional licensure requirements).

Each case will be evaluated on its facts to determine what follow-up, if any, is appropriate. Only in the most serious of cases, the director of Student Conduct may impose an interim suspension of a student (which remains in place until the conduct hearing may occur), that is used only in the most serious cases that are determined to present a present risk to safety or property. Also, very few cases will result in formal adjudication by Student Conduct. In those cases, students will be provided the procedural guarantees (see The University Student Conduct System for more information) of the student conduct system.

Yes. Graduate and professional school students should respond in the same manner as undergraduate students. The review and follow-up procedure that Student Conduct will follow is the same. Information may be shared when appropriate, as those professionals may have more regular opportunities to interact with their graduate or professional school students.

Most arrests, convictions, or issuance of a protective order are a matter of public record in the court files of each jurisdiction. In addition, a student agrees to be governed by the policies of the University when he or she enrolls. Students also were required to make similar disclosures when they first applied to Virginia Tech. The University will maintain the information disclosed by students pursuant to this policy in a confidential fashion. It will be accessible to, and reviewed by and with, only those staff with a need to know such information.

As with many other things at Virginia Tech, a student is being asked to give a truthful response regarding prior or intervening arrest, conviction, or issuance of a protective order. Thus, an intentionally false response that is not trivial in nature and would be referred to Student Conduct for further action. In addition, a failure to comply with the self-disclosure procedure would be referred to Student Conduct for formal conduct action.