University of Virginia: Lack of Due Process During Honor Code Investigations
Students at the University of Virginia (UVA) rejected a proposed referendum that would have deprived UVA students of existing due process rights under the school's procedure for adjudicating honor code violations. The system had been criticized after physics Professor Louis A. Bloomfield filed 122 charges of academic dishonesty against students who allegedly cheated in his class. After students filed lawsuits, including one whose degree was revoked at a trial where he was absent because he had graduated eight years earlier, UVA proposed a series of changes to the proceedings. These included disallowing juries to decide the relative seriousness of an offense, a reduction of the number of jurors and the percentage necessary for a conviction, and the removal of randomly-selected jury pools to a pool consisting of 22 students who oversaw the honor committee. Prior to UVA students' voting against these changes, FIRE wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post documenting the current flaws of the system while denouncing the proposed changes.
- "FIRE Intern Fights Diversity Training at Virginia," October 1, 2003: Anthony Dick, a courageous University of Virginia (UVA) undergraduate and a FIRE summer intern, is taking his fight for freedom of thought directly to campus. This fall, along with other concerned students, he formed the Individual Rights Coalition (IRC) at UVA in order to oppose Orwellian thought reform on his campus.
- "Cheating Scandal at UVA Highlights the Need for Fairness and Due Process," June 12, 2001: More than 120 students at the University of Virginia (UVA) face expulsion for plagiarism in the largest cheating scandal in the University's history. The affair reveals sharply the importance of both the substance and appearance of due process within UVA's embattled judicial system, and it underscores the significance of FIRE's recent involvement in protecting what remained of such fairness there.
- "Focus on Campus Kangaroo Courts Intensifies; The Washington Post Publishes FIRE Exposé of UVA's Honor System," January 2, 2001: The University of Virginia's honor system was severely criticized in The Washington Post by FIRE program officer Erich Wasserman, a UVA graduate. Wasserman, after intensive investigation, exposed the secrecy, inconsistent procedures, and lack of accountability in an honor system that has lost its honor. Lawsuits against UVA have led to a lengthy set of proposals for change. The changes, however, would make matters even worse, denying students the right to confront witnesses, the right to refuse to testify against themselves, and the right to trained student counsel.
- "Amendments to honor constitution would limit rights of accused,"
by Erich Wasserman, The Cavalier Daily, February 16, 2001
- "Keeping the Honor In U-Va.'s Honor Code,"
by Erich Wasserman, The Washington Post, December 28, 2000