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 After students filed lawsuits, including one whose degree was revoked at a trial where he was absent because he had graduated eight years earlier, UVA proposed a series of changes to the proceedings.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.
February 16, 2001» Read More
June 12, 2001
UVA prides itself on its honor system, whose hearings resolve accusations of lying, cheating, and stealing. In theory, they imitate civil trials. Only the fair search for truth in such a system maintains the credibility of campus justice. History teaches that procedural protections and fundamental fairness must be thought about impartially and put into place before crises. This is vitally important for America’s colleges and universities, where “justice” increasingly means “conviction.” UVA’s system had been flawed, but it almost became a reckless engine of injustice at a crucial juncture. In early May 2001, UVA experienced a crisis over charges of […]» Read More