Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is the policy regarding alcohol and drugs?

A: Students under the age of 21 may not procure, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages. Additionally, students may not manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess or use illegal or illicit drugs.  Being knowingly present when others are engaged in policy violations is regarded as a violation, even if the student is not engaging in the violation. 

Q: If I did not commit the violation of which I am being accused, why do I need to respond?

A: All allegations of misconduct will be investigated. The investigation process affords the student the right to respond to and refute the allegation. If it is determined that a student is not responsible for the alleged misconduct, the matter may then be closed with no action taken against the student. 

Q: What does a hold on my registration mean?

A: Your registration may be blocked for failure to schedule or attend a meeting regarding an alleged infraction or failure to comply with a sanction. In such circumstances, the hold is removed once you schedule and attend your conduct meeting, or upon completion of the sanction. 

Additionally, students classified as seniors or nearing the end of their graduate/professional program shall have a degree hold pending adjudication of alleged misconduct, including all appeal options.  

Q: What if I am off campus at the time of the infraction?

A: The University Student Code of Conduct shall apply to all conduct that occurs on University premises, at VCU-sponsored activities, and at off-campus locations.

Q: Can my case go through the courts and the university conduct process?

A: University disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against a student or student organization charged with conduct that potentially violates criminal or civil law and the Student Code of Conduct (that is, if both possible violations result from the same factual situation).  Proceedings under the Student Code of Conduct may be initiated and carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings.  Determinations made or sanctions imposed under the Student Code of Conduct shall not be subject to change because of the criminal or civil outcomes.   ‘Double jeopardy’ is not applicable to a university proceeding.

Q: What is FERPA?

A: The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, 1974) affords students the right to consent to disclose their educational records. A student can authorize in writing to have a designated person access confidential academic information. Find additional information at

Q: Will my parents or guardians be notified of a violation?

A: When a student under the age of 21 is found responsible for violating alcohol, drugs, and/or controlled substance laws or policies, the student’s parents or guardians will be notified. The notification will include information concerning the violation, the university sanctions, and reiterate the university’s expectations for future behavior.

NOTE: Residential Life and Housing or the Dean of Students have the discretion to notify parents or guardians in the event of emergent or chronic concerns.

Q: Will my records be released for a background check?

A: A student may need to provide a disciplinary history to a third party for a study abroad program, graduate school, employment, etc. With a signed release by the student, the University will release records to an external agency that only include suspension, expulsion (for Honor System violations, sanctions of a grade of ‘F’ in the course). In compliance with university guidelines, sanctions not noted on a transcript may not be released to an external agency.

Q: What conduct records are maintained and for how long?

A: All student conduct records are maintained for a minimum of seven (7) years, in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. If an individual receives additional sanctions during the seven-year period, records of all violations will be retained until there is a period of seven years following the most recent incident. If an individual is suspended or expelled, complete records of the proceedings and all pertinent documents, including records of previous lesser sanctions, shall be maintained permanently.


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