Virginia Tech is a place where the free exchange of ideas, in an atmosphere of civility, is valued both for the good of the individual and for the entire community. To support the educational mission of the university, to create an environment where all students have the same opportunity to succeed academically and personally and to promote health and safety, Virginia Tech has established policies that set standards for student behavior. As a distinguished educational institution, Virginia Tech encourages students to rise above the standards, to live and learn together in an atmosphere that is characterized by personal intellectual growth, fruitful group interaction, mutual respect, ethical leadership, and to the good of each individual and entire community.

Virginia Tech students are both individuals and members of a learning community. As individuals they enjoy basic rights; as members of the learning community, they also accept certain responsibilities.

Students and the university share the responsibility for education. The university provides classes and many other educational opportunities, as well as personal advice and guidance. Students are responsible not only for studying, writing papers, taking exams, and completing assignments on time, but also for knowing university regulations and course requirements for all levels of their programs of study. It is the responsibility of all students to find and know these regulations and course requirements, outlined in this handbook and the Undergraduate and Graduate course catalogs and other academic policies.

As an institution of higher education, the university is further committed to creating and sustaining a community that facilitates not only academic development, but also the personal development of its members. Fundamental to this commitment is the expectation of the university that the individual members of the community will:

Be honest.

Demonstrate respect for self.

Demonstrate respect for others.

Demonstrate respect for the law and university policies, their administration, and the process for changing those laws, policies, and regulations.

In keeping with this commitment, the university has formulated the University Policies for Student Life to guarantee each student’s freedom to learn and to protect the rights of others. The concept of rights and freedoms carries with it corresponding responsibilities for which students are accountable. This policy is included in this handbook. It is the responsibility of all students to know and abide by the regulations and policies which govern their conduct as members of the Virginia Tech community.  

Virginia Tech abhors behaviors that are racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise disrespectful or discriminating and strongly discourages these behaviors by any member of this community. Behaviors that violate the Student Code of Conduct are addressed through the student conduct system. For example, a student who threatens another individual with immediate physical harm has violated the abusive conduct policy and is subject to student conduct action. Virginia Tech is committed to stopping these behaviors in this community.