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Appealing a decision

Students who are found guilty of an Honor Code violation may appeal the decision to the Dean of the Graduate School within five (5) University business days of receiving written notification of the verdict by submitting the appeal form and relevant supporting documents. 

The appeal must be based on one  or more of the following three grounds:

1. Failure of the Graduate Honor System to follow proper procedures, 
2. Introduction of new evidence, and/or 
3. Severity of the penalty.

The appeal is forwarded to an appellate officer who is well versed in the Graduate Honor System, graduate academic policies, and Virginia Tech standards of ethics, and has received training from the Graduate Honor System. The process in outlined in the Appeal Process flowchart.

The appeal must be limited to the consideration of the specific information pertaining to one or more of the above reasons. The burden is placed on the appealing student to demonstrate why the original finding or sanction should be changed.

The decision of the appellate officer is limited to the grounds of the appeal. Judgments are made according to the following guidelines:

  1. Failure of the Graduate Honor System to Follow Proper Procedures: Determine whether or not the Graduate Honor System followed proper procedures. If proper procedures were followed, then the official decision is enforced. If proper procedures were not followed, then the referred student is acquitted and the case is closed.
  2. Introduction of New Evidence: Determine whether or not the new evidence is relevant to the official decision. If the information is determined to be new and relevant, the appellate officer refers the case for a new Review Panel hearing. The new Review Panel will have no members from a previous panel. If information is determined to be irrelevant or there is no new evidence, then the original decision is upheld.
  3. Severity of Penalty: Determine if the penalty is too severe for the violation(s), for which the student was found responsible. The finding of a violation is not appealable and the case will not be reheard. The appellate officer may consult GHS facilitators or experienced panelists who were not involved with the original case, as identified by the Chair or Advisor to the GHS, if perspective on the severity of the penalty is required. If the penalty is found to be too severe, a lower penalty may be determined by the appellate officer from those specified under Article VII of this Constitution.
  4. The final determination of an appeal is the sole responsibility of the appellate officer. The student is notified in writing of the disposition of the appeal.

For complete information on appeals, please refer to the GHS Constitution, Article VI, Section 2.