Informed Retraction was introduced in April 2013, after students voted to add that as an option for those accused of an Honor offense. This provides students a one-time opportunity to come forward immediately after they are made aware of an Honor report. Upon admitting guilt, a student must leave the University for two full academic semesters, and his or her transcript will read “Honor Leave of Absence.” The notation is removed after a year, regardless of whether a student opts to return to UVA. The single sanction of expulsion remains intact as the only outcome for students who are found guilty at trial.

Photo by Luca DiCecco

“If you look at two measures of Honor’s success—how the system functions as a formal structure and how Honor fosters a culture of integrity—the Informed Retraction has been a success on both fronts,” says Nicholas Hine (Col ’15), chair of the Honor Committee. “The IR was designed for students who possess the proper integrity to admit to an Honor offense and recommit themselves to the community of trust after a leave of absence. For the most part, those are the students we see electing to take the IR––even in cases where there is inconclusive evidence against them.”