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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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The Honor System

How does W&L’s Honor System work?

Imagine being able to choose when and where to take a test. Finding your forgotten wallet right there in the library where you left it. Or letting yourself into the science lab with the key your professor gave you at the beginning of the term. W&L's most revered tradition, the Honor System, allows these freedoms and many more. Its guiding precept, passed down from Robert E. Lee during his time as the institution's 8th president, is that students should conduct themselves at all times "as gentlemen." Of course, today's student body has both men and women students, but the simplicity of Lee's vision still resonates.

Our Honor System is not a cumbersome book of rules, but is instead a common understanding that all students uphold: the community's trust is the foundation of Washington and Lee University. Violations of that trust will not be tolerated and result in dismissal from the University. Behaviors such as lying, cheating, and stealing are commonly understood as violations of W&L's Honor System.

Living under the Honor System has many benefits that extend throughout academic and non-academic life on campus. Click here to learn more about how the Honor System shapes life on W&L's campus.