Honor System

Above all else, cadets are men and women of honor and integrity who can always be trusted.

They live by a simple code, the VMI Honor Code, which states:

“A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do.”

The Code pervades all aspects of a cadet’s life. A cadet’s honor is his or her most guarded possession.

Incoming VMI cadets raising hands for new cadet oath during matriculation

The heart of VMI’s student government is the Honor System.

The education of new cadets about the Honor System is the responsibility of the Honor Court. The Honor Court is comprised of first and second class cadets elected by their classmates. In addition to education, the Honor Court is also responsible for adjudicating reported violations of the Honor Code.

The VMI Honor System is a single sanction system. The system does not recognize degrees of honor. The sanction for any breach of honor is dismissal. So, when new cadets sign the book on matriculation day they are committing themselves to a life of honesty and integrity. If their commitment is not complete, their stay at the Institute may be short.

VMI cadets standing at attention and parade marching

An honor system has been in existence from the earliest days of the Institute, although it was not published in written form until the early 20th century. The key components of the honor system have remained unchanged, but the working of the Honor Court and the text of the Honor Code rules continue to evolve.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders