Cadets take the lead in important elements of the Institute — the Corps of Cadets, the Honor Court, the Class System, and in the various ROTC units. The manner in which these elements interrelate creates the VMI's unique system of leadership development.
The heart of VMI’s student government is the 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 that “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/her most guarded possession.
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 unique in that it 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.