My alma mater has been known to revoke the degrees of students who committed other honor violations that were not caught until after they graduated.
There was a case several years ago where a student embezzled funds from a campus organization for which he was the treasurer and didn’t get caught until the next year, when the club’s new president noticed some discrepancies in the books. The university revoked the guy’s degree.
Here’s an excerpt from a judicial opinion that addresses the issue. Note the following language:
- “Because degree revocation is reasonably necessary to … regulate student discipline, that power must be implied, giving the Board the authority to revoke a degree….”
- “Academic degrees are a university’s certification to the world at large of the recipient’s educational achievement and fulfillment of the institution’s standards. To hold that a university may never withdraw a degree effectively requires the university to continue making a false certification to the public at large of the accomplishment of persons who in fact lack the very qualifications that are certified.”
- “Without question one of the ‘institutional standards’ of the University of Virginia is compliance with the Honor system; thus, the University must have the implied power … to revoke the degree of a student who has violated the Honor System while at the University.”
[Note: The white rectangles in the text above are all case citations. In-line citation is customary in legal writing but it can drive you up the wall if you’re not accustomed to it so I blocked the case citations out in the interest of improving readability.]