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Duke suspends 1 additional campus organization, imposes sanctions on 75 more students for COVID-19 violations

Since Duke’s last conduct update Oct. 2, the University has suspended one additional campus organization, and 75 more students have faced sanctions that will be included on their conduct records. 

In total, Duke has suspended five campus organizations since Aug. 7, Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president for student affairs, and Gary Bennett, vice provost for undergraduate education, wrote in a Friday email to undergraduates. The Office of Student Conduct or Housing and Residence Life has imposed sanctions—which go on students’ conduct records—on 179 students.

Duke’s conduct updates have not said which organizations have been suspended.

Duke has referred 408 students for “educational interventions” for less severe infractions of the Duke Compact which are “not part of a students’ disciplinary record,” McMahon and Bennett wrote, an increase of 115 since the last conduct update.

The University has issued interim suspensions for six individual students for “flagrant violations of COVID policy expectations and the Duke Compact” pending an administrative hearing, McMahon and Bennett wrote, meaning no additional students have received interim suspensions since the last time. 

11 cases involving “more flagrant misconduct and persistent non-compliance by individuals” are pending review, according to the email. McMahon and Bennett noted that as a result of these violations, some students “have lost their right to remain on campus and must work remotely for the remainder of the semester. Some also face charges that could result in their suspension or permanent expulsion from Duke.”

As Halloween approaches, McMahon and Bennett wrote that with cases rising nationally and other universities fighting outbreaks of the virus, “not much is scarier than COVID.” They urged students to consider how the choices they make now could impact their health and the health of those around them, their holiday travel, Duke’s ability to continue running in the fall and Duke’s spring plans.

The email reminded students to wear masks, stay physically distant, abide by the Duke Compact and choose safer virtual activities, and noted that travel outside of Durham is banned. McMahon and Bennett also noted that gatherings of five or more members of an organization will be considered an organization event—with both the individuals and the organization potentially held accountable for any violations that occur. 

They added that students should not eat together or share food, mentioning that Duke Dining locations are now pick-up only and that eating is no longer permitted in common rooms.

“Stay at least 6’ apart while eating, and choose a safer place to eat—outside or in your room, away from crowds,” McMahon and Bennett wrote. “This means no groups crowded around a table or sitting close together indoors or outdoors.

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