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Three COVID-19 conduct hearings led to suspensions of 1 semester or more, Duke announces

Eleven more students have received sanctions from OSC or HRL

At the close of the fall semester, three Student Conduct Board hearings have led to suspensions of one semester or more due to COVID-19 policy violations, Duke announced Sunday, and 11 additional students since Duke’s last conduct update Oct. 30 have faced sanctions that could be included on their disciplinary record.

Since Aug. 7, Duke issued six individual interim suspensions for “flagrant violations of COVID policy expectations and the Duke Compact” pending an administrative hearing. Since then, three hearings led to students being suspended for one semester or more, “along with other varying sanctions” as a result of Student Conduct Board hearings, Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president for student affairs, and Gary Bennett, vice provost for undergraduate education, wrote in a Sunday email to undergraduates.

“In these cases, some students will be unable to enroll (remotely or in person) in the spring semester,” McMahon and Bennett wrote. 

In total, the Office of Student Conduct or Housing and Residence Life implemented sanctions on 190 students since Aug. 7. These sanctions may become part of students’ conduct records.

Duke has referred 517 students—an increase of 109 since the last conduct update—for “educational interventions” for less severe infractions of the Duke Compact, which are not part of a student’s disciplinary records, according to McMahon and Bennett.

McMahon and Bennett wrote that though the OSC, the SpeakUp reporting line and HRL teams received over 1,300 student conduct reports, “the vast majority of these reports concerned minor infractions of our COVID policies.”

They wrote that more than 500 incidents were resolved through “warnings or educational conversations” and the rate of students and groups being involved in more than one alleged violation was “miniscule.” 

The University held eight additional administrative action hearings for “flagrant violations of COVID policy expectations and the Duke compact” since the last conduct update. Duke has held 27 administrative action hearings in total.

Since Aug. 7, five campus organizations have placed on interim suspension. No additional organizations have been suspended since the last conduct update, and none of the University’s conduct updates have said which organizations have been suspended.

McMahon and Bennett reminded students to continue observing safety guidelines—including wearing masks, washing hands and practicing physical distancing—over break, with increased COVID-19 rates in Durham and other places.

“COVID doesn’t take holidays, and neither should you,” they wrote.

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