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Duke suspends 2 more campus organizations, sanctions 17 students for COVID-19 violations

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Duke has placed two campus organizations on interim suspension since Jan. 1, and 17 students have faced individual sanctions that may become part of their conduct records, administrators wrote in a Thursday email to undergraduates.

Additionally, eight students have been referred for educational interventions for “less severe infractions of the Duke Compact,” which do not go on student disciplinary records, according to the conduct update, which was sent by Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president for student affairs; Gary Bennett, vice provost for undergraduate education; and Jeanna McCullers, director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

There has been one administrative action hearing for “flagrant violations” of the Duke Compact, they wrote, which include hosting gatherings, failing to follow quarantine and isolation protocols and repeated violations of COVID-19 rules.

So far this semester, there have been no student conduct board hearings resulting in students being suspended for a semester or more. 

The email also reminded students to safely watch this weekend’s basketball game against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. McMahon, Bennett and McCullers wrote that there will be no post-game bonfire this year regardless of the outcome, and individuals participating in or initiating unofficial bonfires “may face prosecution and compromise future bonfire permits.”

“Just remember, the sooner we practice safe behavior and get through this pandemic, the sooner we can *light up* these traditions again,” they wrote.

Since Aug. 7, Duke has suspended seven campus organizations. The OSCCS or Housing and Residence Life has imposed sanctions—which may go on students’ conduct records—on 207 students.

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

The email reminded students that the University is at a “critical point this semester” and every student must consistently follow the Duke Compact. 

In a Tuesday video to undergraduates, McMahon and Bennett told students that if the rate of positive coronavirus cases remains high, students may be limited in their ability to move about campus freely—including potentially going fully remote or or limiting campus access. 

McMahon, Bennett and McCullers also shared that the Office of Student Conduct changed its name to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, reflecting the office’s focus on community. 

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