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Duke issues 111 more student sanctions, holds 9 hearings for COVID-19 violations since Feb. 4

Since its last conduct update Feb. 4, Duke has issued 111 additional sanctions on students that could be included on their disciplinary record, and this semester, there have been nine student hearings for alleged flagrant violations of COVID policies, administrators wrote in a Wednesday email to undergraduates.

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or Housing and Residential Life have imposed 128 total sanctions on students—which may go on their disciplinary records—from the start of the spring semester to March 12, according to the conduct update.

Dean of Students John Blackshear and Jeanna McCullers, senior associate dean and Director of the OSCSS, wrote that these sanctions include “suspensions for an upcoming semester, formal warnings, disciplinary probation, withdrawal of campus privileges, and educational initiatives.” 

Blackshear and McCullers added that the total number of sanctions does not equal the total number of students as one student can receive multiple sanctions.

Nine students also heard cases through the administration action review panels, which determine if allegations of “flagrant violations of COVID policy expectations and the Duke Compact” could result in interim measures. These measures have included the “loss of campus privileges, interim suspensions, and other interim restrictions,” the email stated.

Between Feb. 4 and March 12, the University saw a spike in COVID-19 cases, which administrators announced March 10 were largely attributed to fraternity recruitment events connected to the Durham Interfraternity Council, a governing body for fraternities that have disaffiliated from Duke. In response, the University implemented an emergency “stay-in-place” order Saturday night limiting undergraduate on-campus activity to essential activities. 

Blackshear and McCullers noted that people in disaffiliated student organizations who host organizational events are accountable as individuals, not as a group. Examples of flagrant violations include hosting gatherings, failing to follow quarantine and isolation protocols and repeated violations of COVID expectations, they wrote.

Additionally, 72 students—an increase of 64 since the last conduct update—have been referred for educational interventions for “less severe infractions of the Duke Compact,” which do not go on student disciplinary records, the email read. 

Two campus organizations—not including disaffiliated fraternities of the Durham IFC—are currently on suspension for COVID-related infractions. Both organizations were suspended in the fall 2020 semester and continue to be suspended in the spring 2021 semester. 

Increase in fall 2020 academic dishonesty reports

Blackshear and McCullers additionally shared that academic dishonesty incident reports in the fall 2020 semester have “more than doubled compared to a typical academic year.” 

“From a typical volume of approximately 89 reports during the fall 2019 semester, 243 reports were submitted during the fall 2020 semester,” the email stated. 

The majority of cases involved “unauthorized collaboration” such as accessing online sites like Chegg prior and/or during exams, posting exam questions to online websites or collaborating with other students during quizzes, post labs and/or examinations.

Blackshear and McCullers reminded students that academic dishonesty is a violation of the Duke Community Standard and students found responsible for “serious violations” of academic integrity will face “sanctions or disciplinary probation or suspension from Duke.”

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