Duke Community Standard updated to address AI, re-define disciplinary action using ‘educational framing’

From the prohibition of unrestrained animals to the addition of BORGS to common-source containers, the Duke Community Standard provides guidelines and regulations that apply to all aspects of student life, and this year, several changes have been made to the nearly-70 page document.

The Office for Student Conduct and Community Standards, which investigates and resolves alleged violations of University policy, told The Chronicle the details behind the updates made to the Duke Community Standard, which fall under themes of artificial intelligence, personal freedom, respect and learning-focused punishment.

“We review our policies every year to address emerging patterns and trends that we’ve seen on college campuses across the country,” the OSCCS wrote in an email to The Chronicle.

A primary addition to the updated Community Standard is the regulation of AI. In the section on academic dishonesty, AI is included as a form of “unauthorized shared resources.” Additionally, the new Computing and Electric Communications section outlines how to make acceptable use of computing and electronic resources. 

“Once advanced AI software became accessible to the general public, as seen with large language models like ChatGPT, we knew that the updated Duke Community Standard should include guidance on how to approach this emerging technology, particularly where it concerns appropriate citations and academic integrity,” OSCCS wrote in the email. 

The DCS still allows for departments and professors to make their own decisions about AI in their classrooms, while maintaining University-wide policies.

The DCS’s hazing policy has also been changed to include a more robust list of sample activities and situations. 

“In Student Affairs, we understand how powerful student groups can be in creating a sense of belonging for various Duke students … We also understand that Duke, like every college campus, has students who may be vulnerable to hazing experiences,” OSCCS wrote. “Because of the University’s commitment to student wellbeing, campus safety, and hazing prevention, the DCS includes an entire section on hazing.”

Reports of hazing shared with their office will be met with “appropriate follow-up and action” which could include investigations, conduct hearings, interim actions and restrictions.

A new Advertisements section was added to the DCS, providing details about the use of banners, chalking, posters, announcements and bulletin boards. Banners are allowed on the exterior or interior of the Broadhead Center, East Union Building, Bryan Center, the Plaza and residence halls, so long as they are within 5-by-12 feet and without hanging objects or parts covering a room’s windows. Chalking is prohibited on all surfaces.

In writing about the new sections, OSCCS referenced Duke’s history of “promoting academic freedom, self-authorship and self-determination.” 

Students and scholars have “the autonomy to define their beliefs, values, viewpoints and search for new knowledge in their respective disciplines.” However, it is up to the University to provide guidelines for the parameters on how “ideas can be shared and challenged,” OSCCS wrote.

Similarly, the office wrote that policies on picketing and demonstrations describe appropriate means for students to engage in activism without causing significant disruption or infringing on the rights of others to express their ideas.

If the standard is bent or broken, the OSCCS wants to discuss disciplinary action with “an educational framing.” To do so, the term “sanctions” has been rephrased as “outcomes,” which the OSCCS wrote “more appropriately captured the educational approach we use in conduct cases.”

“The Conduct process at most universities is often misunderstood to be punitive spaces where students ‘get in trouble.’ However, one of the goals of the OSCCS is to continue to change that impression at Duke,” OSCCS wrote.

New disciplinary outcomes have been added to the DCS. Now, a “reprimand” is a potential outcome for a DCS violation, and serves as formal warning, while an “admonition” serves as an informal warning. Admonitions and reprimands are not reportable disciplinary matters to external entities, including graduate schools, employers and study abroad programs.

Sophie Endrud

Sophie Endrud is a Trinity first-year and a staff reporter for the news department.  


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