TO:         Deans and Senior Leadership

FROM:  Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President for Administration and Jennifer Francis, Executive Vice Provost

RE:          Public Events for Fall 2020

After careful consideration of local and national conditions, the university has made some difficult decisions regarding events and activities for the fall 2020 semester:

  • No in-person public events will be permitted on the Duke campus until further notice.  This includes performances, concerts, lectures, reunions, alumni and development programs, conferences, symposia, tours, board meetings and any other event to which individuals who are not Duke students, faculty or staff would be invited or expected to attend. Schools, units and administrative departments will receive separate guidance about protocols that must be observed for internal events, such as departmental meetings and workshops, as part of the return to the workplace process.
  • No in-person events hosted, sponsored or paid for by Duke will be permitted to take place off-campus, both in Durham and elsewhere in or outside the U.S.
  • Student Affairs will be providing guidance to students for events and activities that will be permitted.
  • Further guidance will be forthcoming on religious services.

The reason for this decision is simple: we need to remain focused on safely fulfilling Duke’s core missions of education and research.  While public events and engagement are knitted into the fabric of the university, we need to limit public access to the campus and cannot accommodate the added demand on space, resources, and health care services that would be required to run even a severely limited schedule of public events. 

We also recognize that, even with these restrictions, you may still want to propose public events and activities. To that end, there is an appeal and review process that Mike Schoenfeld will oversee in consultation with the appropriate university leaders. For more information see:

Thank you in advance for conveying this information to your faculty, staff and departments.  As much as we would like to think of the fall semester as “normal,” our need to safeguard the health and safety of our university community, and in turn the wider Durham community, means that we will need to forsake many activities that would otherwise be routine.  We will continue to monitor conditions closely and look forward to returning to our regular schedule of broad public engagement as soon as it is safe to do so.