This message was sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Dear students,

It is our pleasure to welcome you to the start of the 2020 fall semester!

Duke University is a community dedicated to scholarship, leadership, and service and to the principles of honesty, fairness, respect, and accountability. These values, now more than ever, will be our guiding principles.

The honor code at Duke is named the Duke Community Standard (DCS) because community is at the center of our conception of what it means to act honorably, a value that defines Duke as an institution and as a student population.  

The DCS establishes norms, policies, practices, and processes for our Duke undergraduate community. Regardless of whether you plan to spend this semester in Durham or will be in another location, as a member of the Duke community, the Duke Community Standard is applicable to you and your peers’ behavior and conduct.

Updates are made to the Duke Community Standard each year in order to enhance and uphold our values. You may access and review the full 2020-2021 Duke Community Standard in Practice: A Guide for Students at this link. However, we’re writing today to highlight key elements of the DCS and draw your attention to additional student expectations in light of COVID-19:

– In response to guidance from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the University has centralized protected status discrimination and harassment matters within the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE). Effective August 14th, student sexual misconduct processes (both  Title IX and non-Title IX matters) will be governed by OIE’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and  Related Misconduct . Our team has worked closely with OIE to develop these policies and to provide seamless information and resources to students. The Office of Student Conduct (OSC) and OIE have been engaged with key stakeholders, including the Student Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Committee, to obtain feedback about the policy to address sexual misconduct. The new policy will be available on August 14, 2020.

– In an effort to serve the diverse and evolving needs of the campus community, the Office of Student Conduct is increasing awareness of and opportunities for participation in adaptable conflict resolution and  restorative practices of conduct matters (page 33 in the DCS Guide). This supports the educational and developmental mission of Student Affairs and the OSC team, and supports our ability to build ongoing relationships with students across the Duke community.

– OSC has aligned its adjudicatory processes to a single standard of evidence for all types of conduct violations. A preponderance of information, a threshold of information meaning that it is more likely than not that an allegation of misconduct occurred (pages 34-37 in the DCS Guide), will now be the evidentiary standard for all decisions of responsibility in formal hearings.  Additionally, unanimity will be required for hearing panels making a determination of responsibility.

– The Undergraduate Student COVID-19 Policy Plan, which you will receive later today, is an addendum to the DCS Guide highlighting student expectations. Any undergraduate who plans to utilize any campus resources this academic year will need to adhere to these important expectations. Durham-based students, even those who do not plan to access the Duke campus, will still need to be aware of and comply with Duke’s expectations for off-campus activity:

  • Students must complete daily symptom monitoring via the SymMon app;
  • All students must wear face coverings when on campus and in any non-campus public setting;
  • Students must follow physical distancing practices whenever possible;
  • All students living in on-campus or off-campus housing are expected to stay in the Durham area throughout the semester in accordance with public health recommendations;
  • All student events will initially be virtual. When student organizations are permitted to conduct any business (meetings, activities, events, or programs), whether hosted on-campus or anywhere off-campus, they will be required to be registered via Duke Groups;
  • Individual students hosting gatherings in their off-campus residence must comply with all policies within the Duke Community Standard and Covid-19 Policy Plan. At present this includes the Duke expectation of no more than 10 people permitted to gather indoors or outdoors.

Violations of these expectations may lead to referral for disciplinary action.

As we all adjust our habits and learn these expectations, many safety interventions will be educational and developmental in nature. But please note that actions that flagrantly disregard the safety of students, staff, faculty and our Durham neighbors will be subject to more serious disciplinary action, including possible suspension or expulsion.

The Duke Compact, a set of policies and protocols recognizing our shared responsibility for our collective health and well-being in light of COVID-19, will be shared with all members of the Duke community later today. All members of the Duke community—students, faculty, and staff— will be asked to enter into and comply with the Duke Compact.

The email you will receive today from the Duke Office of Audit, Risk, and Compliance will include instructions on how to formally acknowledge The Duke Compact, the 2020-2021 Duke Community Standard, and the Undergraduate Student COVID-19 Policy Plan.

The primary work of the Office of Student Conduct involves educational, developmental, thoughtful, and reflective conversations that promote student growth and community standards. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns about student conduct and expectations. As we navigate the new and ever-changing norms together, our team is eager to serve as willing thought partners for the student community.

Duke is a community of extraordinary people. This year especially, we must come together as a community, exhibiting care and accountability for one another, and uphold the principles of the Duke Community Standard. Thank you for your attention to these expectations.

In community always,

Jeanna McCullers
Senior Associate Dean of Students, Director of the Office of Student Conduct

John Blackshear
Dean of Students and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Associate Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education