The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Dear undergraduate students,

We hope you are healthy, safe, and well, and are enjoying Winter Break so far, wherever you may be. We are writing with the last conduct update of the fall semester.

First, the big picture: Duke students and organizations successfully adapted to the COVID policies and expectations for fall semester. The Office of Student Conduct, the SpeakUp line, and the Housing and Residential Life teams received over 1,300 student conduct reports, but the vast majority of these reports concerned minor infractions of our COVID policies. Over 500 incidents were resolved through warnings or educational conversations and our recidivism rate—in which students or groups were involved in more than one alleged violation—was miniscule. Our undergraduate student community made countless decisions each day which led to our cumulative success in protecting the health and wellbeing of our community. Thank you!


As we have noted in previous messages, the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) conducts a thorough review of all allegations against students and organizations.  If students are found responsible, sanctions depend on the severity of the violations and students’ prior disciplinary history. Since August 7,  OSC has taken the following actions:

  • 517 — Students referred for educational interventions for less severe infractions of the Duke Compact — these outcomes are not part of a student’s disciplinary record.
  • 190 —  Individual sanctions implemented by either the Office of Student Conduct or Housing and Residence Life. These actions may become a part of the student’s conduct record and in some cases reportable to graduate schools, study away programs, employers, and other university programs in which a student’s disciplinary record may be a factor in participation.
  • — Campus organizations placed on interim suspension.
  • 27 — Administrative Action Hearings held for flagrant violations of COVID policy expectations and the Duke Compact. Flagrant violations include: hosting gatherings, failing to follow quarantine and isolation protocols to protect fellow students, and repeated violations of COVID expectations.
  • — Student Conduct Board hearings which have resulted in suspension of one semester or more, along with other varying sanctions. In these cases, some students will be unable to enroll (remotely or in person) in the spring semester.


COVID rates in Durham and in so many other places are as high as they’ve been at any time during the pandemic, and we must all continue to do our part to help prevent spread in our communities. Over break, please continue to observe all the safety guidelines you’ve become accustomed to this fall—wear a mask, wash your hands often, practice physical distancing, limit close contacts. Find more guidance on safer holiday breaks.

COVID doesn’t take holidays, and neither should you.

We hope that you and your families and friends continue to be safe and well. Have a restful and restorative break.

Thank you and go Duke,

Gary G. Bennett
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Mary Pat McMahon
Vice Provost for Student Affairs