The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Dear students,

We are writing to share the March COVID conduct and compliance update. In the first three days since we asked undergraduates to stay in place we have seen the terrific effort being put forth by students to get through this period. We will provide you with an update on Thursday, but in the meantime, keep up the great work. We know many of you are focused on midterms and thinking about making sure our seniors get to have commencement. Thanks to your faculty, too, for all the ways everyone has adapted to additional remote classes this week, too.  


As we have throughout the year, we are providing a monthly update to share aggregate data around conduct outcomes for individual students and student organizations found responsible for any violations of COVID and Duke Compact-related expectations. As you know, we follow up on all reports of on- or off-campus conduct and investigate to determine any student responsibility.

For the period from the start of the term through Friday, March 12, we can provide an aggregate overview of following categories of conduct sanctions:

  • 72 students referred for educational interventions for less severe infractions of the Duke Compact — these outcomes are not part of a student’s disciplinary record.

  • Sanctions for COVID-related violations are implemented by either the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards or Housing and Residence Life. 128 sanctions have been issued this spring to students (total number of sanctions does not equal total number of students; in other words, one student could receive multiple sanctions). These actions, which include suspensions for an upcoming semester, formal warnings, disciplinary probation, withdrawal of campus privileges, and educational initiatives, 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.  

  • 2 campus organizations currently on suspension for COVID-related infractions; this status carries over from the Fall 2020 semester in both cases. (Note: this does not include organizations disaffiliated with the University)

Administrative Action Review Panels are held to determine if allegations of flagrant violations of COVID policy expectations and the Duke Compact could result in interim measures to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of the Duke and Durham community, pending the conduct process. 

  • students have had cases this semester addressed through Administrative Action Review Panels. Examples of flagrant violations include: hosting gatherings, failing to follow quarantine and isolation protocols to protect fellow students, and repeated violations of COVID expectations. (Note: individuals affiliated with unrecognized student organizations and who host organizational events are accountable as individuals, not as part of an unrecognized group.) As in Fall 2020, interim measures have included loss of campus privileges, interim suspensions, and other interim restrictions.


Academic dishonesty incident reports 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. A majority of cases involved unauthorized collaboration such as:

  • Accessing online sites, such as Chegg, prior and/or during an examination window

  • Posting exams or examination questions to online websites

  • Collaborating with other students by copying and/or sharing answers to quizzes, post labs, and/or examinations.

Academic dishonesty is a violation of the Duke Community Standard. All reports are carefully reviewed and adjudicated; students found responsible for serious violations of academic integrity will also face sanctions of disciplinary probation or suspension from Duke. Do your own work and follow faculty guidance carefully in each of your courses. If you are experiencing challenges in your coursework, please reach out to your faculty member as soon as possible to seek assistance. There are also additional campus resources, such as the Academic Resource Center and the Thompson Writing Center, that can help through tutoring, time management, developing skills and strategies for writing essays and papers.


Thank you, as always, for all you are doing to keep yourselves, your fellow students, and the Duke and Durham communities safe.

Thank you and go Duke,

John Blackshear
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Jeanna McCullers
Senior Associate Dean & Director,
Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards