The message is being sent to all Duke undergraduate students.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Dear students,

We are writing to share the April COVID conduct and compliance update. We are now less than two weeks away from the last day of classes, and we know it’s taken a tremendous effort to get through this semester and this year. We are so proud of the ways you all have come together and supported each other, while rising above extraordinary challenges. 

We are so close—keep following all health and safety guidelines, keep following the Duke Compact and COVID policies and expectations, and let’s help make sure our seniors get to have commencement, and that all of us get to finish out the semester as we’ve planned.  


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, April 9, we can provide an aggregate overview of following categories of conduct sanctions:

  • 146 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. 187 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.

  • 11 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.

We will provide the next update in mid-May, and OSCCS will report aggregate conduct outcomes for the 2020-21 academic year in August 2021.


Following the incident on East Campus on March 20, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS), Office for Institutional Equity, and DUPD launched an investigation of this incident to determine if more could be learned about the circumstances surrounding this incident. The investigation included an audit/review of any nearby security camera footage, interviews with residents of the building and witnesses, as well as review of all reported information and tips. 

To date, no responsible students have been identified through the investigation; however, the investigation is on-going and has not concluded. Anyone who has any information related to this incident can report it here. If Duke students are found to be responsible for a policy violation related to this incident, the OSCCS will issue sanctions to the responsible student(s). Any incident that is motivated in whole or part by an individual’s race, warrants “acceleration” or elevation of sanctioning. Any conduct process will be confidential under FERPA, but OSCCS will report aggregate conduct outcomes for the 2020-21 academic year in August 2021.


We are in the season of final examinations, projects, and end-of-year assessments. 

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.

We would like to remind students that 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. 

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again—thank you for everything each of you continues to do to make sure we can finish out the semester strong, safe, and healthy. Your fellow students, all of us here at Duke, and the Duke and Durham communities appreciate it.

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