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Vanderbilt updates misconduct guidelines

Aug. 21, 2020, 9:23 AM

The Office of the Dean of Students has announced a revision to the student accountability sanctions for violations of the university’s COVID-19 policies and protocols. The announcement comes as other universities have suspended in-person classes after reopening due to outbreaks on campus. Students were notified of this revision in an email from Dean of Students Mark Bandas this week.

University leadership continues to reiterate that every student must know that the parties and disregard for face masks, physical distancing and gathering size causing other universities to abandon in-person classes will not be tolerated at Vanderbilt.

Beginning with the Phase II transition in June, the university’s Gatherings policy does not permit parties, social events and similar group activities, including those involving alcohol, whether on or off campus because they pose a significant public health risk. If students choose to host a small, informal meetup at their residence, all participants must comply with VU’s COVID-19 protocols, including wearing face masks/coverings, physical distancing, and other personal safety practices, as well as adhering to any other applicable university policies.

Any intentional, pervasive, or repeated violations of COVID-19 policies and protocols, including the university’s requirements for face masks/coverings, physical distancing, and the maximum gathering size, will be addressed through the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity.

The university will impose significant penalties for violating the university’s Gatherings policy, either on- or off- campus, because such gatherings have potential campus-wide impacts. The minimum sanction applied by Student Accountability if a student is found responsible for hosting a gathering that violates the policy will be suspension for a minimum of one semester; a first sanction may be as severe as expulsion, depending on the nature of and circumstances surrounding the violation. Attending, participating in, otherwise supporting, and/or concealing a gathering that violates the policy may also result in suspension or expulsion for a first offense.

The university also continues to share details about Nashville’s guidelines surrounding gatherings with students so they are aware that failure to comply with the city’s public health emergency orders can result in criminal penalties.

Students living on-campus who are suspended or expelled for violating COVID-19 policies and protocols will be required to vacate the residence hall. The university will not issue refunds for tuition, housing costs, or fees.

The Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity may also implement interim restrictions while students await the formal student accountability process if the university has sufficient evidence to conclude that the reported behavior presents a threat to the health and safety of our university community. Those interim restrictions may include but are not limited to: requiring students to sequester in their residence hall room or off-campus accommodation; prohibiting students from attending in-person classes or activities; restricting student access to university buildings; or requiring COVID-19 testing.

If you notice that COVID-19 protocols are not being followed by students, whether in the classroom or around campus, report it by calling the Public Health AmbassaDore Hotline at 615-343-1352.

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