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Dean of students on COVID-19 policy violations

Sept. 3, 2020

Students,

The COVID-Ready Response handbook, the mandatory student training that includes the Augie Allies Pledge, and the YouTube Live session conducted on August 24, all set expectations for our campus community to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

I wanted to share additional information detailing how the college will respond to student non-compliance with our COVID-19 mitigation requirements. 

First, all current requirements regarding the college’s response to COVID-19 can be found on the Augustana Strong web page, where the COVID-Ready Response handbook and the Augie Allies pledge can be found. These requirements include wearing face coverings, exercising physical distancing, adhering to residence hall visitation policies, and complying with social gathering restrictions. As public health guidance is updated and as the campus status continues to be monitored, these expectations will be updated.

In observing the campus community the last few days, I am impressed by the compliance I am seeing. Masks are being worn, traffic flows are being observed, and it is clear people are mindful of the situation we are all in. Thank you. I am hopeful and confident these efforts will continue.

In order to continue promoting accountability and self-ownership of our actions, I wanted to make clear that the college will use existing conduct processes to manage violations of COVID-19 mitigation requirements. As stated in Inside Augustana, “Conduct on- or off-campus constituting a threat to the physical or emotional safety and well-being of the college community or any member thereof” is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Violations of the COVID-19 mitigation requirements, due to the health threat this behavior presents to the student body and the larger community, will be considered conduct constituting a threat to the safety of the college community and students should expect disciplinary action if they are not in compliance.

Updates provided on August 24 outlined specific behavioral expectations for students returning to the Augustana community. They included:

• Restricted off-campus travel for on-campus students, with very limited exceptions (necessities, off campus work) through Sep. 14.

• Non-Augustana sponsored student gatherings of more than 10 students are not allowed.

• Use of outdoor entertainment venues only (restaurants, bars and other entertainment spots) for all students, whether living on or off campus.

As a campus community, it is understood that students and all members of the community may need reminders to wear masks or wear them appropriately and to physically distance. Our approach has been one of “200% compliance” meaning you hold yourself accountable 100% of the time and you also hold others around you accountable 100% of the time. Even with our understanding that reminders may be needed, repeated or intentional offenses of masking and distancing requirements will result in disciplinary charges as outlined in the COVID-Ready Response handbook.

• First offense: Warning and educational sanction

• Second offense: Warning and $50 fine

• Third offense: Probation, $100 fine and housing relocation if warranted

• Fourth offense: Referral to Dean of Students, dismissal from campus housing and/or dismissal from attending on-campus classes and activities

In addition to these general disciplinary sanctions, as decisions are made that increase risk, sanctions increase. As shared with residential students last week, violation of the Residence Hall visitation policy, for example, will result in the minimum sanction for a first offense being a $100 fine, a temporary restriction on all visitation privileges, and Residence Hall Probation. The minimum sanction for a second offense will be cancellation of the housing contract and change in status to remote learner. 

It is also necessary to acknowledge that there are other offenses that individually present an even higher risk to the safety of our community, such as violation of the social gathering limit of 10 students, either on or off-campus. These higher risk offenses will result in immediate disciplinary charges along with interim actions that take effect immediately. These interim actions may include:

• Interim suspension: The student is immediately suspended from campus and from attending classes.

• Interim separation from campus: Immediately upon notice, the student is not allowed to be present on campus property, including residence halls; status will be moved to remote learner.

• Interim withdrawal of campus privileges: Immediately upon notice, the student will be unable to participate in specifically identified campus privilege(s).

Interim actions stay in place while the matter proceeds through the Student Code of Conduct process.

Augustana College is fortunate to have so many students who are clearly committed to the well-being of themselves, one another, and the institution as a whole. Beyond masking, physical distancing, and many other efforts, the enforcement of our COVID-19 mitigation requirements and our conduct policies are other ways we will continue to coexist with COVID-19 on campus.   

I recognize this temporary new normal here at Augustana College is very different from years past and it can present different challenges for all of us. Together, through compliance with our COVID-19 measures, we position ourselves the best way possible to thrive on campus throughout the fall. I applaud the community’s efforts thus far in responding to the college’s mitigation efforts. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Wes

Wes Brooks, Ph.D.
Vice President and Dean of Students

309-794-7533
deanofstudentsoffice@augustana.edu