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Policy: Uniform Sanctioning in Response to COVID-19 Student Violations 

In accordance with the COVID-19 public health directives issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health relating to the reopening of college campuses, this comprehensive emergency policy addresses violations of COVID-19 safety protocols occurring at Keuka College in the Spring of 2021. 

This COVID-19 sanctioning policy, intentionally narrowly tailored to the current public health emergency, seeks to create uniformity of sanction to help balance the need to protect the public health of students, faculty, staff, and community members with students’ rights to remain within the educational environment.

This directive does not supersede the definitions of violations of COVID-19 requirements, as defined by our campus Code of Conduct or other policy, but assigns standardized sanctions for such violations, dependent upon gravity and intentionality. All students maintain the due process rights guaranteed to them by the federal and New York State Constitutions, New York State law, and College-wide and campus policies.

Without exception or excuse, students must follow the reasonable requirements of wearing masks/coverings, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, presenting for COVID-19 testing, filling out daily digital health forms, reporting positive test results, and following all directives of campus, local, and state health officials.  

Unlike most policy violations that impact just the accused or a small group of people, a  violation of mandatory COVID-19 safety protocols can have broad impact upon direct, secondary, tertiary, and other parties and can result in their illness, injury, and/or death. Further, violations of mandatory COVID-19 protocols can aid in the spread of the virus, which can result in the partial or complete closure of a campus, loss of academic opportunity, and significant economic damage on and off campus. This is an unprecedented time in the history of Keuka College.

To effectuate a fair and consistent approach to policy violations by students, faculty, and staff at Keuka College, we are establishing this COVID-19 sanctioning policy. 

Due Process Prior to Conduct and Interim Actions

Keuka College students receive due process before imposition of a sanction or reduction of access to the College, with the process concomitant to the gravity of the potential deprivation. This policy does not modify or reduce access to Constitutional due process, but simply sets standard sanctions for violations, consistent with due process. Sanctions shall be applied following a process dictated by the institution’s Code of Conduct. Consistent with Keuka College policy, the standard of evidence shall be preponderance of the evidence. Students are presumed not responsible until the institution makes a finding based upon the evidence. Furthermore, the College has the authority to consider a student’s financial and other exigent circumstances in resolving a violation.

Keuka College may use interim suspension or other interim action for students who commit a  COVID-19-related violation during the pendency of the investigation and adjudication process as may be provided by its Code of Conduct.

Due to the continuing health threat presented by a student under investigation enrolling in another institution without such institution’s knowledge, during the pendency of such an investigation and adjudication, a hold shall be placed on a student’s transcript and release thereof. 

Amnesty and Good Samaritan policies and principles that are already in campus policy to encourage disclosure of violations of federal, state, or local law or campus policy, or participation in an investigation or adjudication of such a violation, may be expanded to apply those principles to potential violations of the provisions of this policy. 

This policy shall apply only during the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and shall end upon order of the Executive Cabinet and as affirmed by the President. This policy shall not be precedential for any time outside of this emergency. 

Generally, and as it relates to this policy, students shall retain all rights to expression as protected under the First Amendment. This policy shall apply equally to all students,  regardless of membership in a protected class. 

This policy shall take effect at 8 a.m. on January 1, 2021. 

Previous history and multiple findings of responsibility may result in graduated levels of sanction, up to and including permanent dismissal. Additionally, findings of violations during periods when the campus is partially or completely closed (or on pause), under the standards established by the New York State Department of Health and Keuka College, may result in elevated levels of sanction. All sanctions established in this policy serve as the minimum, and given the gravity of the pandemic context Keuka College has the discretion to enact higher sanctions where merited. 

A finding of responsibility and applied sanction of dismissal or suspension shall, consistent with Keuka College policy, leave the respondent ineligible for refund of tuition, room, board, or fees, and the student will be responsible for all amounts owed. 

I(A) - COVID-Positive Intentional Violations

For students who know that they have tested positive for COVID-19, from one or more positive tests, or students who know they have had close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or been treated or are symptomatic for COVID-19, and then intentionally expose other students by any means— including, but not limited to, visiting with the COVID-19-positive tested person in an enclosed area or inviting that person to the student’s room, apartment, or other enclosed space; sharing food or other personal items; or hosting a gathering of any size—the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

I(B) - Failure to Self-Isolate

For students who have been directed by Keuka College or the state or local Department of Health to self-isolate (because they have tested positive for  COVID-19) on or off campus, and then engage in any conduct that would violate such isolation order—including, but not limited to, intentionally leaving isolation; exposing other individuals, including students (whether in isolation or not) by visiting with them in an enclosed area, by inviting them to the student’s room, apartment, or other enclosed space; by sharing food or other personal items, or by hosting a gathering of any size—the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

Failure to follow the directions of state or local health departments or the provisions of Executive Orders (including but not limited to New York State on Pause) may also result in fines, criminal prosecution, or referral to relevant government agencies. 

I(C) - Failure to Quarantine

For students who have been directed by the institution or the state or local Department of Health to complete a quarantine period (mandatory or precautionary), on or off campus, and then engage in any conduct that would violate such quarantine order, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester. 

For non-residential students who fail to quarantine, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

Failure to follow the directions of state or local health departments or the provisions of Executive Orders (including but not limited to New York State on Pause) may also result in fines, criminal prosecution, or referral to relevant government agencies. 

II(A) - Prohibited On-Campus Gathering (Hosts)

For students who host an on-campus gathering of any size, whether indoor or outdoor, that violates or exceeds campus housing policy and/or the current limitation published by the College, Executive Order, or the state or local Department of Health, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

For covered gatherings, all individuals who are listed on a housing agreement for the identified space or otherwise assisted in organizing the event shall be considered a host unless it can be shown that they were not present and played no part in organizing, hosting, promoting, or advertising the event.

II(B) - Prohibited On-Campus Gathering (Attendee)

For students who attend a gathering of any size (but not as host), whether indoor or outdoor, that violates or exceeds campus housing policy and/or the current limitation published by the institution, Executive Order, or the state or local Department of Health, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

For non-residential students, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

II(C) - Prohibited Guest/Visitation in the Residence Halls (Hosts)

For any resident who hosts a non-approved person in their room that is not a residence hall student, defined as having a signed Housing Agreement with Keuka College, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

For non-residential students, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

Guest/Visitation Policy 

  • Only Residents* are allowed in on-campus housing.
  • Non-Residents** are prohibited from entering on-campus housing.
  • No overnight guests will be permitted.

* Residents are defined as individuals with signed Housing Agreements who are currently living in College housing.

** Non-Residents are defined as individuals without signed Housing Agreements who are currently not living in College housing.

III(A) - Prohibited Off-Campus Gathering (Hosts)

Acts that occur off campus in violation of social distancing requirements under law, regulation, order, or campus policy present significant health and safety threats on campus and have a nexus to continued functioning of the College. For students who host an off-campus gathering of any size, indoor or outdoor,  that exceeds the current limitation published by the institution, Executive Order, or the state or local Department of Health, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

For non-residential students, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

For gatherings covered under this policy, all individuals who are on the lease (or have a member of their family on the lease), pay rent, or live at the location shall be considered a host unless it can be shown that they were not present and played no part in organizing, hosting, promoting, or advertising the event.

III(B) - Prohibited Off-Campus Gathering (Attendee)

Acts that occur off campus in violation of social distancing requirements under law, regulation, order, or campus policy present significant health and safety threats on campus and have a nexus to the continued functioning of the campus. For students who attend a gathering of any size (but not as host), whether indoor or outdoor, that exceeds the current limitation published by the institution, Executive  Order, or the state or local Department of Health, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

For residential or non-residential students, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

IV - Face Mask and Social Distancing Requirements 

For students found to have committed intentional violations of face mask/covering or social distancing requirements of the institution, Executive Order, or the state or local Department of Health, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

V - Contact Tracing

For students who fail to comply, whether intentionally or unintentionally (unless it can be shown that the student was genuinely not reached by contact tracers through no failure on their part), with COVID-19 contact tracing efforts conducted by the institution or the state or local Department of Health, the available sanctions shall be permanent dismissal or suspension from academic access (including distance learning) and housing for no less than the remainder of the Spring 2021 semester.

VI - Failure to Comply with Campus Health Protocols

For students who fail to attend their scheduled appointments, without sufficient excuse, to obtain diagnostic or surveillance COVID-19 testing under the institution’s published protocol, the institution shall undertake disciplinary action to enforce compliance, which may include:

  • Administrative measures to electronically deactivate ID card access (or equivalent) and restrict access to any buildings with the exception of access required to obtain health care services pursuant to campus policy.
  • Parking privileges on campus may be temporarily revoked such that their car may be ticketed or towed if parked on campus. Restricting access to the campus and revoking parking privileges are administrative actions that are not disciplinary in nature, and the affected student may revive full access by obtaining a diagnostic or surveillance test or by submitting negative results of a diagnostic or surveillance test, as applicable.
  • Interim suspension.

The institution shall notify the student of their reduction of access. Coming to campus or seeking access to a campus building or course without curing this deficiency shall be considered trespassing and may result in investigation and discipline.

For students who fail to submit their daily health screening via the institution’s supplied portal  the institution shall undertake identical disciplinary action to enforce compliance.

VII - Student Athletes

For student athletes, in addition to the other provisions of this policy,  a finding of responsibility for any violation detailed above, may also include temporary or permanent loss of the privilege of competing in intercollegiate athletics at the institution in the current academic year or longer, and temporary or permanent removal of leadership roles. Such consequences may also impact NCAA or other conference or association eligibility (pursuant to applicable rules). 

VIII - Student Organizations

Where applicable, for recognized or registered student organizations, whether on or off campus, academic, social, athletic, or of any other nature,  that have one or more members who know that they have tested positive for COVID-19, from one or more positive tests; or members who know they have had close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or been treated or is symptomatic for COVID-19; and are found to have hosted a gathering of any size, indoor or outdoor, on campus or off campus, that exceeds the current limitation published by the institution, Executive Order, or the state or local Department of Health; the available sanctions shall include de-registration or de-recognition and a report to a national organizing body (if applicable), or may also include permanent ineligibility for recognition or registration. 

Where applicable, for recognized or registered student organizations, whether on or off  campus, academic, social, or of any other nature, that are found to have hosted a gathering of  any size, indoor or outdoor, that exceeds the current limitation published by the institution,  Executive Order, or the state or local Department of Health, the available sanctions shall  include a de-registration or de-recognition, a report to a national organizing body (if applicable), organizational suspension of at least one year, or permanent ineligibility for recognition or registration.  

Student members of an organization found to have engaged in conduct described in either paragraph of this Section, who themselves individually organized or participated in such a  gathering shall, in addition to the sanctions described above, be subject to loss of their membership and/or officer status (where applicable) in an organization found to have so violated.