COVID-19 Conduct Protocol and Sanctions

Sept. 30, 2020

In accordance with a directive from State University of New York Chancellor James Malatras and the COVID-19 public health directives issued by the Governor and the New York State Department of Health relating to the re-opening of SUNY campuses, this comprehensive emergency directive has been issued to address violations of COVID-19 safety protocols occurring at SUNY’s State-operated campuses and community colleges.

To effectuate a fair and consistent approach to policy violations by students at its state-operated and community colleges, SUNY has established this COVID-19 sanctioning policy for all state-operated and community college campuses.

Under this policy, all students maintain the due process rights guaranteed to them by the federal and New York State Constitutions, New York State law, SUNY regulations and University-wide and campus policies. Students are strongly encouraged to follow the reasonable requirements of wearing masks/coverings, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, presenting for COVID-19 testing, filling out daily digital health forms before arrival on campus, reporting positive test results, and following all directives of campus, local, and State health officials.

Consistent with SUNY policy, the standard of evidence shall be preponderance of the evidence. Students are presumed not responsible until the college 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.

The 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 provided by the college's Code of Conduct. The college shall determine whether students can participate in their coursework remotely during the investigative and adjudicative process. 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, if allowed under the Code of Conduct, a hold shall be placed on a student’s transcript and release thereof.

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 college is partially or completely closed (or on pause), under the standards established by the New York State Department of Health and SUNY Chancellor, may result in elevated levels of sanction. All sanctions established in this policy serve as the minimum, and the college has the discretion to enact higher sanctions where merited. A finding of responsibility and applied sanction of dismissal or suspension shall, consistent with SUNY policy, leave the respondent ineligible for refund of tuition, room, board, or fees, and the student will be responsible for all amounts owed.

This policy shall apply only during the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and shall end upon order of the Chancellor.

This policy shall take effect at 8:00 a.m. on October 1, 2020. Questions regarding this policy shall be directed to Kim Irland, Dean of Student Life.

For specifics on how the policy would address violations, please refer to the menu below.

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 is 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 one calendar year. For SUNY campuses that maintain a hospital or public-facing health care facility, suspended or dismissed students shall, consistent with campus policy, remain eligible to enter the campus for health care purposes. A student dismissed or suspended from a SUNY campus for a positive intentional violation shall be ineligible for admission to any other SUNY State-operated or community college during the pendency of their sanction.
For students who have been directed by the institution 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 and housing for no less than one calendar year. A student dismissed or suspended from a SUNY campus for a failure to selfisolate violation shall be ineligible for admission to any other SUNY institution during the pendency of their sanction. 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.
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 include a suspension from housing with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process), an academic and housing suspension, or permanent dismissal from the institution. For non-residential students who fail to quarantine, the available sanctions shall include a suspension from academic access to campus of at least one year with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process) and other sanctions detailed above. Failure to follow the directions of State or local health departments may also result in fines, criminal prosecution, and referral to relevant government agencies.
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 institution, Executive Order, or the State or local Department of Health, the available sanctions shall include a suspension from housing of at least one year with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process), an academic and housing suspension of at least one year, or permanent dismissal from the institution. For covered gatherings, all individuals who are on the housing contract/lease (or a member of their family is on the lease), pay rent, or live at the location 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.
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 include a suspension from housing with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process), an academic and housing suspension, or permanent dismissal from the institution. For non-residential students, the available sanctions shall include a suspension from academic access to campus of at least one year with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process) and other sanctions detailed above.
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 each campus. 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 include a suspension from live attendance at the institution of at least one year with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process), a suspension of at least one year, or permanent dismissal from the institution. For nonresidential students, the available sanctions shall include a suspension from academic access to campus of at least one year with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process) and other sanctions detailed above. For covered gatherings, all individuals who are on the lease (or a member of their family is 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.
For students found to have committed repeated and/or 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 include a suspension from academic and/or housing access with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process), an academic and/or housing suspension, or permanent dismissal from the institution.
For students who repeatedly 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 include a suspension from academic and/or housing access with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process), an academic and/or housing suspension, or permanent dismissal from the institution.
For students who fail to attend at least two 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 interim suspension, or take administrative measures to electronically deactivate 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. For students whose access has been restricted, they shall be ineligible to attend live classes (though they may continue in remote coursework only, if available and as subject to campus policy and process), and their 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 byobtaining a diagnostic or surveillance test or by submitting negative results of a diagnostic or surveillance test, as applicable. 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 for at least three consecutive days, without sufficient excuse, the institution shall undertake disciplinary action to enforce compliance, which may include interim suspension, or take administrative measures to electronically deactivate card access (or equivalent) and restrict access to any buildings. For students whose access has been restricted, they shall be ineligible to attend live classes (though they may continue in remote coursework only, if available and as subject to campus policy and process), and their 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 not disciplinary in nature, and the affected student may revive full access by submitting their daily health screening. 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 student athletes, in addition to the other provisions of this policy, a finding of responsibility for any violation detailed above in Sections I, II, and/or III, or repeated violations of other provisions above, may also include, at a minimum, a loss of the privilege of competing in intercollegiate athletics at the institution in the current academic year or longer, temporary or permanent removal of leadership roles, and loss of scholarship (where applicable). For student athletes found responsible for any violation detailed above in Sections I(A), I(B), I(C), the consequences may also include permanent loss of the privilege of competing in intercollegiate athletics at the institution, temporary or permanent removal of leadership roles, and loss of scholarship (where applicable). Such consequences may also impact NCAA, NCJAA, or other conference or association eligibility (pursuant to applicable rules).
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 derecognition 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.