COVID-19 Impact and Related Student Policies

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all of us within the University community. Until further notice, the Office of Student Conduct is operating in a hybrid working environment. There will be a staff member present in the Office of Student Conduct on the 5th floor of Leavey during regular business hours. Staff may be reached via email or phone (202-687-4056) and will continue to hold all meetings virtually via Zoom. 

Below you will find information regarding student conduct expectations and procedures that have been tailored to address our current context during the COVID-19 pandemic. As our context changes, we will continue to update this information. Please send any questions to studentconduct@georgetown.edu.



Quick Reference Guide

Georgetown University-wide Public Health Guidelines

Student Conduct Policies

Procedural Alterations



Georgetown University-wide Public Health Guidelines

All students are expected to familiarize themselves with and comply with University Public Health Guidelines.

Noncompliance with the COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures and other requirements will be considered a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, which will likely result in enhanced sanctions, including but not limited to, Disciplinary Suspension and/or immediate removal from campus.



Student Conduct Policies

In order to clarify how the Code of Student Conduct policies apply to student behaviors that occur on-campus and off-campus that violate COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, the following Interpretive Guidance will be applied to the Code of Student Conduct’s policy regarding Disorderly Conduct.

Disorderly Conduct (p. 9, Code of Student Conduct) – Actions that disturb others and/or interfere with or could result in harm to others or the University community.

COVID-19 Related Interpretive Guidance: Disorderly Conduct that “could result in harm to others or the University community” as it relates to COVID-19 transmission includes, but is not limited to, any violation of the following health and safety measures while on-campus, in University-owned, managed or controlled properties (“Campus”), or students living off-campus:

  • Failure to wear a mask over the nose and mouth while indoors in University-owned or operated property (except when alone in a room with the door closed, when eating/drinking, or when in one’s assigned room/apartment/townhouse without guests).
    • Students are also required to wear a mask over the nose and mouth whenever directed to do so by University officials, regardless of location and vaccination status.
    • Students who are not fully vaccinated are also required to wear a mask in University-owned or operated outdoor areas at all times where they are or may be in the presence of other persons, except when eating or drinking or engaging in vigorous outdoor exercise and maintaining a physical distance from each other person.
  • Failure to adhere to University public health directives and policies relating to COVID-19 testing, quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing.

It should be noted that other Code of Student Conduct violations may also apply to COVID-19-related behaviors, including but not limited to, Physical Assault, Failure to Comply, Incivility, etc.  Additionally, aggravating factors, including but not limited to, committing multiple violations of the Code during a single incident, will result in more severe sanctions. Please see the Code of Student Conduct.

As stated in the Code of Student Conduct (page 7), when it is determined that a violation of the Code occurred at an individual’s residence, all residents may be held accountable unless compelling information, as determined by the Conduct Officer, is presented during the adjudication of the case.

Back to top


COVID-specific Adjudication Process and Sanctions

In cases where a student is accused of Disorderly Conduct related to COVID-19, this Expedited Adjudication Process and these Sanctions will be used.

Back to top


Residential Living Policies

In addition to the Disorderly Conduct – COVID-19 Related policies mentioned above, all students living in university-owned housing are expected to adhere to the COVID-19 policies established by Residential Education.

Back to top


Amnesty Policy

Georgetown University takes the safety and personal well-being of students and members of the University community very seriously. The University recognizes that there may be circumstances in which the potential for disciplinary action could act as a barrier to students who want to seek critical assistance for themselves or others.

The Student Conduct amnesty policies are designed to enable students and their guests to seek necessary assistance in particular circumstances by reducing the possible barrier of disciplinary consequences.

Amnesty for COVID-19 Related Violations

Under normal circumstances, Code of Student Conduct charges regarding violations of the COVID-related health and safety precautions will not be brought against a student based solely on information they provide when:

  • Seeking medical care for themself or other(s), including seeking aid for an individual experiencing an alcohol or other drug-related emergency by contacting emergency services;
  • Reporting or filing a complaint of sexual misconduct or participating as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness in an investigation of sexual misconduct;
  • Reporting their own or others’ symptoms, cooperating with contact tracing, or following self-isolation or quarantine recommendations.

Students will be required to comply with wellness follow-up, including, but not limited to: educational requirements, guidance by medical or public health officials, and quarantine and self-isolation.

The Office of Student Conduct, however, may still charge students with violations of COVID-19 related policies if those behaviors are reported to the University through other means.

Back to top


Student Behavior in the Virtual Environment

Georgetown University students are part of a distinctive community, and are expected to meet high standards of personal conduct and ethical behavior.  These expectations are set forth in relevant university, school, and departmental policies, codes of conduct, and honor codes (collectively, “University Policies”).  These University Policies apply to the Virtual Learning Environment, just as they would in the on-campus context, unless amended by an authorized University official.  This “Interpretive Guidance” is intended to add clarity to the existing University Policies and their application in the Virtual Learning Environment.  For purposes of this policy, “Virtual Learning Environment” means any Georgetown-related activity occurring virtually through technological means, including but not limited to synchronous and asynchronous class sessions, discussion groups, exam sessions, student group meetings, message boards, and chat sessions.   

Interpretive Guidance

  1. Behavioral Expectations.  Students are expected to conduct themselves in the Virtual Learning Environment as if they were participating in-person.
  2. Disruptions to the Virtual Learning Environment.  Students are required to refrain from activities that disrupt the Virtual Learning Environment, including but not limited to, excessively changing backgrounds or locations during class, or engaging in external tasks or activities during synchronous class sessions. Students are reminded to join synchronous classes from a location that is quiet and conducive to the learning environment to the extent possible and to remain muted to avoid background noise unless actively participating in discussions.  Students who find it challenging to meet these conditions should discuss their concerns with an instructor in advance.  Examples of inappropriate locations may include moving vehicles, cafes, or restaurants. 
  3. Prohibited Activity in the Virtual Learning Environment.  In the Virtual Learning Environment, students are prohibited from displaying weapons, drugs/drug paraphernalia, or other items or content that would violate University Policies if the same were possessed or displayed in-person on campus.  During synchronous class sessions, students are prohibited from drinking alcohol or smoking (including vaping or use of e-cigarettes). 
  4. Appropriate Dress.  Students are required to wear clothing in the Virtual Learning Environment in a manner that would be appropriate for in-person participation.
  5. Camera and Microphone.  Students are required to follow instructors’ directions with respect to camera and microphone use when attending virtual class meetings.  Students who have concerns regarding camera use and privacy should communicate with their instructor. 
  6. Unauthorized Access/“Zoom-Bombing.”  Students are prohibited from entering Virtual Learning Environment sessions or forums for classes in which they are not enrolled, unless authorized by the instructor.   Related, students are prohibited from providing links or access to information for closed Virtual Learning Environment sessions, forums, or events, including but not limited to Zoom Meeting IDs and passwords, to unauthorized individuals.
  7. Recording Policy.  Consistent with the Audio and Video Class Recordings Policy, students are not permitted to make or disseminate personal audio or video recordings of Virtual Learning Environment classes or presentations, unless authorized by the instructor or other relevant university official.  Students with disabilities that may require special accommodations involving recording are encouraged to contact the Academic Resource Center on Main Campus, or the Office of Disability Services at the Law Center. 
  8. Course Materials.  As in the in-person environment, students may not post, publish, copy, sell, or otherwise distribute course materials without the written permission of the course instructor and/or another relevant university official. Such materials include, but are not limited to, lecture notes, lecture slides, video, or audio recordings, assignments, syllabi,  problem sets, examinations, or other students’ work without those students’ permission.  Lectures, demonstrations, performances, and course material produced by an instructor may constitute the intellectual property of the instructor.
  9. Harassment and Discrimination.  Georgetown University’s policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment apply to the Virtual Learning Environment, and can be reviewed at https://ideaa.georgetown.edu/policies/.

Addressing Student Misconduct in the Virtual Learning Environment

When student misconduct arises in the Virtual Learning Environment, instructors have the authority to take appropriate action to respond and address the situation.  Such actions may include, but are not limited to, muting a student’s microphone or disabling their video, or removal of a student from a class session.  

Violations of University Policies may also be referred to the relevant student conduct office at each school for review and appropriate adjudication and disciplinary action.

Back to top



Procedural Alterations

The following modifications have been made to Student Conduct procedures in light of the current context.


Sanctions

Fines

The Office of Student Conduct is sensitive to the personal and financial challenges facing many of our students during this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic and recognizes that fines may be particularly burdensome at this time. As always, we strive to balance the imperatives of accountability, fairness, and care for individuals within our community. After careful consideration, the Office of Student Conduct has developed the following guidelines to address fines at this time.

  • Until further notice, fines will not be assigned as a disciplinary sanction for any first-time violations. Second-time violations will be assigned fines consistent with the Code of Student Conduct sanctioning guidelines.
  • The above first-time fine elimination does not apply to Trash and Property Maintenance citations.
    • Trash and Property Maintenance fines are necessary to uphold the University’s collaborative agreement with the DC Department of Public Works. If the University does not uphold this aspect of its agreement to respond to students’ failure to adhere to trash and sanitation guidelines behavior, the City will resume issuing citations of significantly higher fines to student residences. Trash and Property Maintenance fines will be imposed consistent with the Code of Student Conduct’s sanctioning guidelines.
  • The fee associated with AlcohoEDU is not a fine and students who are assigned AlcoholEDU as a sanction will be required to pay this administrative fee, consistent with the Code of Student Conduct’s sanctioning guidelines.
  • Restitution is not a fine. Rather, it is a means by which to reimburse an individual or the institution for the damage or destruction of their property. Restitution will be assigned as a sanction in relevant cases, consistent with the Code of Student Conduct’s sanctioning guidelines.
  • All fines collected will be used to support initiatives that benefit the Georgetown community.

Please note that all other outstanding sanctions, with the exception of Work Sanction Hours, remain in effect and must be completed as outlined in a student’s Decision Letter. A student who does not complete their sanctions in a timely manner will be placed on Disciplinary Probation I and will remain on Probation until their sanctions are completed.

Back to top


Hearings

In accordance with our Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures (page 27) and Standard Hearing Policies and Procedures (page 18):

[T]he Director for Student Conduct may make reasonable alterations to any of these procedures in the spirit of providing a prompt, thorough, and equitable process for all parties involved in the student conduct process.

Remote Hearings

In an effort to protect the health and safety of individuals engaged in the student conduct process during the COVID-19 pandemic, until further notice all hearings will be held remotely via Zoom. 

Hearing Panel Members and Appeals Committee Members

In keeping with our practice of not allowing our student members to access confidential case materials from their personal computers, students may only participate as Hearing Panel and Appeals Committee members if they are participating in the hearing or committee meeting in-person and are reviewing confidential materials in-person.

Remote Hearing Procedures

See here for details regarding Remote Hearing Procedures.

Back to top