2020-2021 Academic Year

As a community we are committed to protecting our health and the health and safety of those around us. Brown’s values of caring for others in the University and Providence community, centering education and social justice, and holding each other accountable in ways which restore and transform our community for the better are at the center of all we do. In the interest of the health and safety of those at Brown and in Providence, especially during the novel coronavirus pandemic, we have all committed to engage with each other in healthy and safe ways.  To hold members of the campus community accountable for this expectation, our focus will primarily be on education and informal conversation. However, we recognize that disciplinary approaches may sometimes be necessary in order to protect the larger Brown and Providence communities when conduct is of a higher degree and severity or presents a direct threat to individuals.

Failure to abide by the COVID-19 Community Health and Safety Requirements (“COVID-19 Requirements”) is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct (“Code”). These COVID-19 Student Conduct Procedures (“COVID-19 Procedures”) are designed to address alleged violations of the COVID-19 Requirements. All students returning to campus have agreed to the COVID-19 Requirements by signing the Student Commitment to COVID-19 Community Health and Safety Requirements. For cases assigned to be managed through the COVID-19 Procedures, these procedures will supersede the regular Student Conduct Procedures and will apply to ancillary charges. Failure to follow the COVID-19 Requirements may present a risk to the health and safety of our University community.  These COVID-19 Procedures will ensure that concerns are addressed promptly in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  The COVID-19 Procedures will be subject to periodic review and changes by the University, all of which will be announced through [email protected] and posted on the website at www.brown.edu/osccs. Students are expected to remain informed of any revisions. 

The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards (“OSCCS”) will review all reports alleging prohibited conduct and determine whether the information relates to a potential violation of the COVID-19 Requirements.  If so, OSCCS will follow the following procedures for addressing such allegations.  OSCCS will determine when any ancillary alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct will be heard within the same process.  These COVID-19 Procedures have been created to protect the health and safety of the University community during the pandemic.  As with the Code of Student Conduct, they reflect Brown’s values in caring for others in the University community, educating students, and using restorative approaches to remediate behaviors. 

In evaluating reports regarding alleged violations of the COVID-19 Requirements, OSCCS will take into account a variety of factors before determining how the report will be handled. Whenever possible the focus will be on education and community accountability.  As part of the COVID-19 Procedures, a student may be subject to removal from campus and/or interim academic suspension as provided for in the Interim Measures section below. 

Brown’s primary objective is to encourage healthy behaviors and reduce barriers for students in supporting a healthy community. As such, students who report their own participation in violating the COVID-19 Requirements will not face disciplinary action by the University for minor violations unless OSCCS determines that there was malicious intent. In keeping with the University’s commitment to a healthy, safe, and supportive campus environment, students who report such participation may be required to meet with a health educator and follow recommendations. 

Non-Disciplinary Responses

One or more of the following non-disciplinary responses will be used in situations where  the alleged behavior may violate the COVID-19 Requirements and, based on the information received, OSCCS determines it does not require a disciplinary response but requires some educational intervention, whether in writing or through conversation. As with all matters addressed by OSCCS, these interventions will be recorded with OSCCS for reference purposes and to track any repetitive behaviors.  The following communications will be sent via email, and a text message will be sent if the student’s cell phone number is on file.  All other communications will be through email or phone.

  1. Reminder Letter. A non-disciplinary, written communication to the student regarding the allegations, including a reminder of the commitment signed by all students and containing educational materials around COVID-19 health and safety practices.

  2. Educational Conversation. Students will meet virtually with an administrator for a non-disciplinary discussion about the alleged behavior that is of concern. Students will be informed about the COVID-19 Requirements that may have been violated. Administrators will provide educational content for the student to review and students will be required to re-sign a commitment regarding the COVID-19 Requirements.  Some situations may require that this or a subsequently assigned meeting be with a health educator.

Procedure: Students will receive a letter with the assigned date and time for the Educational Conversation. They will be required to attend the meeting (or contact OSCCS to reschedule) or their case will be immediately forwarded to a COVID-19 Dean’s Review Meeting as a disciplinary matter. If deemed appropriate, a second mandatory meeting may be scheduled for students to meet with a health educator at the recommendation of the administrator.

  1. Community Impact Circle. Students will meet virtually with trained facilitators, representative community members, and other students alleged to have violated the COVID-19 Requirements for a mediated dialogue aimed at discussing community expectations and norms around COVID-19 and community harms and challenges when the COVID-19 Requirements are not followed.

Procedure: Students will receive a letter with the assigned date and time for the Community Impact Circle. They will be required to attend the meeting (or contact OSCCS to reschedule or request an Educational Conversation instead) or their case will be immediately forwarded to a COVID-19 Dean’s Review Meeting as a disciplinary matter. If deemed appropriate, a mandatory meeting may be scheduled for students to meet with a health educator at the recommendation of the circle facilitator.

Disciplinary Responses 

These responses will be used in situations where  the alleged behavior may violate the COVID-19 Requirements and, based on the information received, OSCCS determines a disciplinary response is appropriate.  These interventions may result in a conduct record if a student is found responsible. These responses are similar to those used in the Student Conduct Procedures, with adjustments to reflect the health and safety concerns related to COVID-19’s ability to be transmitted through community spread. The following communications will be sent via email, and a text message will be sent if the student’s cell phone number is on file.  All other communications will be through email or phone.

  1. Letter in Lieu of Review Meeting. For some alleged first time violations for which OSCCS determines a disciplinary response is warranted, students may receive a Letter in Lieu of a Dean’s Review Meeting. Students will have the option of either accepting responsibility and a proposed outcome or going to a Dean’s Review Meeting. 

  2. COVID-19 Dean’s Review Meeting. For repeated alleged violations and/or more significant or purposeful singular violations of the COVID-19 Requirements, a student will be required to meet  virtually with a Dean, or other assigned administrator, to be notified of the reported conduct and for an opportunity to be heard.  When possible, for cases with a respondent from the Alpert Medical School or the Graduate School, a dean from the respective school will decide the matter. 

Procedure: Students will receive a letter with the assigned date and time for the Dean’s Review Meeting. They will be required to attend the meeting (or contact OSCCS to reschedule) or their case will be heard in their absence based on the information available to OSCCS.  Students may be required to self-quarantine until a decision is rendered by OSCCS. Students will receive the Dean’s decision within 24 hours of the hearing.  All outcomes, including all accompanying terms, will be immediately implemented.

If, based on all the information presented during the Dean’s Review Meeting, the Dean determines that a Suspension or Expulsion should be available as an outcome, the student may be removed and restricted from campus and the case will be referred to an Administrative Hearing under the Student Conduct Procedures.

Community Status. If a student is found responsible for violating the COVID-19 Requirements, the Dean will assign a community status from the Student Conduct Procedures listed below:

Reprimand. A reprimand is a written notice that a student has violated the Code and that another violation will likely result in a more severe community status.

Probation. Probation is a designated period of time during which the student is given the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to abide by the community’s expectations of behavior articulated in the Code. Conditions regarding participation in University-sponsored activities may be imposed. Students on this community status are considered to not be in good community standing. 

Probation with Restrictions. Probation with restrictions is a designated period of time during which a student is given the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to abide by the community’s expectations of behavior articulated in the Code. A student on probation with restrictions shall not represent the University as an official delegate or representative, hold an office (elected or appointed) in University groups of any kind, or participate in University-sponsored travel or study abroad. If the student is found responsible for any additional Code violations during the period of probation with restrictions, the student may be subject to more severe disciplinary action. Students on this community status are considered to not be in good community standing. 

Accompanying Terms. In addition to imposing a community status, the Dean may assign accompanying terms designed to encourage responsible behavior and support the well-being of the University community, help the responsible student learn from the experience, and ameliorate the effects of the conduct. 

Examples of accompanying terms include, but are not limited to:

  1. Removal or restriction from campus for the duration of the semester (this is not a suspension from a student's academic program of study but may impact their ability to continue their progress. In these cases there will be communication and coordination with the appropriate academic dean). 

  2. Other educational terms and conditions such as meetings with health professionals, reflective essays, participation in a Community Impact Circle, readings, or other educational measures as appropriate.

Appeals.  Appeals must be received within 24 hours of receipt of the outcome letter and will normally be considered only when: (1) there is relevant new evidence that was not reasonably available to be presented to the Dean and that in the judgment of the Appeal Officer the introduction of the information may have changed the finding and/or outcome by the Dean; or (2) when a substantial procedural error by the University or Dean is demonstrated and in the reasonable judgment of the Appeal Officer such error is sufficient enough that it may have materially affected the decision of the Dean. Appeal decisions will be based on the information provided in the file, including the letter of appeal submitted by the student. If it is determined that the appeal has merit, the Appeal Officer may reduce the severity or terms of the community status and/or accompanying terms or may change the findings.

The Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards or designee will serve as the Appeal Officer for all appeals and provide a decision within 24 hours of receipt of the letter of appeal during normal business hours. All appeal decisions are final.

Interim Measures

When there is a direct threat to the health or safety of the University community, it will be at the discretion of the Vice President for Campus Life or designee to implement an immediate interim removal from campus and/or an interim academic suspension from the University.  Any removal or suspension will be implemented immediately. Upon notice of the status, students removed from campus or suspended will have 24 hours to submit a written response requesting reconsideration. For interim removals from campus or academic suspensions, OSCCS will proceed with an Administrative Hearing Process as delineated in the Student Conduct Procedures.   

Student Groups

Student Organizations will go through the Student Conduct Procedures for Student Groups for all matters, including those related to the COVID-19 requirements. Organizations may be put on social probation or interim removal by the appropriate administrator while the conduct process is ongoing.