Enforcement

COVID-19 has made almost everything about the college experience more challenging. One thing, however, has gotten much easier during this public health emergency: Getting kicked out of school.  

Although most SUNY Cortland students are adhering to policies aimed at protecting the health of the community, some students are still having a difficult time following the rules. In response, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras last week established a uniform set of emergency sanctions for all 64 SUNY campuses.  

Permanent dismissal, suspension for a full year or the loss of campus access – including housing, dining, Student Life Center, the library and other facilities – for a year, are the only three sanctions SUNY Cortland can apply to students for violating key pandemic-related policies, under the mandated guidelines. 

If any of these sanctions are imposed on a student, SUNY policy does not allow that student to receive a refund of tuition, room, board or fees, and the student will be responsible for all amounts owed.  

In addition to dismissal or some form of suspension, student athletes could face loss of eligibility and campus organizations involved in serious violations could lose campus recognition.  

The elevated sanctions take effect Thursday, Oct. 1.  

SUNY Cortland students should be aware that engaging in any of the following could now have a significant impact on their educational career: 

  • Intentionally exposing others - Students who know that they have tested positive for COVID-19, or know they have had close contact to someone who has tested positive or is symptomatic, and then knowingly expose other students, will be expelled or suspended for at least a full calendar year. If that happens, they will be ineligible for admission to any other SUNY institution during the term of their sanction.
  • Violating isolation guidelines - Students who are COVID-19 positive but fail to self-isolate as directed by health officials will be expelled or suspended for at least a full calendar year. If that happens, they will be ineligible for admission to any other SUNY institution during the term of their sanction. 
  • Violating quarantine guidelines - Students who have been directed by the institution or the State or local Department of Health to complete a quarantine period, on or off campus, and then engage in activity that violates that quarantine order, will face dismissal, suspension, or continuation of academics in online format only, with no access to campus, for at least one year.   
  • Hosting a prohibited gathering - Students who host an on-campus gathering that violates room occupancy guidelines or is larger than 10 people; or an off-campus gathering larger than 10 people will face dismissal, suspension or continuation of academics online with no campus access, depending on circumstances, for at least one year. 
  • Attending a prohibited gathering - Students who attend an on-campus gathering that violates room occupancy guidelines or is larger than 10 people; or an off-campus gathering larger than 10 people will face dismissal, suspension or continuation of academics online with no campus access, depending on circumstances, for at least one year.  
  • Violating face covering or physical distancing guidelines - Students who have committed repeated or intentional violations of face covering or social distancing requirements of the campus, will face dismissal, suspension or continuation of academics online without campus access, depending on circumstances. 
  • Failing to cooperate with contact tracing – Students who fail to answer communications from a health official or do not fully cooperate with efforts to track possible contacts of COVID-positive students, will face dismissal, suspension or continuation of academics online without campus access, depending on circumstances.  

The stricter SUNY guidelines also address cooperation with testing efforts by requiring temporary sanctions that can be lifted once a student complies.  

Students who fail to attend at least two scheduled appointments for surveillance or diagnostic testing, or who fail to submit their daily online health screening for three consecutive days, may face interim suspension or have their card access temporarily deactivated and be restricted from campus buildings.  

In the interest of public health and safety, SUNY Cortland is extending its “Good Samaritan” policy to cover potential violations. Students can feel free to cooperate with investigations or seek help for someone without fear of facing conduct charges.

These mandatory measures are necessarily tough, given the potential life-or-death stakes of a large outbreak. We sincerely hope none of our students face these sanctions and instead act responsibly to halt the spread of a potentially fatal virus to their friends, family, classmates and the surrounding community.