Students face penalties for violation of Marshall’s COVID-19 guidelines

Students who do not adhere to the new health and safety guidelines designated by Marshall University administra- tion may face penalties as severe as suspension under the new addition to the Student Code of Conduct, but Director of Student Conduct Lisa Martin said she hopes students are willing to follow them to keep everyone safe.

“The guidelines are just to keep everyone safe, and they are how we keep Marshall safe” she said. “Our new nor- mal is not normal, but if people take care of themselves and make sure they are social distancing and wearing their masks, we can keep the campus healthy and safe for everyone.”

With new safety measures put in place on campus, in- cluding mandatory masks and a required health check for students living on campus or coming on campus for any reason, Martin said students can face serious punishment if they do not follow the new guidelines in the amended Student Code of Conduct.

The health check app includes a short survey students are required to fill out before 1 p.m. every day if they are on campus, and students who do not fill out the survey will not be permitted into campus buildings. Students who do not live on campus or come to campus regularly will still be required to complete the survey before they enter campus

buildings if they are for example, on campus for a meeting or just to grab food. There is no procedure for community members who wish to enter campus buildings yet, but Martin said she will be talking to colleagues to get a policy put into place.

If students fail to follow other coronavirus safety guide- lines on campus, such as refusal to wear a mask inside campus buildings, there will be sanctions and require- ments that must be met before returning to classes.

After the first offense of non-compliance, students will receive a formal warning and will be required to meet with the Office of Student Conduct staff. If a second referral is made for non-compliance, the student will be placed on conduct probation until the end of the semester, the stu- dent will be required to complete a Health, Wellness and Safety training on Blackboard and the Office of Student Conduct may be able to deny access to social events affili- ated with Marshall. Once a student receives a third referral for non-compliance, they will be suspended from Marshall and will be required to meet with the Office of Student Conduct staff and be willing to follow guidelines in order to return to campus.

Martin said the guidelines given to students are for their safety and for the community, and she hopes students un- derstand they will be the reason campus stays open or has to close.

“These guidelines are for on campus and off campus,” Martin said. “I know we’re asking students to do a lot, and I know it’s overwhelming for students because it’s over- whelming for us. So these guidelines are how they can help keep everyone safe and have some ownership in this, be- cause they are the ones that are going to keep us open.”

Though the Student Code of Conduct has not been for- mally added to the website yet, with hopes to be up online before Monday, it is being enforced.

Martin also said the Marshall University Police Depart- ment will be helping keep track of students not following the safety guidelines by monitoring if students are having house parties that violate the 25 person limit on gather- ings, if they are not social distancing or if they are not wearing masks.

Chief Jim Terry said he is ready for students to come back and does not expect students to blatantly disregard the new safety rules. Terry said MUPD’s job has not changed, but they are the last people to get called when there is a safety issue regarding mask wearing.

“We’ll still do our function, it’s just a little bit different function,” Terry said. “Hopefully, we are a last resort, I hope it can be handled with classroom management. I hope they don’t have to call us to intervene at all, but we’ll do what we have to do to keep every- body safe.”

Terry also said MUPD has been reaching out to restaurant owners, bar owners and landlords for help in monitoring safety regulations for students off campus.

“We’re looking to work with out- side agencies, and we’re still talking about it, we got nothing solid yet,” he said. “But in our vision, we can’t have us following the social guide- lines and doing these new social norms here (on campus) and then have somebody running an open and overpacked area with too many people and no masks.”

There is also a website avail- able for students and community members to report students or faculty who are not following the university coronavirus poli- cies. That report can be found at public_report.

Sarah Ingram can be contacted at [email protected] edu.