University Housing has adopted several policies to limit the spread of COVID-19 within residence halls. While the number of disciplinary hearings due to violations is low, residents may be subjected to a variety of other sanctions depending on the circumstances.
Disciplinary hearings take place when a student is found in violation of University Housing policy. Students may opt for an administrative review, which is a one-on-one hearing with a hearing officer, or to select a hearing panel review comprised of a student, faculty member and a staff member. The severity of the sanctions depends on the circumstances, according to Rex Jackson, associate director of resident life. Jackson said disciplinary measures are intended to educate, not to punish, but a student may be asked to leave University Housing if those measures are not effective.
“It can range from just a simple conversation where we talk about the policy, what expectations are, see if there’s any gray area … to just kind of a warning, like, ‘Hey, don’t let this happen again.’ Depending on the circumstances, it could be probation at the housing level. We do, in some policy violations, policies surrounding COVID being one of them, have the option of doing university-level probation,” Jackson said.
Director of University Housing Mallory Sidarous said some actions will not offer multiple opportunities for education, as with sanctions for tampering with fire equipment, because they pose a risk to the greater community.
“If someone left their space while they were supposed to be in isolation or quarantine, they would be expected to leave campus, and they would have to find an off-campus location to complete their isolation or quarantine,” Sidarous said.
Jackson said the number of COVID-19 violation hearings has stayed relatively low, in part due to the no guest policy.
“At this point, it’s less than 10 [hearings] that I would say could remotely be connected to any of our COVID policies,” Jackson said.
Resident assistants may also report noncompliant behavior, Jackson said, and were trained to approach situations related to COVID-19.
“It’s just engaging in a conversation when they see behavior or actions that may not necessarily align with our policies, and then they submit an incident report and then that is reviewed by a professional staff member to determine … is this something we need to explore through the conduct process? Is it just something that we file as information only, and see, does it pop up again?” Jackson said.
Jackson said large gatherings within residence halls may be curbed by RAs and other students reporting them.
“Could students have more people in that space than we have set up for our policies? Absolutely, that can happen. When we come across it, we will address it,” Jackson said. “Now, the disadvantage for residents in the halls is it is far easier to come across those things, because if you have spent any time in a residence hall-style apartment or room, noise does not get contained very well.”
More serious concerns or repeat offenses may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.
“Housing is doing pretty much anything that’s going on in their own spaces. So if residents aren’t complying with the face coverings expectation [in residential areas], or if they’re not abiding by their guest policy, then they’re going to handle that,” Dean of Students Kara Shustrin said. “It may come to us if they’ve been through the housing process and they’re still kind of not getting that message.”
The student code of conduct may still apply to students off campus if there is a potential for further issues at SIUE, known as a nexus to campus. Shustrin said the university has been working with the Edwardsville police and fire departments to stay informed of off-campus behavior.
“If the Edwardsville police or fire department are responding to, let’s say, a big party off campus, we’re going to need to know about that, because that’s just not safe. And those folks, if there are issues with COVID exposure and then they’re going to be on campus, those are things that could negatively impact the campus community,” Shustrin said. “We’ve gotten several reports that we’re following up on right now and talking to students.”
To learn more about University Housing’s COVID-19 policies, visit their website.