COVID-19 policies cause spike in disciplinary actions

By Madison Weber ’23, Staff Writer and Social Media Editor

(Cardinal Courier Photo by Madison Weber)

By Madison Weber ’23, Staff Writer and Social Media Editor

With new policies as a result of COVID-19, St. John Fisher College has seen an increase in discipline cases on campus. David Graupman, the director of Student Conduct, clarifies that this increase is not necessarily due to more “dangerous” behaviors, but that with the pandemic more things are considered dangerous. “There are all new potential violations for students.” 

Potential new violations include, but are not limited to, not wearing a mask, ignoring social distancing and room quantities, and violating visiting hours in residential buildings. The COVID-19 pledge that all students have agreed with, requires that students follow these guidelines on and off campus to protect the student body from another shut down.

As a result of the influx in cases, the process has experienced a slight slowdown. Graupman must look at all cases and reports, along with the help of several hearing officers on campus. These hearing officers who are the residential directors of each residence hall, typically handle lower level violations. However, with COVID-19 policies being of high priority, Graupman often needs to be involved. Based on the number of cases in the system, a student can expect to wait two to three weeks since the incident to receive their final outcome. 

Once a student receives their charges, they can choose to accept them and have a restorative conference with Graupman, where they will discuss the consequences of their actions and agree on a punitive measure. If a student feels the charges are not warranted, they can disagree and have an official hearing. At the hearing, they will read through the official reports and the hearing officer will decide whether or not the student is actually culpable. At that point, the hearing officer has the final say in punishment. This could range anywhere from a low level warning and education, to probation, all the way to removal from campus and suspension. 

One anonymous student who went through the disciplinary process last semester for violating COVID-19 policies found the process long and stressful. “I hated waiting to see what my outcome would be.” At their restorative conference, it was decided that they would be put on probation for a semester. “I hated it. I’ve never been one to be in that situation. It definitely made the rest of the semester more stressful.” As a result of one night, that student now has seven charges on their record for the rest of their time at Fisher. 

The Good Samaritan policy is still in effect in the age of COVID-19. Available for students, it “encourages students to seek medical assistance for themselves and/or others.” When used, “the students involved will not receive formal student conduct action, regardless of conduct history.” 

Graupman encourages students to use his office as a “resource” and is happy to discuss any questions with students. “For the most part our campus community is doing a great job.” He urges students making risky decisions to see  the harm they could be doing.  “The people fighting restrictions now are causing us to take steps back,” and possibly causing the prolongation of these stricter policies. Find more information about policies and procedures here.

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