August 27, 2020

During this exceptional time, we all have a responsibility to practice positive behaviors and to comply with MIT’s Covid-19 policies – including those that apply to students who will be living, taking classes, or conducting research on campus – to maintain the health and safety of the Institute and the broader community. Although most of our students are committed to acting responsibly to ensure their safety and the safety of their peers, we know there will be instances in which students will deviate from these important policies, putting themselves and others at risk.

As described in the Student Return to Campus Agreement, there may be times when it is necessary for MIT to take swift and decisive action to respond to a failure to comply with these policies, including restrictions from campus, removal from Institute housing, or a referral to the Committee on Discipline (COD).

Given the unique risk factors associated with students returning to campus and the need to take immediate action to address noncompliance with MIT’s Covid policies, the COD has delegated authority to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards (OSCCS) to address violations of MIT’s Covid-19 student and Institute-wide policies on an expedited basis.

Covid-19 expedited COD process

  • The associate dean for Student Conduct & Community Standards will review each complaint to determine if a case warrants immediate interim action. If so, the associate dean will consult with the senior associate dean of Residential Education and the vice president and dean for Student Life to take interim action. The associate dean and senior associate dean will have a standing daily meeting to review cases.
    • Possible measures include, without limitation, interim suspension of a student from the Institute, interim suspension of a student organization, temporary or permanent removal of a student from MIT housing or relocation, restrictions on student organization or residence hall activities, no-contact orders, restricting a student’s access to certain campus locations, or changes to academic or work schedules.
  • The OSCCS will reach out to the reporting party/complainant to collect additional information if needed and ensure they understand the COD process or address any concerns.
  • The OSCCS will provide written notice of the report and request to meet with the accused student (respondent) for their response. The respondent will be required to meet within one day of their notice letter; the OSCCS will give them a time to meet in the notice letter (usually the same or following day).
  • As a part of the expedited process, respondents will no longer be given an option to submit a written statement, but will be permitted to respond during the meeting with OSCCS. This will make cases eligible for resolution immediately after a student’s initial meeting. OSCCS staff will consult with the associate dean for Student Conduct & Community Standards to ensure consistency in resolving cases.
  • The COD authorizes the OSCCS to resolve any Covid-19 policy violation at the administrative resolution level without consulting with the COD chair, unless (i) removal from Institute-approved housing, (ii) restriction or prohibition of access to campus or specific facilities on campus, or (iii) loss of the ability to obtain future Institute-approved housing are a proposed sanction. All sanctions other than suspension, expulsion, and degree revocation for individual students and suspension of recognition, revocation of recognition, and loss of residence for student organizations may be assigned in an administrative resolution.
    • Administrative resolutions can result in disciplinary warning, probation, and educational sanctions, as well as other measures designed to protect the health and safety of the community. Further, administrative resolutions can result in a modification/restriction of residence hall privileges such as pod membership or access to lounges, kitchens, or other residential spaces.
    • The COD chair will be consulted in the administrative resolution phase when the following sanctions are being considered. The VP/DSL may be consulted if appropriate.
      • Removal from Institute-approved housing temporarily or for the remainder of the period when MIT’s Covid-19 policies remain in effect.
      • Restriction or prohibition of access to campus or specific facilities on campus (e.g., classrooms and labs) temporarily or for the remainder of the period when MIT’s Covid-19 policies remain in effect.
      • For off-campus residents, loss of the ability to obtain future Institute-approved housing.
    • If the OSCCS determines that a respondent has repeatedly violated MIT’s Covid-19 policies or a case is severe enough to warrant suspension or expulsion, the regular COD hearing process will be followed.
  • Administrative resolutions under this expedited process are final and not subject to appeal.
  • OSCCS will send outcome letters to students and copy necessary individuals, including heads of house or department heads, and emergency contacts if appropriate.
  • OSCCS is authorized to resolve cases via informal resolution when appropriate. This may include not taking action (i.e., situations where the DLC or house team has taken sufficient action) or establishing behavioral plans/agreements that outline future expectations and establish desired behavior changes.
  • If the volume of cases warrants additional staff resources, OSCCS will utilize trained area directors to serve as case managers to facilitate the process with OSCCS staff.