The UJC and COVID-19
Each member of the University Community has a shared responsibility to maintain a healthy and safe environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consistent with that responsibility, all students, faculty, and staff who will be on Grounds during the 2020-2021 academic year must comply with public health measures and University policies.
Effective enforcement relies on commitment by students, faculty, and staff to remind one another of appropriate policies and guidelines, and to hold one another accountable. Acting as engaged bystanders to support and assist members of our shared community is the necessary first step in the University’s accountability process.
Minor and infrequent non-compliance
Minor and infrequent non-compliance is defined as unintentional or accidental violations of the University COVID-19 related public health measures, policies, and guidelines that occur infrequently, without the intent to harm or disrupt, and result in prompt action by the offending party to enter into compliance.
Minor and infrequent non-compliance should be addressed at the lowest possible level; reporting is not necessary nor is it encouraged.
Any reported minor and infrequent non-compliance will not usually result in follow-up or formal action.
Significant or repetitive non-compliance
Significant non-compliance is defined as intentional or reckless violations of University COVID-19 related public health measures, policies, and guidelines. Such violations include engaging in conduct which intentionally or recklessly threatens the health or safety of the University community.
Repetitive non-compliance refers to repeated violations of University COVID-19 related public health measures, policies, and guidelines despite informal feedback and/or bystander engagement.
Significant or repetitive non-compliance may result in follow-up or formal action.
Consequences for Noncompliance
An act of noncompliance, which is any violation of the COVID-related policies established by the University or any actions deemed an intentional or reckless threat to the health of the community, may result in any one or more of the three consequences below:
- A conversation with the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS): Usually low level offenses and/or situations where there may have been a misunderstanding of a particular behavior or policy
- UJC Investigation and Trial: Significant or repetitive non-compliance including actions that constitute a violation of University policy or local, state or federal law.
- Interim Suspension: Intentional or reckless behavior that puts others at risk of harm. It may also include instances where a student or student organization refused to comply with past directives and correct their behavior.
UJC Operations upon Receipt of a COVID Compliance Report
If the UJC Executive Committee determines that a COVID complaint is minor and infrequent, it will decline to adjudicate and refer the matter to ODOS for further consideration. This step allows ODOS to track cases for repetition and/or engage the reporting and respondent parties if deemed appropriate.
If the UJC Executive Committee determines that a COVID complaint is significant or repetitive, or the case comes from an ODOS referral, it will accept the complaint. According to University Policy SEC-045, the UJC has jurisdiction over “serious” violations which will be “fact-bound, though we expect it will include repeated violations by the same individual or organization, those that constitute a refusal to comply when warned or encouraged, and large events in plain, intentional disregard of size and distance limitations.”
Applicable Standards of Conduct (SOC)
While UJC will always review and, if appropriate, adjudicate allegations regarding any of the SOCs, most COVID violations will fall under four possible standards: Standards 2, 6, 10, and 12. Please note that these SOCs may be brought forward singularly or in combination with other SOCs depending on the situation:
Standard 2: Any behavior that intentionally or recklessly threatens the health or safety of others.
Standard 6: Violations of University policy in the Record, including (SEC-045).
Standard 10: Violations of federal, state, or local ordinances. Albemarle/Charlottesville County Ordinances can be found here.
Standard 12: Failure to comply with directions of University officials. Such violations may include failure to abide by the Return to Grounds Agreement signed by students prior to beginning the fall 2020 term.
Q: If I get sent to the UJC does that mean that I will automatically face suspension or expulsion?
A: No. While the UJC retains the ability to suspend or expel a student, the Committee does not operate on precedent, meaning that there is no set outcome for any type of violation. We take into consideration the totality of circumstances in each case, including actions taken by students after the violation in question. Frequently used sanctions can be viewed here.
Q: If I am sitting socially-distanced and outside with less than 15 people, do I still have to wear a mask?
A: Yes. The expectation is that masks are to be worn at all times, even when properly social-distanced. Exceptions include eating, drinking, or exercising.
Q: If I go to the Lawn, the Corner, the Downtown Mall, or other places in Charlottesville, and more than 15 people are there as well, could I face punishment for being in these places?
A: Not necessarily. Current local ordinances for restaurants include a limit of 50% capacity, or 50 people, whichever is less. As long as you are part of a group of 15 people or less within those commercial establishments, you are not breaking policy. In regard to the Lawn, as long as you are socially distanced from other groups, wearing a mask, and in a group of 15 people or less, you are not breaking policy.
Q: What happens if we transition fully online?
A: If you continue to live off-grounds throughout the semester, you will still be held to UVA’s public health policy, local/state ordinances, and the UJC Standards of Conduct. If your case is reported and accepted by the UJC during our transition online, your case will be heard via an online platform.