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More than 500 Students Violated Harvard’s Covid-19 Rules Last Year

According to a College report, 36 students were removed from on-campus housing during the 2020-21 academic year for violating Harvard's Covid-19 guidelines.
According to a College report, 36 students were removed from on-campus housing during the 2020-21 academic year for violating Harvard's Covid-19 guidelines. By Santiago A. Saldivar
By Hannah J. Martinez, Crimson Staff Writer

More than 500 students violated the College’s residential community compact guidelines over the 2020-21 academic year and the summer of 2021, according to an annual report released by the Dean of Students Office Thursday.

The College created the Community Council — composed of students, faculty members, and other affiliates — ahead of the 2020-21 academic year to oversee and enforce the community compact, a list of residential guidelines meant to complement the College’s social distancing and testing protocols amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a “non-disciplinary body,” the Community Council works to review violations of the community compact and issues subsequent warnings to non-compliant students, though it also carries the authority to send students home for not following the College's coronavirus guidelines.

A total of 440 students were referred to the Community Council for violating the community compact in the last academic year, according to the report. Of those, eight students were found to have not committed a violation, and 36 students were removed from on-campus housing.

A total of 108 students were referred to the Community Council over the summer, with three students ultimately being removed from on-campus housing.

The most common violations for students during the academic year were related to not adhering to the College's testing protocol and failure to complete Crimson Clear, a daily coronavirus symptom attestation that was mandated for students living on campus. Over the summer, the most common violations involved the testing protocol and the off-campus travel protocol.

Though the Council handled 440 referrals over the course of the academic year, there were a total of 470 concerns, as some instances contained multiple violations of the Community Compact. During the summer, there were 108 concerns matching each of the 108 referrals.

The Council could take six different courses of action when reviewing each violation, ranging from a disciplinary warning to removal from on-campus housing.

Over the 2020-21 academic year and the summer, the most common response by the Community Council was a warning from a community health lead — a tutor, proctor, or faculty dean — and did not require a full Council review.

A warning from the Community Council chair was the second-most common response from the Council for both the academic year and over the summer.

Removal from campus — an action that required a full Council review — was one of the least common responses from the Council during the summer but was cited as the fourth most common response during the school year.

In October 2020, The Crimson reported that three freshmen were removed from Mather House after hosting an unauthorized indoor gathering with multiple guests.

In a statement from January, College spokesperson Rachael Dane reiterated the Community Council’s role in protecting the health and safety of those on campus.

“The Community Council’s role is to help uphold students’ commitment to keeping Harvard, and the broader community, safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dane wrote. “The Community Council's work is guided by two values: protecting the health and safety of all members of the College community and preserving the ability of students to learn and teachers to teach.”

—Staff writer Hannah J. Martinez can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @martinezhannahj.

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