December 31, 2020
We made it through the fall semester! I cannot express enough gratitude for all of you who took the #TogetherNCpledge seriously. You masked up, stayed distanced, got tested and traced, stayed home if you were sick, and showed that you truly care for your fellow Cardinals! I, and the rest of the College leadership, cannot thank you enough! You showed what it means to be part of the Cardinal family.
Even though I know the vast majority of you understand the seriousness of the situation the College and the world continues to face as it relates to the pandemic, there were some who chose not to uphold the College’s policies, procedures, and #TogetherNC pledge this past semester. I write today in order to ensure the entire campus community understands compliance and enforcement procedures regarding the College’s COVID-19 health and safety measures, as well as some changes to policies and procedures for the Spring 2021 semester.
New COVID-19 Non-Compliance Reporting Form
North Central College is committed to maintaining a culture of safety regarding COVID-19 and ensuring that members of our community feel comfortable raising and discussing compliance questions and reporting concerns with confidence and without fear of retaliation. This new form is to be used by members of the campus community to quickly and easily submit information regarding an individual, organization, or office not following expectations outlined in the College’s #TogetherNC pledge. You can access the new form via the College’s COVID-19 website and/or by clicking here.
Updated Non-Compliance Sanctioning Guidelines
Non-compliance with COVID-19 policies and procedures, including commitments outlined in the #TogetherNC pledge, is a serious matter as it may jeopardize the health and safety of the North Central community. Therefore, sanctions for such violations will take into consideration the impact of the behavior, prior conduct history and an individual’s willingness to make the necessary changes regarding future behavior. In other words, sanctions for non-compliance are not necessarily progressive and may be modified as needed.
Although not exhaustive, the table on the COVID-19 Compliance webpage outlines the updates the College has made to the typical sanctions used for violations related to COVID-19 policies and procedures during the fall semester. In addition to typical sanctions assigned to all students, the table also lists additional sanctions to be administered to student-athletes by the Athletic Department. Lastly, it is important to note that the College has instituted a COVID-19 Non-Compliance fine of $200 to be administered as indicated below and/or as deemed appropriate by the College.
Expedited Student Conduct Process for COVID-19 Non-Compliance
To facilitate expeditious management of non-compliance issues and due to the exigent circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic, an abridged conduct process will be employed for COVID-19-related issues/concerns. Students who are identified to have been involved in an incident of non-compliance will receive notification from the College stating they were named in an incident report that alleges their involvement in violations of COVID-19-related policies. The letter will also outline alleged policy violations and any appropriate findings/sanctions. As outlined in the Student Handbook, the College uses the preponderance of the evidence standard when reviewing conduct matters and assigning an outcome. Although no formal hearing will take place, the College will use all available information when reviewing and acting on incidents of non-compliance. Additionally, involved parties will have the right to appeal the outlined findings/sanctions within five (5) business days. However, the findings/sanctions will remain in effect until, and unless, the appeal is upheld.
Student Handbook Updates for Spring Semester 2021
The Student Handbook will be updated to outline the expedited conduct process for COVID-19 compliance issues, to reinforce that, by virtue of enrollment, all students have agreed to uphold the #TogetherNC pledge as well as all COVID-19 policies and procedures, and to allow fines to be administered as interim sanctions.
I know nearly all of you reading this email will not be directly affected by the information presented in it. You have already proven your commitment to ensuring that the North Central College community continues to do all we can to be able to live, learn, and compete on campus for this upcoming spring semester. I can’t say it enough, I am so very grateful for all of you who care for your College, community, and each other. However, I would also implore each of you to share and discuss the above information with those who may not be taking COVID-19 as seriously. If we each do our part, I know that Spring 2021 can be a success.
Although there is much to be done as we each gear up for the spring semester, I hope during this break you are finding some time for restoration, calm, and gratitude, even if just for a moment. Whether or not you are able to spend time with family, know that we are grateful you are a part of ours – the Cardinal family – and we cannot wait to have you back on campus in January. Happy New Year!
Kevin McCarthy (Pronouns – he/him/his)
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students