Thursday, August 27, 2020

To preserve the critical university mission of student success, all student engagement efforts and registered student organization activities are strongly encouraged to be moved to a virtual format. We have a shared responsibility to the communities in which we live, learn, work, and serve. By limiting the number of students, employees, and community members involved with in-person activities we will reduce the potential exposure to and spread of the virus – not only through our student population but many of the vulnerable community members living in the greater Iowa City area.

Virtual engagement is a demonstration that we are centering student (and community) health and well-being. Being a Hawkeye means we are accountable to each other, and we take responsibility for our own health, our choices, and the protection of others. Our collective work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 ensures that we all can continue our time on campus and receive all the benefits and resources that it has to offer.

We recognize this will be a change on everyone’s part and we are here to assist. This does not mean we are unable to connect within our “pod or family units”, as described below, or attend services, trainings, worship, or other university sponsored courses or departmental events. It is an effort to align with changing guidance, reduce density, mitigate risk, and limit the spread of the virus within our community and Hawkeye family.

Governor’s proclamation / compliance with guidance

To align with the Governor’s most recent proclamation we are committed to supporting student success both on and off campus. The closure of bars signals the importance of the health of our community and the impact of our behaviors on our community, as recently outlined in this letter.

As a result of this proclamation and our updated guidance for registered student organizations (RSO), including sports clubs, fraternities, and sororities, the Office of Student Accountability will provide swift discipline regarding reports of organizations and students out of compliance with this guidance. The Office of Student Accountability may immediately impose an interim suspension on reported RSOs. The interim suspension will remain in place for the duration of the investigation into the allegations and will involve a suspension of all activities and operations of the registered student organization. This includes all student organization meetings (in-person and virtual), programs, or social events of any nature.

Updated guidance for student gatherings

This guidance applies to behavior occurring both on and off campus. The university strongly encourages students to limit their participation in gatherings involving groups of students, beyond housemates, roommates, pods, or your small campus “family unit” (such as floormates in the residence hall) in light of their potential impact on the health and safety of members of the University community. Pods or “family units” are defined as those small groups of people who have limited interactions, social or otherwise, with one another. As such groups that have been living together in social spaces up to this point, to include residence hall roommates and potentially floormates, off-campus apartment roommates and housemates, and fraternity and sorority house residents are able to engage physically within a quarantine pod while social distancing and wearing a face covering. Because the aforementioned groups of students are already within close proximity to each other, socializing while taking necessary precaution is something that is supported.

Off-campus activities

Due to the increased spread of COVID-19 within the Iowa City community, it has become imperative to set stricter guidelines for social distancing for public health. Therefore, participation in any in-person event, program, or social gathering at an off-campus location that includes ten or more people and does not follow the requirements set forth in the Governor’s 08/21 proclamation will be considered a violation of the Code of Student Life. These gatherings, when reported to the university, may result in disciplinary action consistent with the risky nature of the behavior. Additional questions or clarification can be provided by the Office of Student Accountability.

We understand that you may own or rent the space in which you live; however, as students, you are subject to the guidelines of the University regardless of your proximity to the University of Iowa campus per the Code of Student Life. While your residence may be off campus, your actions off campus impact the ability for the University to continue in-person operations as well as the health and safety of the University of Iowa and Iowa City communities.

These guidelines come after consultation with officials from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and the Governor of Iowa. We expect that students will adhere to this guidance in order to continue in-person operations.

We truly want each Hawkeye to have the best experience possible. We know that this may not be the experience you all wanted, but we know in order to provide you the best experience, we need to work together.

Angie Reams, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students