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More than 200 Students Violated Harvard’s Covid-19 Rules During Fall Semester, Report Says

The University has put in place a series of measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus, including weekly testing for many affiliates.
The University has put in place a series of measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus, including weekly testing for many affiliates. By Zadoc I. N. Gee
By Hannah J. Martinez and Sixiao Yu, Crimson Staff Writers

More than 200 students violated Harvard College’s community compact — a list of residential guidelines for students living on campus during Covid-19 — throughout the fall semester, according to an interim report released by the Dean of Students Office Thursday.

The College created the Community Council — a group of students, faculty, and staff members — ahead of the fall semester to help enforce the community compact. As a “non-disciplinary body,” the Community Council members work to review infractions of the community compact and dole out warnings to non-compliant students, though it can send students home from campus housing.

According to the report, 219 students were referred to the Council for violating Covid-19 safety protocols on campus. Of these students, seven were found to have committed no violations while 32 were removed from on-campus housing.

Forty-nine percent of the referrals brought to the Council involved students failing to complete Crimson Clear — the daily coronavirus symptom survey mandated for students living on campus. The second most common violation — 17 percent of the referrals — involved hosting an unauthorized gathering.

Even though the Council handled 219 referrals, a total of 251 concerns were found during the fall semester, as some instances contained multiple violations of the community compact.

The Council took six types of actions in response to alleged violations of the community compact, ranging from a disciplinary warning to removal from campus, per the report.

The most common response to a violation was a warning from a community health lead — a tutor, proctor, or faculty dean — and did not involve a full Council review.

Removal from on-campus housing, which did require formal review from the Council, was the second-most common response. Students who are sent home by the Council are allowed to continue taking classes remotely.

In October 2020, The Crimson reported three freshmen living in Mather House were sent home after hosting an unauthorized indoor gathering with multiple guests.

In an email, Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane outlined the role of the Community Council in protecting the health and safety of Harvard affiliates.

“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."

The College plans to invite up to 3,100 undergraduates to live in residence during the spring semester, including seniors, enrolled juniors, and a select group of underclassmen and petitioning unenrolled juniors. Each student will have to sign the community compact to live on-campus.

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

—Staff writer Sixiao Yu can be reached at sixiao.yu@thecrimson.com.

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