Iowa State uses student code of conduct for violations of COVID-19 orders


Iowa State will be holding students accountable for not following the student code of conduct and/or violating COVID-19 health orders, such as wearing masks and not maintaining social distance.

Trevor Babcock

To hold Iowa State students accountable for violating COVID-19 health orders, the university will use the student code of conduct to handle issues of non-compliance. 

Community guidelines state issues of non-compliance are to be referred to the Dean of Students Office, where each situation is reviewed. 

“We’re an office that functions very much based on what the circumstances of the situation are,” said Sara Kellogg, assistant dean of students and director of the Office of Student Conduct.

Faculty and staff are instructed to handle issues of non-compliance and to report non-compliance in the workplace to their supervisor. 

“Really, what we’re encouraging faculty or staff to do is sort of be that first line in the process,” Kellogg said. 

Recognizing some students or faculty may forget to wear a face covering on walks or leaving their private work space, staff and faculty are instructed to approach students seen not complying with the university’s mask mandate to remind them about the policy while maintaining a physical distance of six feet and to help the student find a face covering to use.

“Where an individual maybe isn’t complying with the face covering, we want some grace to be given,” Kellogg said. 

The current Iowa State face covering policy requires cloth face coverings to be worn in all university buildings, learning spaces, off-campus social gatherings and outside where six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. Social gatherings on- or off-campus must ensure six feet of social distancing, and face coverings are required. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ July 24 proclamation said gatherings of over 10 people must ensure six feet of distance between each group or individual standing alone.

In situations where a student deliberately refuses to comply with community guidelines and/or refuses to leave the area, assistance from police may be used, and the matter can be referred to the Dean of Students Office.

“That’s the type of scenario or situation in which you may have to get information on the student’s name and refer the student to our office,” Kellogg said.

Kellogg hopes situations of non-compliance never reach that point. Issues of non-compliance reaching the Dean of Students Office are met with due process under Iowa State University’s student code of conduct. 

“We would use the same process to evaluate any other situation, such as damage to property, theft, or alcohol or drug violations,” Kellogg said. “We ask for the report, we look at the circumstances of the situation and then make a determination, what the most appropriate response is.”

Interim actions can be implemented prior to a student’s disciplinary hearing. Restriction from certain buildings or spaces, Kellogg said, is an interim action that could be used. 

Defined in the university’s student code of conduct, interim actions are imposed to protect the health and safety of individuals involved in a recent investigation or when a student has allegedly engaged in conduct posing a health and safety risk. 

Other interim actions listed in the student code of conduct include suspension from classes, university facilities and activities if the student’s presence poses a safety risk. 

Students may be immediately removed from student housing if their presence poses a safety risk. 

For issues requiring an investigation, the Office of Student Conduct will conduct meetings to obtain information to decide if a violation of conduct occurred. If so, punishment will fall under separation level or non-separation level classifications. Separation level cases, in which the student must be separated from the university, are more likely to involve violence, injury to other students or threats of serious injury and repeated violations.