UK Code of Student Conduct Applies to Student Behavior Regarding COVID-19

photo of students at hammock garden on UK campus
Students can safely enjoy hammock gardens on UK's campus while following safety guidelines. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 10, 2020) — The University of Kentucky Code of Student Conduct is designed to promote a safe environment for the UK community.

As such, this semester, components of the code related to physical safety and health will be enforced in alignment with guidelines designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.   

As in previous semesters, the Code of Student Conduct will be enforced this fall for students who live both on and off campus. Over the weekend, several parties at houses and apartments nearby campus were reported. City and university officials are working together to coordinate an appropriate response; that information is being provided to the university to ensure compliance with UK’s Student Code of Conduct.   

If someone creates a condition where they have harmed someone else, such as hosting a large gathering that does not following state and local guidance, Code of Student Conduct 6. L. Harm and Threat of Harm and/or 6. AA. Violations of Law or other UK Policies apply.   

“We trust that our students are going to return to campus committed to keeping each other safe as they pursue their academic and personal goals,” said interim Dean of Students Trisha Clement-Montgomery. “The code exists to protect our community, and we hope that students are mindful of our shared expectations both while they are on and off of our campus.”     

Student Government President Courtney Wheeler said the code is clear when it comes to the health and safety of her fellow students — it applies equally to those who live in residence halls and those who live in off-campus housing.   

“We all need to do our part to protect and respect each other by avoiding large gatherings where physical distancing and masks are not being enforced,” Wheeler said. “Students want to see one another and experience college life again, but we know we have to be safe and smart. If we don’t follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC, the state and the campus, we may find ourselves taking steps backward instead of forward.”   

Wheeler noted the investments UK has recently made to facilitate healthy gatherings, such as a hammock garden near White Hall Classroom Building, placement of semi-permanent tents throughout campus, and additional outdoor furniture, safely spaced and regularly sanitized, in alignment with CDC guidelines.   

Additionally, student organizations can organize CDC-compliant events with assistance from UK through the event management system. 

UK officials are working closely with Lexington Police and city officials to help enforce the Student Code of Conduct, sharing information daily and meeting weekly to discuss issues of concern. 

It’s all part of what UK officials describe as efforts to “make it as easy as possible to be safe.”

Wheeler said she has faith in her fellow students to remain in compliance with the code.  

“At the end of the day, we have to care about others,” Wheeler said. “I don’t wear my mask for me. I wear it to protect my friends and to move us forward as a community in ending this pandemic. I encourage my fellow students to do the same. Let’s be smart and take care of one another.” 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.