UNC’s Campus and Community Advisory Committee met Tuesday to review off-campus student behavior this fall and to discuss how the University can improve Community Standards and their enforcement, including clarity of communication.
- Aaron Bachenheimer, executive director of off-campus student life and community partnerships, led a discussion about his “Fall 2020 Off-Campus Student Behavior” presentation.
- Bachenheimer explained the evolution of the Good Neighbor Initiative, which focuses on improving student/non-student relationships in the community, and how it’s adapted new strategies due to COVID-19.
- Bachenheimer described successes in the off-campus community in his presentation, including:
- One repeat violation since July
- Very few gatherings over the state order limits
- Students receptive to outreach
- Challenges described by Bachenheimer include:
- Little mask wearing or distancing in social settings
- Little "podding" or consistency of gathering groups
- Lack of clarity among students that mask wearing and distancing are on par with gathering orders
- The University's inability to get information on participants of gatherings, only hosts
- Community expectations that do not always align with laws (e.g., no gathering or zero tolerance)
- “It’s challenging when the community expectation might be, ‘I don’t believe any students should be gathering at all to any extent,’ and yet that’s not what the guidance, laws, policies or ordinances would indicate,” Bachenheimer said. “I think we need to talk about how we more clearly provide expectations and differentiate what’s public health guidance versus what is the expectation.”
- Most complaints are due to noise-related violations, not necessarily gathering order violations, Bachenheimer said. The University will first issue a warning. The second complaint could result in a referral to the Orange County Misdemeanor Diversion Program.
- Mary Jane Nirdlinger, assistant town manager of Chapel Hill, said specific data, including the number of complaints received and the number of actions the University has taken, will be posted quarterly on Carolina Together. The plan was to release the first report at the end of October, but the final version is still being approved by the chancellor and provost, Nirdlinger said.
- Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Amy Johnson said no students have been suspended due to violating UNC’s community standards, but some have been removed from on-campus housing, as of Oct. 31.
- The committee updated its list of community standards topics to discuss to help make future recommendations. Categories include consequences and enforcement, along with questions that remain.
- The committee will meet again next week to continue discussing community standards and enforcement.
- Additionally, they will discuss their meeting schedule after the last day of classes.