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Examining the Paladin Promise: Students Conduct Violations in COVID-19

Many Paladin Promise violations overlap with Student Conduct violations, yet no students have faced suspension or expulsion this semester.

Interim Dean of Students Neil Jamerson shares Paladin Promise violation statistics, showing that most students get off with a warning, or no punishment at all. iStock

Before returning to campus this fall, all students were required to sign the Paladin Promise, acknowledging their commitment to Furman’s new COVID-19-related rules and regulations. The Paladin Promise includes stipulations such as wearing a mask when directed, adhering to social-distancing guidelines, and monitoring one’s symptoms. It also sets the stage for enforcement of these rules, and the various punishments students may face if they break them.  

All social responsibilities can be found on the Paladin Promise website, which also shares the specific details for punishments. Specifically, for Paladin Promise violations that do not include additional Student Conduct Code violations, punishments can range anywhere from a warning for the first offense to a semester-long suspension for a student’s fourth offense. For Paladin Promise violations that occur in addition to Student Conduct Code violations, punishments can range from a warning to expulsion, regardless of any prior offenses.  

Interim Dean of Students Neil Jamerson shared that Furman has “been able to resolve 40% of Paladin Promise issues without sending students to conduct.” Those students received notice regarding the concern, as well as a warning that future issues would be referred for conduct. That being said, the other 60% of Paladin Promise violations were resolved via Student Conduct and “nearly all of those involved either other Student Conduct Code violations such as underage drinking, or a repeat violation of the Paladin Promise,” according to Jamerson.

As for the students who were referred to Student Conduct and found responsible for a Paladin Promise violation, Jamerson shared that two-thirds received a warning that “a future violation would result in remote learning for a period of time.” The remaining one-third of students referred to Student Conduct and found responsible for a Paladin Promise violation were required to be a remote learner for a time period of typically 2-3 weeks. Jamerson added that no students have been suspended or expelled as a result of Paladin Promise violations.  

Due to privacy concerns, Student Life was unable to share the specific details of Paladin Promise violations, and the frequency of those violations. However, Jamerson did share that the total number of students found responsible for conduct violation(s), including Student Conduct Code violations that occurred independent of Paladin Promise violations, is 255 as of Oct. 23. Those 255 students include the 53 students who were charged in the Kappa Alpha incident prior to second- and third-year students’ return to campus.

Despite the importance of the Paladin Promise, Jamerson shared that “all Paladin Promise violations will be removed from a student’s conduct record once the promise itself is no longer needed.” However, students should note that other Student Conduct Code violations, such as underage drinking, that may have occurred at the same time as a Paladin Promise violation will not be automatically removed. Additionally, all warnings associated with Paladin Promise violations will “reset” at the beginning of the spring term according to Jamerson.  

At the end of the Fall 2020 semester, The Paladin will provide an update to share any additional Paladin Promise statistics that occur after this article's publication.

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