Code of Conduct violations persist during online learning

Charlotte Block, Staff Writer

Tulane has been conducting class virtually through the online platform Zoom since March 23. Due to coronavirus-related social distancing guidelines, the video conferencing company has become overwhelmingly popular, with its iOS app becoming the No. 1 free download in the app store. The platform allows professors to conduct classes through video webinars, chat rooms and shared screen features. 

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Despite efforts toward a seamless transition onto the platform, there have been recent reports of misconduct which constitute violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

Dean Lee Skinner of Newcomb-Tulane College sent an email to students March 31 alerting them of the expectations of conduct within online classes. 

“We have received some reports of students taking advantage of the virtual learning environment to engage in disruptive behavior in their online classrooms,” Skinner wrote. “To access these online systems, you are logged in with your Tulane credentials, so you do not have anonymity.”

The administration has urged students to report these incidents online. Students who witness an incident should submit a detailed report via the university’s concerns report portal, the email stated. 

“The report should include a detailed description of the behavior and any recorded video or screen shots,” Christopher Zacharda, director of the Office of Student Conduct, said. “If the identity of the disruptive person is known, please submit that information, too.” 

Students identified and found responsible will be subject to the same consequences they would had their classes been in person.

“Depending on the severity of the behavior, the student could get a warning, be placed on disciplinary probation or face suspension or expulsion,” Zacharda said.

“For those cases not resulting in expulsion there would also be an educational component, including researching various policies, written letters of apology or reflection essays.”

Investigations into these instances will still be conducted by members of the Office of Student Conduct remotely. All normal conduct procedures are still in place and will take place remotely. 

“Now more than ever we need to maintain our community norms so that all students and faculty can have the best possible academic experience,” Skinner said. 

Classes will continue to meet via Zoom through the last day of the spring semester, April 28.