Date:    January 28, 2021
To:    NYU Students
From:    Marc Wais, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

Welcome to the start of the NYU spring semester to all returning students and all new students! As we begin classes today, NYU has achieved an important milestone: we’ve been able to re-convene, in-person, once again during this unprecedented academic year. We all can take pride in this achievement; many colleges and universities were not able to stay open in the fall—or indeed, open at all. Too often we heard of COVID-19 outbreaks within the student body, precipitated by risky behaviors by a few individuals (most often off-campus) who then brought back the virus into housing or other community spaces.

Overall, NYU students were extremely thoughtful and behaved incredibly responsibly this past semester in following important health and safety protocols, and for that we are very grateful.

At the same time, students and their parents trusted that we would take this pandemic seriously... and we did. Those few individuals who were not as conscientious as the vast majority of you—those who participated in social gatherings off-campus or in crowded bars and clubs (with many incidents involving alcohol), failed to wear a mask, and/or failed to physically distance—were swiftly identified, put through disciplinary proceedings, and penalized, as appropriate, as a result of COVID-19-related violations of the Student Conduct Policy.

As we begin this new semester, it goes without saying that the stakes are higher than ever: New York State is experiencing more cases than at any time throughout the Fall 2020 semester, hospitalizations are rising, and new, more contagious virus variants further complicate the pandemic landscape. So, again, we ask you to commit to keep each other safe.

We would like to take this opportunity to emphasize our guidance regarding the University’s expectations as well as the potential actions that the University may take if there is a student violation. This brief video provides a 2-minute overview of University expectations, while the list below provides activities that are problematic, do not align with University guidelines, and would almost certainly result in disciplinary proceedings:

  • Parties conducted for the purpose of flouting the health rules;
  • Parties or other gatherings, on- or off-campus, without masks and/or where physical distancing can’t occur;
  • Gatherings in confined spaces, inside or outside, that prevent physical distancing;
  • Using substances in a way that may potentially impair your judgment or make you more lax about risk-reduction measures;
  • Violating required quarantines.

Put simply: stay away from gatherings where there are no masks or distancing, even at off-campus locations and private residences.

The University will investigate every report it receives of an alleged violation of our student conduct policies and public health guidelines. Sanctions may include restriction from campus, immediate removal from the residence halls and cancellation of the housing license, or suspension from the University. In general, if a student is found to have participated in a gathering that impacts the community’s health and safety, including by violating public health guidelines, they will likely be suspended for at least one academic semester.

In these uncertain times, please know the University is here to support you as best we can as you pursue your course of study. This is best accomplished through our collective efforts. As always, NYU’s Wellness Exchange is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Learn more about our medical and mental health services and other online programming, services, and opportunities.

As we begin spring classes, we trust you will continue to be thoughtful and responsible in your decision making. We’re counting on each and every one of you! Because, we will only succeed as a community with a shared commitment to keep each other safe.

Good luck with your classes and the spring semester! Take care, be well, and stay safe-