New SUNY-wide directive strengthens penalties for non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols

This message was shared with students and employees via email on Sept. 30.

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

Last week, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras instituted a comprehensive emergency directive that will strengthen penalties for violations of COVID-19 safety protocols.

Under this directive, students who fail to comply with health and safety protocols and expectations may now face immediate academic and housing suspension, as well as possible expulsion, and student organizations in non-compliance may face a permanent campus ban.

The directive will go into effect at all 64 SUNY colleges and universities, including SUNY New Paltz, on Oct. 1. More information, including what kinds of infractions may result in disciplinary action, can be found below.

We support Chancellor Malatras in leading a system-wide effort to protect the health of students, faculty, staff and communities throughout the state. We also acknowledge that the vast majority of New Paltz students and employees have made every effort to comply with new, coronavirus-related policies on our campus.

The remarkable willingness of our community to adopt a “We Not Me” attitude this semester has been a major factor in our campus’s relatively low COVID-19 case numbers this semester: Of the estimated 1,860 total positive cases at SUNY campuses as of this writing, only 17 have occurred at SUNY New Paltz, and our positivity rate for on-campus COVID-19 testing has remained below 1% for all but the first few days of the semester.

New Paltz is part of the SUNY system, and the Chancellor’s directive strengthening penalties for non-compliance applies here just as it does at campuses that have seen more significant outbreaks.

Under this SUNY directive, students may face sanctions including suspension from academic and/or housing access and up to permanent expulsion from the institution, for infractions including the following:

  • COVID-19-positive students intentionally exposing others to risk of infection
  • Students who fail to self-isolate or self-quarantine as directed by the campus or by state or local health departments
  • Hosting or attending prohibited gatherings on or off campus (gatherings must take place in a location that provides adequate social distancing; social distancing of six feet must be observed; masks must be worn when not consuming food or beverages; gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited by Executive Order of the Governor)
  • Violations of mask and social distancing requirements
  • Failure to comply with contact tracers
  • Failure to comply with mandatory COVID-19 testing policies
  • Failure to submit Health Screenings when on campus

Please click here to view the full SUNY directive.

We are pleased that our collective efforts have allowed us to enjoy a safe and productive start to the fall 2020 semester. We also know that we must remain vigilant and continue to take every measure to protect ourselves and one another. This may include regular spot checks by staff in campus buildings and other campus locations to ensure compliance, both during class times and after hours.

The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, and as we have seen at college campuses across the state and throughout the country, the virus can spread rapidly from person to person if we let our guards down. We are prepared to take action consistent with the SUNY-wide directive as warranted.

We once again thank all students, faculty and staff for the compliance, perseverance and sacrifice necessary to support the health and safety of our community during this pandemic.


Donald P. Christian, President
Stephanie Blaisdell, Vice President for Student Affairs