Chancellor Malatras Issues Emergency Uniform SUNY-Wide Safety Protocols to Strengthen Penalties for Reckless Behavior and Non-Compliance of COVID-19 Codes

September 25, 2020

New Uniform Rules, Developed in Consultation with Campus Leaders from Across the System, Required for all Colleges Designed to Protect Public Health and Ensure Campuses Can Remain Open During Pandemic

Full SUNY Policy Available Here

Albany, NY –
State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced today SUNY-wide standards for violators of COVID-19 safety protocols to strengthen penalties for reckless behavior and non-compliance. The comprehensive policy, drafted in consultation with campuses across the system, provides new uniform rules for campus leadership, and is designed to help SUNY's campuses protect the public health of students, faculty, staff, and community members, and ensure campuses can remain open during the pandemic. Student violators now face immediate academic and housing suspension, as well as possible dismissal, and student organizations in non-compliance face a permanent campus ban.

"I have spoken with our SUNY campus leadership and they know both what is at risk as well as their role in preventing new COVID-19 cases by enforcing health and safety protocols," said Chancellor Malatras. "Intentional or otherwise, there continues to be some individuals violating these critical measures on campuses, increasing the chances of spreading the coronavirus and shutting down on-campus activity. We want all of our students to have fun and enjoy campus life, but we must do so safely. While a vast majority of our students are complying with the rules, we cannot let a few people ruin it for everyone. We all must remain vigilant and help protect each other from this health crisis, and I know so many more of our students are doing so than not. However, in this case, we need full compliance and by approving SUNY's emergency COVID-19 violation policy, I am supporting campus enforcement to make sure all students follow the rules. It is my hope that all students will comply, and campuses will not need to impose any sanctions."

Campuses are required to begin communicating the new policy to students, which becomes effective on campuses no later than October 1, 2020 and remain in place until further action by the SUNY Chancellor.

The policy sets a range of allowable sanctions for the infractions listed below. Allowable sanctions include a suspension from academic and/or housing access with continued access to their academic program via remote learning only (if available and as subject to campus policy and process), an academic and/or housing suspension, or permanent dismissal from the institution. For the full SUNY policy, click here.

  • Intentional Violations of COVID-Positive Students: For students who know that they have tested positive for COVID-19 or know they have had close contact to someone who has tested positive or been treated or is symptomatic for COVID-19, and then intentionally expose other students.
  • Failure to Self-Isolate: For students who fail to self-isolate (because they are COVID-19 positive) as directed by their SUNY campus or the State or local Department of Health.
  • Failure to Quarantine: For students who have been directed by the institution or the State or local Department of Health to complete a quarantine (potentially positive because of a close contact with someone who is positive) period, on or off campus, and then engage in any conduct that would violate such quarantine order.
  • Prohibited On-Campus or Off-Campus Gathering (Hosts): For students who host an on-campus or off-campus gathering of any size, whether indoor or outdoor, that violates campus policy and/or exceeds the current limitation published by the SUNY campus, Executive Order, or the State or local Department of Health.
  • Prohibited On-Campus or Off-Campus Gathering (Attendees): For students who attend a gathering of any size (but not as host), whether indoor or outdoor, that violates campus policy and/or exceeds the current limitation published by the SUNY campus, Executive Order, or the State or local Department of Health.
  • Violations of Face Mask and Social Distancing Requirements: For students found to have committed repeated and/or intentional violations of face mask/covering or social distancing requirements of the campus, Executive Order, or the State or local Department of Health.
  • Contact Tracing: For students who repeatedly fail to comply, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
  • Failure to Comply with Campus Health Protocols: For students who fail to attend at least two scheduled appointments, without sufficient excuse, to obtain diagnostic or surveillance COVID-19 testing under the campus's published protocol, or for students who fail to submit their daily health screening via the campus's portal for at least three consecutive days, the college shall undertake disciplinary action to enforce compliance, including interim suspension, or administrative measures to electronically deactivate card access and restrict access to any buildings with the exception of access required to obtain health care services pursuant to campus policy.

This policy is part of SUNY's three-pronged approach to address the COVID-19 crisis to keep campuses open including: SUNY-wide testing, uniform data transparency, and uniform enforcement.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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Holly Liapis
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