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Welcome, Safety Guidelines, and Expectations August 24

Dear Students:

A warm welcome to the class of 2024, and a welcome back to the fall term to the classes of 2023, 2022, and 2021. We have missed your active engagement with the campus and our faculty and staff! We are excited to get this academic year started, as I’m sure many of you are also. 

As we enter into the fall semester, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and the community members of Greencastle, remains paramount. We have continued to keep this priority at the forefront of our planning. For some of you, the option you chose to live and learn on campus or to live in off-campus housing may feel less restrictive than living at home with parents or guardians; however, with that choice comes the responsibility to protect the health of your peers, DePauw faculty and staff, and members of our larger Greencastle and surrounding communities. 

As a tiger who cares, we know you will be committed to complying with the health and safety protocols that have been put in place; in fact, we’ve heard from many parents, guardians, and students who appreciate the investment the university has made to minimize risk and enable us to bring most of our students to campus for the fall term. We very much want you to remain on campus and have every opportunity to meet with your professors and peers in person until we break in November! 

We must emphasize, however, that there are repercussions for disregarding our health protocols, which are there for everyone’s protection. If even a small number of students choose to ignore them, it could lead to an abrupt closure of campus or conversion to all-remote learning for some period of time, as we have seen occur during the past two weeks at other institutions in Indiana and around the country. Several of these institutions have had to quickly pivot to all-remote classes, close for the term, or suspend students due to preventable clusters of illness traced directly to large social gatherings.  

Our ability to remain open this term, and potentially have the opportunity to reduce on-campus restrictions -- which all of us want -- depends on each of you honoring your obligation to, and personal responsibility for, our community. As the term begins, it comes with expectations that you will follow the health and safety requirements and the University Code of Conduct.  

DePauw will have no tolerance for behavior that endangers others or disregards the safety protocols we’ve put in place. Students who choose to engage in such behavior jeopardize not only their own ability to remain in our community but also other students’ privilege to do so.   


  • All DePauw students (including commuters) who will have personal contact with the campus community are expected to follow established COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines, which include wearing masks in all indoor spaces and in outdoor circumstances that require closer than 6 ft of physical distancing, and the prohibition of social gatherings of more than 10 people.   

  • DePauw students are expected to maintain the University’s highest ideals of academic and social conduct.  

  • Whether you live on or off campus, your behavior is not only a reflection of your character, it is subject to the University Code of Conduct requirements. 

  • In addition to complying with the University Code of Conduct policies, those living in surrounding neighborhoods must abide by local city, county, state and federal laws and regulations.

  • Many neighborhoods will strictly enforce noise ordinances and have restrictions on large in-person gatherings; failure to comply with these restrictions can lead to sanction by government authorities.

  • Students that are 21 years old or older should be aware of the Executive Order that bars and nightclubs may continue operations open at 50 percent capacity as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines. However, students must adhere to the COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines, which include wearing masks in all indoor spaces and in outdoor circumstances that require closer than 6 ft of physical distancing, and the prohibition of social gatherings of more than 10 people regardless of location. 

  • Commuters should keep contact information posted for your landlords, emergency personnel, and hospitals readily available. 

  • In order to minimize risk, we urge you to travel only as necessary. If you must travel, please follow health practices and social distancing protocol in locations that you may visit. For the first several weeks on campus, students living in University-approved housing (University owned and Greek chapters) are limited to essential travel only.  

It is critical that we hold ourselves and each other accountable for behaviors. Violations of health protocols reported to the DePauw Office of Community Standards may: 

  • Result in students' on-campus status being changed to remote learning status; or,  

  • Result in sanctions that rise to the level of probation, suspension, or expulsion for individuals or organizations (tuition is not refunded in cases of suspension or expulsion, as per the Code of Conduct). 

Now, more than ever, it is essential that each of you take responsibility for your individual actions and behavior and hold each other accountable. Your actions can have a profound effect on your community, and poor choices can carry very real consequences.   

As young adults and bright, talented students who have worked hard to earn the privilege of learning at DePauw, please be responsible citizens, good neighbors, and caring members of our community who help us remain a residential living and learning campus for fall term. During your first few weeks on campus and throughout the fall semester, you will have opportunities to engage with your classmates, teammates, professors and university staff in a variety of positive, socially engaged (physically distanced) ways. 

We invite individuals and/or groups of 10 or less to engage in outdoor activities around campus such as:  fitness activities, pick-up sports games, walks/biking in the Nature Park, or consider offering a helping hand at the campus farm or engage in a volunteer opportunity whenever possible.  In addition, Housing and Residence, Student Organizations, and the Student Academic Life division will be offering a host of virtual activities throughout the fall term for you to engage in.  For additional information on how to get involved, please consult the Student Academic Life SAL-utations e-newsletter and CampusLabs for ways to connect to your community and be engaged. I look forward to connecting with many of you throughout the term either in person or remotely, and cannot wait to see what incredible achievements you continue to accomplish, especially during these distressing circumstances.


Vice President Alan Hill