Student Conduct

A-Z Policies

Duke University has high expectations for students’ scholarship and conduct. In accepting admission, students indicate their willingness to subscribe to and be governed by the rules and regulations of the university, which flow from the Duke Community Standard. These policies reflect the Duke Community Standard’s fundamental values—honesty, fairness, respect, and accountability.

Undergraduates acknowledge the right of the university to take disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion, for failure to abide by the regulations or for other conduct adjudged unsatisfactory or detrimental to the university community.

Students and groups may be held accountable for any violation of university policy that may or may not be included on this site or published in The Duke Community Standard: A Guide for Undergraduates, whether on or off campus. In addition to local ordinances and state and federal laws, the following policies govern the undergraduate community. Note that other university policies that students are expected to abide by are published elsewhere, such as the Housing, Dining, and Residence Life (HDRL) housing license terms, and university parking regulations.

Click on the policy listed below to jump to its definition.

Academic Dishonesty
Lying is communicating untruths or misrepresentations in order to gain an unfair academic or employment advantage. [Wording adopted from the Duke Fuqua School of Business code.]

Cheating is the act of wrongfully using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, study aids, or the ideas or work of another in order to gain an unfair advantage.

Stealing is the act of intentionally taking or appropriating the property of another, including academic work, without consent or permission and with the intent to keep or use the property without the permission of the owner or the rightful possessor. Read more.
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Academic Freedom
Freedom of inquiry and the free exchange of ideas are essential for the fulfilment of the university’s mission. Academic freedom is a right and responsibility of students as well as faculty. Students who believe that their academic freedom has been abridged should submit a written complaint to their academic dean. The dean may enlist the faculty in establishing the merits or extent of the complaint by appointing a disinterested two-person subcommittee of the Faculty Hearing Committee to provide advice. Cases not resolved by the dean may be brought to the attention of the provost. Students may also seek advice of the student ombudsperson in resolving a complaint.
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Banners on the exterior or interior of the West Union Building, East Union Building, Bryan Student Center, and West Campus Plaza are approved and installed by University Center Activities and Events. Housing, Dining, and Residence Life approves banners on the exterior/interior of residence halls (contact the appropriate residence coordinator). Requests for hanging banners on all other university buildings and lightpoles must be approved by Facilities Management located at Smith Warehouse, Bay 1 (919-684-2122). Contact Facilities Management, University Center Activities and Events, or Housing, Dining, and Residence Life for specific guidelines. All exterior banners in residential areas must be removed by the last day of classes each semester.


Chalking is prohibited on any surface, including, but not limited to, sidewalks, archways, and benches.

Posters, Announcements, and Bulletin Boards

The following is a checklist of procedures with reference to the posting of notices on university bulletin boards, building doors, containers, light posts, trees, and sidewalks:

  • Posters/flyers must provide information regarding student activities, give information of an academic nature, make announcements pertinent to the business of the university, or supply information to members of the Duke community regarding available campus services or products. 
  • Posters/flyers must state the name of the sponsoring organization, business, department, or person responsible.
  • As appropriate for the surface, staples, thumbtacks, magnets, masking tape, or transparent tape may be used to attach posters/flyers to approved bulletin boards or posting areas. The use of glue, nails, and duct tape or any other heavy-duty tape is prohibited.
  • Posters/flyers must never be attached to doors, windows, trashcans, entryways, exteriors of buildings, interior walls, stairway railings, floors, benches or ceilings, nor may they be placed on the windshields of parked automobiles or on sidewalks.
  • Posters/flyers may NOT be attached or affixed to any tree or utility pole.
  • Posters/flyers (and the fasteners used to attach them) must be removed within three days after the advertised event.
  • All posters/flyers may be periodically removed from bulletin boards as part of routine maintenance.
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As a community of scholars and learners, Duke University expects those within its community to be responsible with the use of alcohol. This policy shall guide the role of alcohol everywhere on the Duke campus and at all events sponsored by Duke organizations, schools, or administrative units. Students, staff, and faculty members are encouraged to learn about the social, physiological, and psychological consequences of drinking and alcohol abuse. Excessive and high-risk drinking can lead to negative consequences for the Duke community, including assault, illness, injury, litter, noise, property damage, and driving under the influence. All members of the Duke community share responsibility for creating an environment that limits dangerous drinking behaviors and, therefore, reduces the likelihood of these negative outcomes. Read more.

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Animals on Campus
Any animal brought on campus by students or guests may not be unrestrained. With the exception of medically required dogs, animals are prohibited inside university facilities. Any type of animal abuse is prohibited, including but not limited to abandonment of or failure to properly care for an animal. Animals, live or dead, may not be used in pranks or otherwise for amusement or ceremony in connection with any institutional or student group function or activity. For purposes of this policy, the term “animal” includes any wild or domesticated, warm-blooded or cold-blooded animal. 

Animals may not be brought to campus for large-scale student events and activities including, but not limited to, Homecoming, Duke Reunions, Last Day of Classes, Springternational, Joe College Day, Old Duke Concert, etc. For more information, contact University Center Activities and Events at 919-684-4741.
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Bridge Painting

The purpose of this policy is to ensure an aesthetically pleasing campus, protect university facilities, and allow for students to use the “Free Expression” bridge/tunnel without damaging neighboring property. Individuals and groups may express opinions within this area that are not restricted by content, except by legal standards. The surface of the “Free Expression” bridge/tunnel (located on Campus Drive under Main Street) may be painted within the span of the ceiling of the tunnel (but not the ceiling itself), as well as on the outer edge of the Pettigrew Bridge facing Campus Drive and, the exterior (inner) face of the concrete Campus Drive tunnel walls. However, painting is not allowed on the sidewalks or roadways inside or outside the tunnel. Supplies are the responsibility of the painter(s) and are not provided by the university. Painter(s) may not impede the flow of traffic. Any ladders used may not exceed six feet. Read more.

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Classroom Disruption
Students who behave in the classroom in such a way that the educational experiences of other students and/or the instructor’s course objectives are disrupted are subject to disciplinary action, including possible exclusion from a course. Such behavior impedes students’ ability to learn or an instructor’s ability to teach. Disruptive behavior may include, but is not limited to: non-approved use of electronic devices (including cellular telephones); cursing or shouting at others in such a way as to be disruptive; or, other violations of an instructor’s expectations for classroom conduct.

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Computing and Electronic Communications

Security and Privacy
The purpose of this policy is to establish and promote the ethical, legal, and secure use of computing and electronic communications for all members of the university community. Read more.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Uses
This section of the policy describes acceptable and unacceptable user of computing and electronic resources. Read more.

Group E-mail
Large-scale e-mail communications within groups or units, including surveys, announcements, etc., require the implicit or explicit prior approval of that group or unit. Read more.

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Disorderly Conduct
Disorderly conduct is contrary to the mission of the university and will be addressed through the disciplinary process. Disorderly conduct is defined as:

  • any unreasonable or reckless conduct by an individual or group that is inherently or potentially unsafe to other persons or their real or personal property; and/or
  • any behavior by an individual or group that disrupts the peace or interferes with the normal operation of the university or university-sponsored activities.

Disorderly conduct includes, but is not limited to: reckless driving; interrupting or interfering with the carrying out of the duties of a university or public official, including law enforcement; vomiting and/or urinating in public; and, indecent exposure.
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Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia
Duke University prohibits members of its community, both individuals and groups, from manufacturing, selling, delivering, possessing, using, or being under the influence of a controlled substance without legal authorization. A controlled substance includes any drug, substance or immediate precursor covered under the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, including but not limited to opiates, barbiturates, amphetamines, marijuana, and hallucinogens.

The possession of drug paraphernalia is also prohibited under North Carolina state law and university policy. Drug paraphernalia includes all equipment, products and material of any kind that are used to facilitate, or intended or designed to facilitate, violations of the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act.

In addition to disciplinary action, the conduct officer, or designee, may require a student to take a leave of absence, and return to campus may be conditional upon proof of completion of a substance abuse treatment program.
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As stated on the back of the DukeCard, the card “should be carried at all times and presented upon request to any university official. [It] is not transferable. The transfer of an ID card to another person, or the possession of another person’s ID card, may result in confiscation of the card and [disciplinary] action.”

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Failure to Comply
A student or group may be held accountable for failure to comply with:

  • directions, requests, or orders of any university representative or body acting in an official capacity, or impeding with the carrying out of such directives;
  • instructions of law enforcement officials acting in an official capacity; and/or
  • sanctions rendered during the disciplinary process (including sanctions issued by a residential staff member).
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Honesty and integrity are critical components of the Duke Community Standard. A student or group may be subject to disciplinary action for any of the following actions:

  • any intentional misrepresentation of fact (by action or concealment), including furnishing false information, to any university official;
  • any intentional misrepresentation of fact (by action or concealment) to obtain or attempt to induce another to surrender a right, benefit or property; and/or
  • forgery, alteration, or misuse of any official document, record, key, access code or instrument of identification, or possession of such forgery.
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Fire Safety
It is a violation of university policy to light any material on fire on campus. Candles, other open flame devices, and incense are strictly forbidden for use inside university facilities except during official religious ceremonies such as the observance of Chanukah. Those individuals or groups wishing to utilize candles in observance of a religious holiday or any other event shall contact OESO-Fire Safety Division to obtain permission and information concerning fire prevention. Students and groups will be held financially accountable for any damage they cause as a result of violating this policy and will be referred to the disciplinary process. Additionally, students may be subject to a revocation of their Housing License for any violation of the Fire Safety policy. Read more.

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It is against North Carolina state law and Duke University policy to gamble, with the exception of the state lottery. A person/organization is gambling if he/she/it operates, plays, or bets at any game of chance at which any money, property, or other thing of value is bet. Raffles of any kind, including those sponsored by student groups, are also prohibited. A “raffle” is defined as “a game in which the prize is won by random drawing of the name or number of one or more persons purchasing chances” (N.C.G.S. §14-309.15). Poker nights and casino games are permitted only if no admission is charged, no buy-in is required, and no real money is wagered.

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Students and groups are responsible for notifying their guests of university rules and regulations and may be held accountable for the conduct of their guests. Guests can be Duke University students or non-students. Guests on campus who do not abide by university policies are subject to being trespassed.

Students are responsible for the behavior of visitors to their room/apartment and may be found responsible for behavior that occurs there whether or not the occupant(s) is/are present.
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Harassment of any individual for any reason is not acceptable at Duke University.  Harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that, because of its severity and/or persistence, interferes significantly with an individual’s work or education, or adversely affects an individual’s living conditions. (See the “Student Sexual Misconduct Policy” for the definition of and procedures related to sex/gender-based harassment.) The Office for Institutional Equity responds to allegations of harassment in which an accused is not an undergraduate student; see for the university’s full Harassment Policy. Read more.

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Hazing is a serious infraction of university regulations. The potential for hazing typically arises as part of a student’s introduction to or initiation in an organization (fraternity, sorority, athletic team, or other group) in which there is often a perceived or real power differential between members of the organization and those newly joining it. Read more.

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Missing Student Notification
In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, Duke University has developed a policy for notifying the designated emergency contact in ACES for a student who is determined to be missing. 

A student may be deemed missing if it is reported to appropriate university officials (Duke Police, residence coordinator on-call, or the dean on-call) that the student has been unreachable via personal contact, telephone, e-mail, or other means of electronic communication for 24 hours or more. A residence coordinator on-call or dean on-call who receives such a report will immediately report it to Duke University Police.

Upon determination by Duke University Police that a student is missing, the designated emergency contact will be notified as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after that determination. The student’s custodial parent or guardian will also be notified if that person is not the designated emergency contact and the student is under 18 years of age and not an emancipated individual.

Students are encouraged to periodically review and update their emergency contact information in ACES. Students may enter in ACES a separate “Missing Person” emergency contact or contacts, which will remain confidential and shared only with appropriate university personnel.
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Students and groups are expected to respect the rights of others at all times. During specified hours, higher noise levels are permitted but must remain at a level considerate of those students who wish to study or sleep:

East, Central, West Campuses:
Quiet hours are in effect at all times other than as noted below, when reasonable levels of noise will be permitted:
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday
5:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Friday
1:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. Saturday
1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Sunday

West Campus:
Amplified sound is permitted on the Plaza between noon and 1 p.m. on weekdays.

East Campus:
The Substance-Free Community maintains special quiet hours from midnight until 7:00 a.m. each day.

All Campuses:
From reading day(s) through the end of finals, quiet hours are in effect 24 hours a day.

Students who are disturbed by noise should attempt to resolve the situation by contacting the other party(ies) involved; or, if needed, seek the assistance of living group officers, resident assistants, graduate residents, or residence coordinators. If necessary, persistent complaints may be registered by calling Duke Police at 919-684-2444. Students are responsible for the actions of their guests; cohesive units, as a whole, may be held responsible for violations of this policy by their individual members or their guests. 

Initial complaints will be referred to appropriate residential staff. Depending on the nature and severity of the violation, as well as the existence of prior violations, the complaint may be forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct in the Dean of Students Office for disciplinary action.
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Physical Abuse, Fighting, and Endangerment
Any physical abuse, fighting, and/or endangerment to an individual or group is specifically prohibited. This behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • physical violence (initiating or responding to) or attempted physical violence against another person or group. This includes fighting.
  • threat of physical violence against another person or group.
  • any action that endangers the health, safety or welfare of a person or group.
  • attempting to, or actually harming oneself.
    [Wording adopted from Eastern Michigan Student Conduct Code.]
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Pickets, Protests, and Demonstrations
Statement of Policy. Duke University respects the right of all members of the academic community to explore and to discuss questions which interest them, to express opinions publicly and privately, and to join together to demonstrate their concern by orderly means. It is the policy of the university to protect the right of voluntary assembly, to make its facilities available for peaceful assembly, to welcome guest speakers, to protect the exercise of these rights from disruption or interference. Read more.

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Property, Facilities, and Services
Students and groups are expected to respect the property of others (including that of the university) and may be subject to disciplinary action for the following:

  • theft of the property and/or services of another;
  • damage, destruction, or defacement of the property of another, including littering or chalking of university property;
  • wrongful appropriation of the property and/or services of another;
  • unauthorized possession and/or use of the property of another, including knowingly being in possession of stolen goods (this includes unauthorized use of vehicles, equipment, services, the Duke University name and logo);
  • unauthorized access, entry, and/or use of university or nonuniversity facilities or property, including but not limited to buildings, classrooms, residential rooms, athletic areas, Central Campus pool, parking areas, roofs, ledges, and tunnels; and/or
  • violation of any policy or guidelines pertaining to specific usage of a university facility.
    [Wording adopted from Eastern Michigan Student Conduct Code.]
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Student Sexual Misconduct Policy: Duke's Commitment to Title IX
Duke University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and living community that is free from harassment, violence, and prohibited discrimination. Consistent with this commitment and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex/gender in any of the institution’s programs or activities, Duke University has developed this comprehensive Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, applicable to all students. Further, Duke conducts extensive education and awareness programs with the goal of preventing and discouraging sexual violence and other forms of Sexual Misconduct. 

As discussed more fully below, this Student Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibits all forms of sex/gender-based harassment, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, relationship violence (domestic violence and dating violence), and stalking. Read more.

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Duke University seeks to preserve a living and working environment supportive of behaviors that contribute to the physical health and well-being of all community members. Smoking any substance is not permitted in any university building, including residence halls and apartments. Smoking is neither permitted within 10 feet of residential buildings and dining facilities, nor anywhere on the campus of the medical center.

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Stalking is a course of conduct (including cyberstalking) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others’ safety, or to offer substantial emotional distress. Sex/gender-based stalking falls under the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.

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Recognized student organizations may use the West Campus Plaza for the purpose of sales, distribution, or promotion of events (also known as “tabling”). Tabling is administered by University Center Activities and Events (UCAE). Contact UCAE at 919- 684-4741, 036 Bryan Center, or visit for more information and detailed guidelines. 

Solicitation is prohibited within a 200-foot radius of the West and East Campus bus stops. 

Commercial or outside solicitors (including student employees of outside vendors) are prohibited without permission of the appropriate space manager.
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Unauthorized Surveillance/Photography
Capturing or recording audio, video, or photographic images of an individual in a location or under circumstances in which that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, including, but not limited to, shower/locker rooms, residence hall rooms, and restrooms, is prohibited. Also prohibited is the storing, sharing, and/or other distribution of such unauthorized surveillance/photography (no matter whether directly or indirectly obtained) by any means, electronic or non-electronic.

[Wording adopted from Rice University.]
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Weapons, Firearms, and Explosives
It is against North Carolina state law and university policy to possess and/or use a gun, rifle, pistol, or other firearm of any kind, or any powerful explosive on university property. Additionally, other than when permitted by the vice president for Student Affairs (or his/her designee) for legitimate educational purposes, students are not permitted to possess and/or use on campus any weapon, including but not limited to mace, BB gun, stun gun, paintball gun, potato gun, realistic-looking toy gun, air rifle, air pistol, sword, bowie knife, dagger, slingshot, switchblade knife, blackjack, and metallic knuckles.

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Withdrawal, Involuntary Administrative
Students who exhibit harmful, potentially harmful, or disruptive behavior toward themselves or others may be subject to involuntary administrative withdrawal from the university if their behavior renders them unable to effectively function in the university community. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, that which:

  • Poses a significant threat of danger and/or harm to self and/or other members of the university community; and/or
  • Interferes with the lawful activities or basic rights of other students, university employees, or visitors.

Any member of the university community who has reason to believe that a student may meet the standard for an involuntary administrative withdrawal may contact the vice president for Student Affairs or his/her designee. The vice president or designee will conduct a preliminary review in consultation with professionals from Student Health and/or Counseling and Psychological Services, the student’s academic dean, and/or other relevant individuals. The vice president or designee will meet, when possible, with the student in question to discuss the information that has been presented and give the student an opportunity to respond. The vice president or designee may mandate that the student be evaluated by a specified health professional within a given time frame if an evaluation has not already been conducted.

In the instances described above the vice president for Student Affairs or designee may confer with the dean and vice provost of Undergraduate Education, who has final authority over implementation of an involuntary administrative withdrawal. A written statement citing the reasons for an involuntary administrative withdrawal will be forwarded to the student’s academic dean who will withdraw the student from the university.

At any point in the process, the student may request a voluntary withdrawal through the procedures of Trinity College or the Pratt School of Engineering.
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Other Violations
Other violations for which students or groups may be subject to disciplinary action include, but are not limited to:

  • Violating any other published or posted university regulation not specifically mentioned in this section, including the Housing License, Housing, Dining, and Residence Life regulations, student activities regulations, guidelines for organizations, parking regulations, etc.
  • Acting as an accomplice through action or negligence to the commission of any prohibited act.
  • Attempting or intending to commit any violation of laws and/or university policies.
  • Violating local ordinances or state or federal laws (as determined through the university’s disciplinary process), including those related to noise, housing occupancy, and/or the use or distribution of alcohol.
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