Office of the President

Fri, Aug 7, 5:02 PM

Dear _________,
For the last several weeks, the two of us have been asked frequently about the Franklin & Marshall Pledge, which many of you first learned about in a July 20 message. Today, we write to describe how all of us will uphold that pledge and to address the concerns many of you have expressed about how the College will assess compliance with it.
You will recall that the pledge was created by the Diplomatic Congress and the Student COVID-19 Task Force, in collaboration with the Re-Opening Operations Team and the senior officers of the College. In an example of Franklin & Marshall’s shared sense of community, our student leaders have continued to play a primary role as we finalized the pledge’s language. They also have offered suggestions about the compliance concepts we needed to adopt to ensure the safety and well-being of all in our community. Throughout this collaborative process, we have viewed the pledge as the representation of our common values and the way that we can all trust one another and hold each other accountable during these unprecedented times.
In that spirit, all students choosing in-person instruction this fall will be required to agree to the F&M Pledge electronically before they return to campus. Its language is now final, so we encourage you to read it again and discuss it with your family before you acknowledge your agreement through the link below. Living and learning on campus during a pandemic is a shared responsibility, so all Franklin & Marshall employees also will be asked to take a similar pledge.
The pledge will remain effective throughout our time together on campus this academic year. Students will be asked to reaffirm and sign the pledge as part of the move-in and COVID-19 testing process. Our commitment to observing health and safety measures is essential to make residential life and in-person learning possible.
The College has adopted several principles about community compliance with the F&M Pledge. The pledge carries with it a strict need for accountability for those who do not abide by its commitments. While the consequences for non-compliance are described in detail here, we note a few overarching tenets:

  • We have organized possible infractions into categories of high, medium, and lower risk and developed sanctions associated with each of these categories.
  • High-risk infractions are egregious, deliberate, and/or repetitive violations of the public health protocols outlined in the pledge, such as wearing face coverings, instructions for testing and quarantine (and isolation, if one tests positive), or maintaining physical distancing. Other examples include hosting gatherings or visitors in conflict with F&M policies and willfully putting self or others at risk. These violations require immediate action by the College; sanctions could include suspension, expulsion, or disciplinary probation.
  • Medium-risk infractions include non-compliance with daily screening protocols and repeated failure to adhere to the public health protocols outlined in the pledge. Persistent failure to comply may result in loss of campus housing, suspension, or disciplinary probation.
  • Lower-risk infractions include unintentional failure to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing, or adhere to the public health protocols outlined in the pledge. Initially, these will result in a verbal warning and documentation of the incident; repeated infractions may mean more significant penalties, including loss of campus and disciplinary probation.
  • Reviews ofinfractions will consider other behaviors or context that may increase the penalty’s severity, including aggressive or dismissive responses to requests to comply, alcohol or drug violations, or violations during orientation or the first weeks of the academic term. Adjudication and recommendations about penalties and sanctions will be made fairly and swiftly.

Individually and collectively, our adherence to the Franklin & Marshall Pledge will be a key factor in the College’s success this fall. As such, your understanding of the pledge and its compliance principles needs to be a key factor in your decision about whether to return to campus. If you and your family are uncomfortable with any portion of the pledge or the consequences of non-compliance, we respectfully suggest that you choose to continue your learning remotely later this month.
As always, we also would like to call your attention to several updates to the F&M reopening plan website, including information about move-in schedule and procedures, on-campus and off-campus housing, COVID-19 testing and screening, quarantine and isolation, and more. We continue to update this website with the latest information.
Both of us firmly believe that we can create a rich and worthwhile residential experience on campus this fall, and that it will require all of us to make a community commitment to these shared values and practices. We both look forward to seeing you very soon.
Barbara K. Altmann
President, Franklin & Marshall College
Shubh Punj ’21
President, Diplomatic Congress