You are here: American University Campus Life Message to Students Living in the Community

Office of the Dean of Students American University

August 18, 2020
Dear Student,

Welcome to the 2020-2021 academic year. As you know, this year brings many challenges as we navigate the current pandemic and the responsibilities it places on all of us. As students living in the nearby community, we are counting on your conscientious approach to health and safety as well as your considerations for others.

On Monday, you received President Burwell’s message on fall health and safety measures and action required for all community members. If you have not already done so, please complete the mandatory web-based health and safety training on the AU Forward portal and sign the student pledge to affirm that you will abide by health and safety guidelines.

My colleagues and I are available virtually to provide support to you. We also need your cooperation in this partnership and need you to be aware of the expectations American University has for you.

We expect you to:

  • know, understand and abide by local ordinances and laws;
  • know, understand and abide by the terms of your lease;
  • monitor and maintain the condition of your property;
  • manage the behavior of any guests; and
  • abide by all coronavirus-related District of Columbia guidelines and orders, including those on quarantine, gatherings and face coverings

As hosts in your off-campus residence, you assume significant responsibility for the safety and welfare of any guests and for the impact of your choices on your neighbors and the surrounding community.

Please be aware of the disciplinary consequences of violating health and safety measures. Failure to comply with health and safety directives constitutes misconduct that is actionable under the Student Conduct Code.

Please also familiarize yourself, your roommates and friends with laws around preservation of the public peace, protection of property, use of alcohol and marijuana, and other provisions, including noise ordinances between 10 pm and 7 am. The specific laws are covered in the Good Neighbor Guidelines Policy.

The 2019-2020 academic year was relatively calm with regard to student incidents off campus, thanks to increased risk management and the cooperation of student leaders. We hope to see this trend continue. However, it is important to know that in past years, there have been cases in which different groups of neighbors brought legal action against individual students renting in nearby communities. Students named in these actions were evicted or required to pay substantial monetary fines. Parents serving as co-signers on these leases were also named in the suits. Other students and student organizations have been charged with disruptive behavior or failing to comply with university expectations through the Student Code of Conduct. When found responsible, these students and student organizations have been sanctioned and had a conduct file as part of their student record.

If you’d like assistance in communicating with neighbors, or if you want to discuss ways to effectively manage your off-campus residence, please call the Office of the Dean of Students at (202) 885-3300 and schedule an appointment to meet with me virtually. I’d be glad to help you develop strategies for living successfully in the local community.

I look forward to your partnership in ensuring that this is a safe and successful year for the AU community and the neighborhoods we live in.

Michelle Espinosa
Associate Dean of Students