Could you please clarify what is and is not allowed under the Behavioral Compact?

Date: August 2020


Dear Deans:

I would greatly appreciate it if you could please clarify what is allowed/not allowed under the Behavioral Compact.

Situation 1. Suppose I go out to eat downtown with two of my Cornell best friends. Suppose we wear masks until we are seated and maintain six feet distance from other people but not from each other. Is that a violation? Does it make a difference whether we go to a restaurant vs. a bar? 

Situation 2. Suppose I go out to eat downtown with my boyfriend and we order a glass of wine. Suppose he is not affiliated with Cornell and we don’t share housing. Suppose, as in the above, we wear masks until seated and maintain six feet distance from other people but of course not from each other. Is there anything that might count as a violation in this case? 

I’m sorry if my questions are too obvious/basic – I want to make sure I understand what exactly is expected of students this semester. 

Thank you,

Grad Wanting to Behave


Dear Grad Wanting to Behave,

Thank you for your question about the behaviors allowed, or not, under Cornell’s Behavioral Compact. The Compact was developed by and is enforced through the Dean of Students Office in Student and Campus Life. In response to your questions shared with him, the Dean of Students indicated that neither of the scenarios you pose would be seen as violations of the Compact. Thanks for checking. If you have questions in the future about the Compact, you may contact that office directly at

I hope the start of the semester goes well for you.

Warm regards,


Barbara A. Knuth
Dean of the Graduate School