INDIANAPOLIS — Purdue has suspended some students and Indiana University is considering suspensions following Wednesday parties in violation of COVID-19 regulations.
In West Lafayette 36 Purdue students were suspended after a Wednesday night party at the Circle Pines Cooperative, an off-campus cooperative living house.
According to a statement from Purdue, the students violated the Protect Purdue Pledge, passed by the school's trustees in May in an effort to keep the campus as virus free as possible during the pandemic.
Students may appeal the Purdue suspensions and there will be a "full hearing" on the matter.
"Purdue University has been clear and consistent with our messaging to students about the Protect Purdue Plan and the expectations they would need to follow if they made the decision to be on campus this fall," said Katie Sermersheim, Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students. "Unfortunately, everything we have done – the months of planning to give our students the opportunity to continue their educational pursuits in person – can be undone in the blink of an eye – with just one party or event that does not follow the rules and guidelines."
" We are social creatures and yearn for human interactions and engagement with one another – no one is denying that. We are just asking that we put on hold large gatherings in confined spaces until this global pandemic can be better understood and controlled. Until such time, students must find lower risk activities in which to connect with one another or run the risk of a code violation," Sermersheim said.
In Bloomington administrators at Indiana University said they were "actively investigating the circumstances surrounding a large, off-campus student party in Bloomington last night."
The school said suspensions are possible for students who were at the party and violated the university’s Sanctions for Noncompliance with COVID-19 Health and Safety Directives.
According to the statement, the party was in violation of "county and state regulations for event size, as well as those related to physical distancing and face coverings during the pandemic, as well as IU's guidelines."
The gathering was a "serious threat of harm to our campus community," said the statement. " Sanctions for students who do not adhere to these safety precautions will be swift and severe."
The IU party also prompted a response from President Michael McRobbie, in the form of a message to students.
Over the past several days, we have seen several schools — including the University of Notre Dame, Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina — abruptly shut down in-person classes over outbreaks of COVID-19.
We are also aware of recent parties and large gatherings hosted by IU students that have violated county regulations and put our campus communities at risk. Thousands of IU community members, including many of your peers, have worked countless hours to ensure the safe return to on-campus learning.
Since the earliest days of the pandemic, you have told us that you want and value in-person, on-campus learning. Our faculty have told us they want to see you as well — and want you to have the educational experiences you deserve. That means you must follow the behaviors and actions that you agreed to by signing the Student Commitment Form, which all students must review and sign before returning to campus.
If too many of you fail to comply, our decision will be simple: We will reverse course as other universities have done and go back to all-virtual instruction, which we know you don’t want and which we have all worked so hard to avoid.
We know that we are embarking upon a fall semester like no other at IU. We recognize the sacrifices you, and all of us, have made and will continue to make.
How you choose to act matters — and it matters greatly. Right now, there are people on social media posting about how irresponsible students are going to force us all back online. They think it is inevitable. Prove them wrong.
Michael A. McRobbie