Syracuse University in upstate New York has suspended nearly two-dozen students following a large social gathering on campus earlier this week.
Twenty-three students faced punishment so far and officials were looking at surveillance footage to identify others who attended the Wednesday get-together in the quad that was a violation of the school’s coronavirus gathering and mask rules, the university said Thursday.
The meetup – the latest example of college students defying school guidance on the deadly virus – was met with a quick rebuke by a top university official.
“We have one shot to make this happen,” Vice Chancellor J. Michael Haynie wrote in a letter to students about the school’s effort to have in-person classes during the pandemic. “The world is watching, and they expect you to fail. Prove them wrong.”
Purdue University in Indiana suspended 36 students last week for attending a party and Virginia Tech, St. Olaf College in Minnesota and Radford University in Virginia have all suspended students for issues related to the virus, including attending parties.
Some colleges across the country have already been forced to move online at least temporarily after outbreaks of the virus on campus, including Notre Dame and Michigan State.
North Carolina State University abruptly ended in-person classes for its undergraduate students last week after a surge in coronavirus cases was traced back to large, off-campus parties. More than 500 students were in self-isolation, the school said.
Northwestern University in Illinois sent letters to more than 100 students Friday, chastising the “carelessness” of those who replied “Hell Yeah” on Instagram to attending school parties amid the pandemic.
“Even if this gesture on social media was made in jest, your willingness to mock the well-being of our community, and the efforts made to protect it, demonstrates a degree of carelessness that does not meet the values and principles we uphold,” it said.
The school threatened to rescind admission to anyone who continues to violate the university’s rules on the virus.
Some say students were being set up to take the blame. A UNC-Chapel Hill student newspaper editorial said leadership there “should have expected students, many of whom are now living on their own for the first time, to be reckless.”
The Syracuse students received interim suspensions that can be appealed. They were asked to sign agreements on the university’s coronavirus rules when they first returned to campus following the summer break.
Fox News’ Daniella Genovese and The Associated Press contributed to this report.