Sacred Heart University suspends 109 students for violating coronavirus safety protocols

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Sacred Heart University suspended more than 100 students for violating coronavirus safety measures, officials said Tuesday, as campuses across America continue struggling to keep kids in check.

The Catholic school in Fairfield, Connecticut, has almost 10,000 undergrads and graduate students. It took action against 109 pupils this semester with suspensions of 7, 14 or 30 days. Two students have been removed from campus altogether for the rest of this term, Sacred Heart spokeswoman Deborah Noack said.

The violations were not wearing masks, failing to keep social distance, gathering in groups of more than 12 or having unauthorized guests.

Sacred Heart is operating in a hybrid model, with classes split between in-person and remote lectures — though any student has the right to go all-online.

Suspended students can still take their classes online, but cannot set foot on campus or participate in any other school activities.

Noack said she had a degree of sympathy for the suspended students.

“It’s understandable in a way, when you think about how much they’re going through and how much they’re missing the traditional college experience,” Noack told NBC News on Tuesday. “So yeah, I get it.”

But she added, “It’s not the right thing to do and there are consequences. But it’s hard to not do what you’re used to doing.”

Southern Methodist University students watch the game between their team the Mustangs and the Memphis Tigers in Dallas on Oct. 3, 2020.Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports

The Sacred Heart revelation came days after police moved in on the student section at a Southern Methodist University football game when the young fans didn’t wear masks or spread out. The odd scene played out late in the first half of SMU’s game agains Memphis at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.

Some of the


More than 100 Sacred Heart University students suspended for violating COVID-19 protocols

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More than 100 Sacred Heart University students have been suspended for violating the school’s COVID-19 protocols since the start of the semester, a university spokeswoman said Monday.

In the past month, the private university in Fairfield has issued 109 total “COVID-related suspensions,” Executive Director of Communications Deborah Noack said in an email. Undergraduate classes began Aug. 31.

Suspensions typically last 14 days or 30 days depending on the situation, but two of the students became “repeat offenders” and have been removed from campus for the remainder of the semester, she added. While suspended, students are not allowed to come on campus or participate in any school-related activities.

In early September, following an uptick in coronavirus infections among students living off campus in Bridgeport, the university asked all students living in the city to attend classes from home and avoid visiting the school’s campus.

“With … this flare-up in Bridgeport, we need to be highly cautious and proactive in our decisions,” Sacred Heart officials wrote in a notice to students.

Less than three weeks later university President John J. Petillo chastised students in a video message, saying “a significant number” of them were not taking the pandemic seriously and said the school could suspend in-person education if its cases did not slow.

“We are at a real point of decision about the future of the semester on-ground,” he said in the Sept. 21 video. “We need to turn the tide and get the spread of the virus under control.”

Sacred Heart is not the first school in Connecticut to suspend students for ignoring COVID-19 health and safety protocols, but the total number of students cited is greater than has been reported at other colleges and universities in the state. Qunnipiac University, Connecticut College and UConn have also sent home undergrads for


Boston University students busted for violating coronavirus gathering rules could get suspended for semester

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Boston University students busted for violating the university’s coronavirus gathering rules over the weekend could get suspended for the fall semester.

The disciplinary hearings for 20 BU students after they were caught partying outdoors on campus comes in the wake of 11 Northeastern University students getting dismissed for violating social distancing rules.

The 20 BU students allegedly drinking in West Campus — in “the grotto” next to Nickerson Field — could face a semester-long suspension, the BU administration’s website reported.

“There were 25-plus people with alcohol, close together, with no masks or their masks pulled down around their chin,” Dean Kenneth Elmore told BU Today.

“This weekend’s alleged violations are violations of the expectations we set out for this academic year,” Elmore added. “The alcohol use in public and under legal drinking age, public noise disturbance, and the notion that the police had to respond all exacerbate the matter.”

The student disciplinary hearings are expected to be completed this week.

“The possible consequences include a semester-long suspension with no refund for tuition or room and board or a deferred suspension, which means they would be suspended if they incur a second disciplinary infraction of any kind,” the BU administration’s website wrote.

The same weekend that the BU students got caught partying on campus, Salem State University students were busted for violating coronavirus gathering rules.

The Salem students who attended two unrelated apartment parties will be cited by public health officials for the violations.

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Salem State University students to face discipline for violating public health guidelines with large gathering

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Several Salem State University students will face discipline for attending off-campus gatherings in violation of public health guidelines, authorities said.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and Salem State University President John Keenan released a joint statement that said the two incidents occurred Friday night.

“In addition to violating rules regarding large gatherings, there was also conduct involved in both incidents that led to arrests,” the statement said. “In each case, the Salem Police Department and City officials are working closely with Salem State Police and university officials to identify as many responsible parties as possible and ensure they face the appropriate consequences, both on- and off-campus.”

Driscoll and Keenan said in the first incident, police broke up a gathering of over 50 people at an apartment on Becket Street and arrested one individual, who is not a Salem State student, on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The property owner also is going to be cited by Salem police for keeping a disorderly house and those who attended the gathering will be issued citations from Salem public health officials, the statement said.

“Any current Salem State students who are identified as having attended the gathering will also face additional disciplinary consequences from the university,” the statement said. “All individuals who attended this gathering, whether identified or not, are strongly encouraged to get a free COVID-19 test, either through SSU if they are a university student or through the City’s free “Stop the Spread” testing at Salem High School.”

Driscoll and Keenan said the second incident involved vandalism to the playground equipment at Pickman Park. A Salem State student was arrested and charged with burning personal property, vandalism, and destruction of property over $1,200. “The investigation and identification of other people present, as well as their involvement, is ongoing,” the statement