More than a dozen Purdue University students were suspended this week after officials say they disregarded school rules and threw a party in a residence hall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After finding out about the Sept. 26 event, Katie Sermersheim, associate vice provost and dean of students, issued suspensions to 14 students, including 13 athletes, for violating the school’s Protect Purdue Pledge.
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In part, the pledge asks students to maintain “appropriate social distancing,” especially when in the presence of others, in order to stem the spread of COVID-19 on campus. To make sure this happens, the school has specifically prohibited students from hosting, organizing or attending events on or off-campus that do not allow for safe social distancing.
The guidelines read in part: “Organizing and/or hosting, either individually or with others, an event, party or other gathering (‘event’) or attending such an event, where the attendees are not required to, or willfully fail or refuse to, adhere to the requirements of the Protect Purdue Pledge, or of state or local public health laws, regulations or orders.” This includes but is not limited to maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and wearing an appropriate face mask, according to the school.
Per the university’s code of conduct, students found in violation of the pledge are “subject to disciplinary action,” according to the school’s Monday notice.
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Sermersheim used the opportunity to remind students of the importance of adhering to the Protect Purdue Pledge amid the ongoing pandemic.
“This virus continues to be the demise of many universities and academic pursuits,” she said.
While the majority of students are “behaving admirably,” the school “cannot let our guard down and must hold those who violate our community standards accountable,” Sermersheim added.
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Purdue President Mitch Daniels noted that the school has only had two of this type of incident since opening up for the fall semester.
Regardless, he promises the school will “deal with any such violation with firmness,” he said.
In the meantime, the 14 students have until Wednesday to leave the campus residence hall. They may also file an appeal of this interim action, the school said.
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