Party With More Than 1,000 People Near Florida State University Broken Up By Police Helicopter

Topline

Police in Tallahassee, Florida, said they broke up a massive party over the weekend, involving a gathering of more than 1,000 people near Florida State University, where more than 1,400 students have already tested positive for coronavirus, just a few weeks into the fall semester.

Key Facts

Tallahassee police said they received more than a dozen calls of large crowds gathering this weekend, including the one with over 1,000 people and more than 700 vehicles at an apartment complex near Florida State.

Police said they used a helicopter to help disperse the crowd, which grew so massive that travel lanes near the apartment complex were blocked.

Florida State is dealing with a significant coronavirus outbreak—more than 1,400 students have already tested positive for Covid-19, most of whom live off-campus.

Florida State also recently came under fire after large amounts of students gathered in close spaces, with almost none wearing masks, during the football team’s limited-attendance season opener on Sept. 12.

In response, the university said fans will be asked to leave games if they refuse to wear a mask, while enacting other, stricter guidelines to slow the spread of coronavirus in the Florida State community.

Chief Critic

University president John Thrasher sent out a letter “issuing an urgent call to action” on Sept. 18, warning that “students who endanger the community with actions such as hosting or attending a large party or gathering will be subject to suspension.” “Moreover, from this point forward, for any student who tests positive and is ordered to isolate: Socializing outside of your residence, working out at the Leach Center or engaging in activities such as going to parties may result in your suspension from Florida State University for a minimum of one academic semester,” Thrasher said.

What To Watch For

The new penalties have not sat well with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who recently announced all capacity restrictions for bars and restaurants in Florida were being lifted. DeSantis said he may issue a college students’ “bill of rights,” which would prohibit universities from taking action against students who might attend parties. “I personally think it’s incredibly draconian that a student would get potentially expelled for going to a party,” DeSantis said. “That’s what college kids do.”

Key Background

Universities across the U.S. are grappling with how to handle students returning to campus in the age of Covid-19, with some universities reversing course after inviting students back, shutting down completely after outbreaks. Several universities, including East Carolina University and the University of New Hampshire, have also had large parties broken up, with health experts warning that large student gatherings could pose a serious risk for increased coronavirus transmission. But the return of students to campuses around the U.S. seems to have already brought results that were feared, as college towns have become some of the new national hot spots for coronavirus outbreaks.

Further Reading

172 FSU students test positive for COVID-19; university not aware of any hospitalizations since Aug. 2 (Tallahassee Democrat)

FSU to Seminoles football fans in the stands: Get tested and put on a mask or leave (Tallahassee Democrat)

Florida Reopens Economy As Coronavirus Outbreak Fades From Peak, But With Thousands Of New Cases A Day (Forbes)

DeSantis criticizes ‘draconian’ university COVID-19 policies, floats student ‘bill of rights’ (Tallahassee Democrat)

UNC Calls Off In-Person Classes One Week Into The Semester (Forbes)

College Shuts Down 20 Parties As Officials Say Reopening Is ‘Recipe For Disaster’ (Forbes)

‘Reckless’ And ‘Reprehensible’ Frat Party Linked To Coronavirus Outbreak At UNH: Here Are The Latest College Coronavirus Updates (Forbes)

19 Of The 25 Worst U.S. Coronavirus Outbreaks Are In College Towns (Forbes)

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