If some Marist College students continue to hold large gatherings without masks and without practicing social distancing, administrators will be forced to close the campus, College President Dennis Murray said in a message to students.
In the same message, Dr. Murray announced the suspensions of 15 students for not following the college’s guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus.
“I hope that what motivates you to comply with our health and safety rules isn’t the threat of punishment, but rather your respect for others and concern for the common good,” Dr. Murray wrote. “Please don’t be a knucklehead who disregards the safety of others and puts our ability to remain on campus at risk.”
The students did not wear masks and did not practice social distancing at an off-campus party with more than 10 people, administrators said.
Though some students may live off-campus, the guidelines apply to any student who has chosen to take in-person classes regardless of where the student lives.
“It’s just selfish behavior,” senior medical technology major Rebecca Schoenauer said of the recent party.
Schoenauer, who along with two classmates who were having a coffee together after their first day of class, are especially annoyed because their major — Medical Technology — requires some in-person learning.
Any more large parties involving current students could cause major setbacks to the schedules and the careers of other students.
“It’s critical for us to be on-campus in order for us to graduate in time,” Schoenauer said. “So if we move everything online again because people can’t get it together, that’s going to impact us in a great way.”
“I’m curious to see how it’s going to be with our program in particular, because if we go back online we’re pretty much done,” Schoenauer’s classmate, Dan DiCarlo said with a nervous laugh.
College administrators also “strongly discourage” students who live on campus not to leave campus until the dorms close for the semester on November 24.
In the meanwhile, students are asked to order their meals through the Grubhub app.
Schoenauer hopes the immediate discipline sends a message to the rest of the student body.
“I wish everybody would stop thinking about themselves for a minute,” Schoenaur said. “And think of the greater good for a while, at least until we get through this.”
The dean of students wrote in a separate message that the Office of Student Conduct is investigating the actions of the 15 suspended students, and the students might not be welcomed back to campus to take their classes.
Out of more than 4,550 students who were tested prior to beginning classes, 34 initially tested positive, according to Marist’s latest online update, and of those 34, 29 have been cleared by the college’s medical team to come to campus.