The Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service (Shaw Center) administers the Robert B. Menschel Public Service Award. This award was established to honor Robert Menschel and to perpetuate his commitment to the not-for-profit world by supporting undergraduate…
Urgent Public Health Information, Recent Behavior Jeopardizing Our Community
Dear Students, Families, Faculty and Staff:
Today we conclude the first week of the spring semester, and despite pleas for responsible behavior, over the past week a small but significant number of our students made choices that have put all of us—and our residential campus experience—at risk.
Over the past six days, members of the Greek community have hosted three large parties in the neighborhoods surrounding campus. Already, these parties have been identified as the source of at least 20 new COVID infections, with more likely to follow.
Those who hosted and attended these parties violated New York State public health law, which currently prohibits gatherings in private houses that exceed 10 individuals who do not otherwise reside together as a family unit. For that reason, the University is obligated to provide notice of these violations to city and county authorities. These parties also represent a clear violation of the Stay Safe Pledge. For that reason, at least one Greek chapter has been immediately suspended. Leaseholders where these parties occurred have been identified and face immediate conduct sanctions. Students who attended these parties have been and will be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for Stay Safe Pledge violations and will be charged.
What’s at Stake
We are sharing this information with all students, to remind our entire community that we are still very much in the midst of a pandemic. People in this community and across the globe are still dying from this virus. The University will not tolerate behavior that puts any member of our campus community at risk.
In addition to the health and safety risk posed by this reckless behavior, understand that choices like we have witnessed from some among us this week also jeopardize aspects of campus and academic life that we all hoped to experience this semester. For example:
- We’ve been working closely with New York State to shortly welcome students to athletic events at the stadium—a beloved part of the student experience. The likelihood of that happening, particularly before the conclusion of the women’s and men’s basketball season, is now in question.
- It’s also the case that an outbreak stemming from these parties threatens our in-person learning environment. Like in the fall, New York State will order a “pause” to in-person learning, close the recreation facilities and dining halls, and suspend all student activities in response to 100 positive COVID tests within a 14-day period.
It’s on All of Us
All of us are collectively and individually accountable for the well-being of our campus community, and for the nature of the semester we will experience this spring. As another weekend begins, take a moment to think about what you want out of this semester. WE want you here. YOU want to be here. Together, we can be here. But it’s going to take all of us to make it happen.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Do Your Part.
Robert D. Hradsky, Ed.D.
Vice President for the Student Experience