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COVID-19: Large Gathering 'May Have Done Enough To Shut Down Campus,' Syracuse University Says

Syracuse University
Syracuse University Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A large gathering of first-year students at Syracuse University in violation of the school’s COVID-19 guidelines could lead to a campus shutdown, officials said.

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, the crowd of more than 100 students were documented failing to socially distance themselves or wear face coverings on the school’s quad.

The University’s COVID-19 rules don’t permit gatherings of more than 25 or more people, all of whom are directed to physically distance and wear face coverings.

On Thursday, Aug. 20, Syracuse officials responded with a statement vowing to track down the students who were caught on the viral video.

According to school officials, the gathering of first-year students could have “done enough damage to shut down campus.”

“Last night, a large group of first-year students selfishly jeopardized the very thing that so many of you claim to want from Syracuse University—that is, a chance at a residential college experience,” J. Michael Haynie, the Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation said.

“I say this because the students who gathered on the Quad last night may have done damage enough to shut down campus, including residence halls and in-person learning, before the academic semester even begins.”

Haynie said that each of the students in attendance at the quad knew the University’s COVID-19 restrictions, and “understand it was wrong to do.”

“Those students knowingly ignored New York State public health law and the provisions of the Syracuse University Stay Safe Pledge,” he said. “Even more selfish and unsettling is how the actions of those students willfully undercut the efforts of those who have worked tirelessly over the summer to set the conditions for the continuation of residential learning.

“Even more selfish and unsettling is how the actions of those students may prevent our seniors from claiming their final year of college on our residential campus,” Haynie added. “Even more selfish and unsettling is how the actions of those students could force a situation where some of their classmates may have to vacate the most safe and stable and supportive living situation they have ever known.”

An investigation into the incident has been launched, with the university's Department of Public Safety reviewing security camera and leaked videos from the gathering.

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