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A university spokesperson said the gathering was of "friends from across the campus in a small space without any noticeable sign of masks, distancing, and other safety measures"

By Benjamin VanHoose
August 21, 2020 11:58 AM
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University of Connecticut
University of Connecticut
| Credit: Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty

The University of Connecticut evicted several students from their dorms after footage of a crowded party circulated on social media.

Earlier this week, Eleanor Daugherty, UConn's associate vice president and dean of students, issued a memo to all students who live in on-campus housing, informing them that disciplinary actions were taken after an "unapproved gathering" took place inside a residence hall. Attendees did not appear to follow social distancing or other protocols amid the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"According to the report we reviewed this morning, students were not wearing masks, closely assembled, and endangering not only their own health and wellbeing, but that of others at a time when UConn is working to protect our community and resume classes in the context of a deadly global pandemic," wrote Daugherty.

According to the letter, the students were "removed from housing" while the university investigates further.

"These actions do not represent or speak for the 5000 residents currently composing our residential community," Daugherty added. "Our residential community has demonstrated an admirable commitment to follow universal precautions and keep our community safe. In doing so, they have made considerable sacrifice. We applaud and honor your actions during this quarantine."

Daugherty added that "we cannot afford the cost to the public health that is associated with inviting students into a room for a late night party."

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"The vast majority of our students are doing the right thing – but every student needs to do the same," wrote Daugherty. "... As residents, we ask that you join them in this important task and not let the actions of the few endanger the health and safety of the many."

Several colleges and universities have switched to all virtual learning, including UNC-Chapel Hill which made the pivot away from in-person classes earlier this month.

On Wednesday, UConn's President Tom Katsouleas and Provost Carl Lejuez wrote a plea to students, calling for individual responsibility in helping slow the spread of the coronavirus on campus. "On an individual level, we must each commit to following recommended public health protocols to keep ourselves and our community safe," they wrote.

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"While cooperation is overwhelmingly positive, we also know there are cases of noncompliance. It is important for us to share that we take these very seriously, and we will and have taken action to keep UConn and our surrounding communities safe. This action can start with a conversation, but we have measures in place for necessary disciplinary action," added the administrators.

In a statement to PEOPLE a spokesperson for UConn said students agreed when moving into on-campus halls that they'd comply with a "residential quarantine meant to minimize the spread of the coronavirus."

"It clearly goes against the rules and spirit of UConn’s procedures to gather friends from across the campus in a small space without any noticeable sign of masks, distancing, and other safety measures," said the spokesperson. "With the vast majority of UConn’s students acting in a responsible and conscientious way, that kind of gathering also is counterproductive to their efforts to keep themselves and their peers safe and healthy."

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