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Syracuse University Students Called 'Selfish' for Large On-Campus Group Ignoring Safety Rules

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Syracuse University officials have released a harshly-worded statement criticizing students who reportedly ignored coronavirus safety measures to attend a large gathering Wednesday night.  First-year students primarily have been coming to campus housing all this week.  Reports from the Daily Orange and social media showed a crowd of at least 100 people gathered, some wearing masks but many not using masks, and ignoring social distancing and small-group guidelines.

Vice Chancellor J. Michael Haynie, in a statement, called the students selfish, and suggested actions of this nature could have dire consequences for the semester.

“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 in a written statement.

Haynie emphasized that all students knew that attending the gathering was wrong.  They not only ignored New York State law, but he added they violated a pledge many had taken just hours or days before.

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. 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,” the statement said.

In the Syracuse University Stay Safe Pledge, students agreed to safety measures for themselves and others, including social distancing, limiting gatherings to 25 or fewer people, wearing masks, and encouraging others to follow the safety guideline as well.

The University plans to investigate the incident using security camera video.  Students who are identified could be referred to the student conduct process. 

Other colleges have struggled with student conduct on campus.  The University of North Carolina sent students home just days after many had returned to campus over similar gatherings to the one at SU.  UNC reported at least four clusters of positive COVID cases linked to those groups.  The University of Notre Dame moved all of its classes to online learning after a rise in positive cases.