Despite the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, students from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio threw a house party during Labor Day weekend which ignored school and city rules requiring masks, social distancing and gatherings no larger than 10 people.
When police arrived at the house on Saturday at 4:05 p.m., they discovered seven young men sitting on the porch, drinking and listening to music without masks. A total of 20 people were at the gathering. One house resident confirmed to police that he had recently tested positive for COVID-19.
When asked whether he was supposed to be in quarantine, the student responded, “Yeah, that’s why I’m at my house,” and then claimed that everyone else in attendance had tested positive for COVID-19 as well.
“That’s what we’re trying to prevent,” the officer told the student. “We want to keep this town open. You’re not quarantining if you’re mixing with other people.”
Although students in the house began to leave as soon as police arrived, police ended up fining six men—five house residents and one visitor—$500 each for violating city ordinances forbidding gatherings of more than 10 people, a precaution to prevent a possible COVID-19 outbreak.
One of the residents fined by police claimed that the party guests simply showed up without being invited, but the police officer declined to discuss that claim further calling it “an argument for another day.”
Miami University officials told CBS News that any students found violating city COVID-19 ordinances could face disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct, including possible suspension or dismissal.
According to Cleveland.com, more than 1,000 Miami University students have tested positive for COVID-19 during the past two weeks. The school will resume in-person classes on September 21 with roughly 40 percent of the school’s nearly 20,000 students learning remotely online.
Newsweek contacted Miami University for comment.
Other universities have struggled to keep students from partying in defiance of rules meant to prevent coronavirus epidemics.
In late August, Ohio State University issued 228 interim suspensions for individuals and student organizations who attended or hosted large parties and gatherings in the university district.
Around the same time, Florida State University police arrested and charged seven students associated with the disbanded Alpha Tau Omega fraternity for hosting an “open house party.”
On September 10, Illinois State University said it was considering consequences for students who attended a 200-person “pop-up” party hosted by The Nelk Boys, a group of college-aged pranksters with nearly 5.7 million YouTube followers.
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