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29 WVU students suspended for COVID-19-related violations

A weekend of partying led to West Virginia University suspending more than two dozen students,...
A weekend of partying led to West Virginia University suspending more than two dozen students, according to university officials.(WSAZ)
Published: Sep. 6, 2020 at 8:00 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - A weekend of partying led to West Virginia University suspending more than two dozen students, according to university officials.

The university announced Sunday night that 29 students are being placed on interim suspension immediately. University officials cited “ongoing COVID-19 related investigations.”

A member of the Theta Chi fraternity, one not recognized by WVU, attended a fraternity house party on Friday, despite just testing positive for COVID-19, according to a news release from the university.

WVU officials said they told all residents of the fraternity living in the house to isolate or quarantine. The university charged 29 members of the fraternity with failure to comply with isolation or quarantine orders, according to a statement from the university.

As a result, they’re banned from campus and can’t take classes, even if they’re online, university officials said, after they sent letters to the students facing suspensions.

“Immediate interim suspensions are used when we determine a student presents a safety risk to campus,” Dean of Students Corey Farris said. “We know that these parties act as super spreaders. Their flagrant disregard for the health and safety of their classmates, our campus and the entire Morgantown community will not be tolerated.”

That’s not the only party WVU is investigating.

University officials are also investigating a party held by Alpha Sigma Phi, another group not recognized by WVU, after photos and videos surfaced.

“While we are aware that some students have made the wrong decision to attend house parties off-campus, we also know the majority have occurred at unaffiliated fraternity houses,” Farris said. “This should serve as a message to anyone else who thinks the rules don’t apply to them. They do, and we will hold you accountable.”

WVU officials said they’re working with local officials to see what other steps can be taken against people not following the guidelines.

“I understand our community’s frustrations,” Farris said. “The University is frustrated, too. We clearly communicated prior to returning to campus the health and safety protocols that must be followed in order to have on-campus learning. While we can better influence and monitor behavior on campus, it is our expectation that our students off-campus would follow the guidelines put in place to protect the city of Morgantown, which also includes wearing masks, not gathering in large crowds and following instructions to isolate or quarantine after exposure.

“No matter where they are, if a student cannot abide by the health protocols put in place for their safety and the safety of the community during a global pandemic, we do not want them here.”

Monongalia County schools can’t reopen for in-person learning this week following an influx of new COVID-19 cases, many linked to WVU students.

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