AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Hundreds of UMass Amherst students were under review for potential COVID-19 policy violations, and a fraternity has been placed on suspension.
This came as coronavirus cases were on the rise both on and off-campus.
“I think they should have done it a little bit sooner. I think it's also not very surprising after five days this is happening. I hope that consequences are going to be a little bit more strict for the students who broke the protocol, especially like frat parties, for example,” UMass Graduate Student Corey Palmer said.
Nine days into the spring semester at UMass Amherst, the university cracked down on students breaking COVID-19 safety rules.
Western Mass News has learned 354 students have been referred to the dean of students for potential violations of the university’s COVID-19 protocols and 332 of them are on-campus residents.
The Theta Chi Fraternity has been placed on interim suspension pending an investigation by the student conduct and community standards office. A UMass Amherst spokesperson said the chapter has been ordered to cease all activities.
“Based on the evidence we have, that was potentially one event that was also a risk,” UMass Amherst Spokesperson Edward Blaguszewski said.
The university said the frat party in question has not been determined to be a super spreader event at this time but said in a statement, “student socialization in large and small groups, both on-campus and off-campus, contributed to the recent increase in cases of COVID-19 at UMass Amherst.”
The current UMass Amherst COVID-19 dashboard reports 432 active COVID cases right now, on and off-campus, and all students have been ordered to shelter in place for two weeks.
One UMass junior, Joshua Hyman, said a rise in cases was bound to happen after bringing more students back to campus.
“I think it was kind of inevitable for the cases to spread a lot when we get to school, but now people are paying, freshman especially, to be on-campus, and they can’t really do too much, so they’re not getting the college experience they could be,” Hyman said.
With these new restrictions, on-campus students cannot go to the gym, dine-in at restaurants, or socialize with their friends in-person. They can only get tested for COVID.