• Art Jahnke

    Senior Contributing Editor

    Art Janke

    Art Jahnke began his career at the Real Paper, a Boston area alternative weekly. He has worked as a writer and editor at Boston Magazine, web editorial director at CXO Media, and executive editor in Marketing & Communications at Boston University, where his work was honored with many awards. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 69 comments on 12 BU Students Suspended after Loud Parties, Infractions

  1. What a joke! No one at these “parties” (not even parties, It’s groups of people under 25) had Covid or was responsible for infecting another. Is this Boston U or Nazi Germany? And putting kids out 30 grand is reasonable punishment for hanging out with other people? Cmon. This place is a pretty prison so focused on saving face politically that they’ve forgotten what matters most; the students. Not to mention the university has raised tuition by almost 4% while other neighboring schools (MIT, Harvard, Northeastern) have all lowered theirs by 10% to help students struggling in this recession. BU has lost its way. What a shame.

    1. Nazi germany? Cmon. Do not drag this out. As a student, you knew the rules coming here this semester, and if you knew you could not follow it, then you should of stayed home! No one forced the students to come back. You chose to come back under the conditions of following these rules. And so what that no one had it THIS time. You never know if the next party could be a super spread party. So yes BU must make an example out of these students to prevent what could possibly be a very big outbreak. You’re being incredibly selfish during a pandemic if all you care about is partying. People have gotten incredibly sick and even died from this disease, so I APPRECIATE BU actually putting their foot down and making sure these students know how serious this virus is. If you can’t handle no parties for a year, take your childish self back home and save the rest of campus the possible super spread.

    2. Everyone who came back to BU did so with the knowledge of what the rules and restrictions were. The Nazis made the rules as they went. BU was clear from the start that this “normal college behavior” wasn not acceptable and would not be tolerated. No one forced these students on to train cars and shipped them to BU. They did so by choice. You could have gone to a school that didn’t have these restrictions and safe guards in place like University of Michigan and partied away…..oh wait, they just went fully remote due to large out breaks.

      Your Nazi comparison is gross and unwarranted. Free will still exists here. It didn’t for the murdered 6 million Jews and 4 million others. Read a book and understand history before you make inappropriate references.

    3. Okay, Karen.

      COVID is up on the BU Campus and if you think a “conference” with these students is going to change their behavior, then you believe their frontal lobes are fully developed apparently. They would leave the conference with a snicker and tweets about how they got away with it.

      They knew the expectations and guidelines that were set in place ahead of time. It’s called accountability. They better get used to accountability because they will have to become accountable when they graduate and start adulting.

    4. Are you a doctor, did you test every single person at that party? Reading this tells me you are irresponsible and selfish! Grow up and think about others, your fellow students, staff, faculty and the community. The University has a commitment to keep everyone safe and is doing and outstanding job! What about all the staff and faculty who work there, supporting the families? When the university had to shut down, people lost their jobs, their means of financially supporting their family. All you care about is partying, think you are immune and this does not apply to you? Everyone has to sacrifice!!
      You are an embarrassment!

      1. You guys are so ignorant. You only know the details of this biased article. You know no one who was involved, the consequences they face, and the reasons (or lack thereof) why. These people ARE for the most part following university protocol (gatherings under 25, testing every other day, masks).They are getting destroyed financially by a bunch of narks with nothing better to do than cause trouble for others. Some of the people involved have actually had family members die from COVID so you’re wrong to think they don’t take it seriously. You can live in your make believe world, but the fact is COVID hardly has an effect on college kids, none of us are exposed to older people for the most part, and people do limit the number of students allowed in a home. People are responsible and don’t go to parties if they are sick. You are all outraged over something you know so little about. Do your research beyond an article written by the institution! What kind of students are you?! You all want to feel so morally superior that you ignore reality. It was dumb to expect students not to socialize. Now BU harms them for their own poor decision making.

        1. I truly hope BU can find out who you are from your comment(s) because you are clearly posing a threat to the rest of the BU community. You should be kicked off campus and go back home, or if you want to make this easier for everyone (including yourself) just go back to living with your parents now. You clearly do not have the mental capacity to understand/grasp what we’re going through right now as an entire nation: a global pandemic. You should learn more about it. Blame BU all that you want, but just know that the rest of us reading your comment(s) are not surprised that people like you refuse to take accountability and people like you are the reason why we’re crippling as a country. Just spewing false statements with such pride like you think you’re completely correct.

          1. You want this student to be suspended and kicked off campus just because of a comment on a BU Today article? If students are following university, state, and city guidelines, they shouldn’t be suspended, period. You sound like an authoritarian maniac — feel free to tell BU to kick me off campus too.

          2. Response to the comment by “Another BU Student” because I can’t reply directly:

            I’m assuming that the people commenting on this article in support of the students that were suspended are the students themselves, their close friends that justify their actions, or their parents that pay the tuition. So yes, I want those students suspended because they ARE breaking the rules. Obviously not for the comment itself. If you just take the time to think for a second before talking—it might be useful. Try it out sometime.

        2. BU is not some place isolated in its own bubble or something. It is in the middle of one of the densest populated cities in the country, filled with “older people.” A public transportation system, used by “older people,” runs right through it.

  2. I think this is a mistake. A child tries for a very long time to get into college only to have a pandemic rip away their senior year and their graduation. To find that they are able to attend college but are required to wear a face mask and social distance. Does anyone realize what this is doing to people/kids/adults alike. Does anyone remember how awkward College freshman year can be? Did these adults actually give anyone Covid-19 and or test positive for having it?? You are sending them home as an example, denying and type of reimbursement, putting them behind a year in school and on probation when they come back if they would dare to even want to come back to this school. Shame on you for making them an example. This is college for gods sake – a party is expected. Now you have scared the rest of the student body into listening to the guidelines – I am so glad to not have to be a freshman in college or anyone in college or high school during these times. It’s not righ.

      1. “A child tries for a very long time to get into college”. Not that they are a child when they go. 20 year olds that I know were planning college way prior to becoming an adult. Please read more carefully before commenting

    1. Shouldn’t have made it hot by throwing stuff. Their fault. When you get caught breaking the rules, you usually face consequences. This is how society works. Are the rules a lil harsh? Sure. Gotta be low. Real Gs move in silence like lasagna. These unfortunate souls just got caught lacking

    2. These “children” came back with full knowledge of the rules. You think BU wants to enforce mask wearing and social distancing? No. I applaud BU for making an example of these “children” who weren’t following the rules that were very clearly outlined. It is exactly your mentality that is keeping this going. Just because they didn’t spread covid this time doesn’t mean another party won’t. BU needs to take the steps necessary to show they are serious about these restrictions to help prevent another party down the line that could be a super spreader event. Like others have pointed out—nobody forces these students to come back in person. They had the choice with all of the restrictions clearly outlined.

    3. I’m confused by the argument that we should expect college kids to party and ignore rules that keep everyone safe, and that it’s unreasonable to expect otherwise. There are hundreds of thousands of people of the same age who are not acting this way and no one makes excuses for them. They are held accountable for their actions and are wholly expected to follow the same rules as everyone else.

      Perhaps if the national conversation focused less on making excuses preemptively and more on what we know *most* college-age people are capable of and already doing – acting responsibly – this would happen less often.

  3. The punishment may be harsh but no student can claim ignorance at this point. The expectations to wear a mask and not congregate (AKA no parties) have been vocalized, emailed, printed and posted ad nauseam since mid-August. Plenty of people would criticize the administration for not following through with actual sanctions if they only issued warnings.

  4. To all of you complaining about the harshness, consider that these students had to consciously ignore very very publicly known rules of the university and the city. While partying is a part of college, it’s not the point. You’re here for an education (granted, an unnecessarily expensive one). And if you’re boneheaded to not only put yourself and the thousands of students you’ll come in contact with at risk in a city which is experiencing a dramatic uptick in cases all for a fun weekend, then you have no place here. Also, an example has already been made of those freshmen at the beginning of the semester so clearly you know the university wasn’t bluffing. You’ve got a lifetime to have fun, but going out and being a spreader could mean that someone else will not.

    1. Will, I’m in complete agreement regarding how irresponsible it is for students to party during this pandemic. Now more than ever we need students, staff, and faculty to cooperate to ensure a safe environment for students.

      My primary concern is the bearer of the consequence. Who really ends up bearing the financial consequence? I’d be willing to bet it is often passed to a student’s parents. Does that seem just? I personally struggle to see that as just. As a result of this, the consequence the a student bears is the loss of a semester. Secondly, this policy disproportionately impacts low income students. For low income students, this is a $40,000 mistake. That is a heavy enough burden that may force low income students to drop out completely. This is a policy that gives the university a financial incentive to suspend students. That type of incentive is alarming. There are many challenges with finding fair consequences during Covid-19 and I truly hope we strike the right balance.

      1. “Who really ends up bearing the financial consequence?” How about the people whose family member dies as a result of COVID?
        Your primary concern is the financial well-being of the parents? If their “child” makes a mistake and they signed on as guarantor, then they are rightly and justly paying for that mistake. That’s the entire point of a guarantor. The fact that they failed to impress upon their “child” that they must follow rules and act like a good community member is no one’s fault but their own. A university is not a daycare for high school graduates.

        And to address your insane suggestion that the university benefits from these suspensions, even if the university’s primary motivation was the acquisition of tuition from students (which it isn’t, since BU is a research university) – if a student drops out, the university loses its opportunity to collect tuition across all of the years that student might remain in a program. If per semester is 40k, why would BU disregard a potential 260k just to keep 40k now? That makes no sense. Not to mention the expectation of alumni donations, should this theoretical student graduate.

        Your pearl-clutching over low-income students suggests that you’re trying to borrow sympathy for what is ultimately a display of arrogance, ignorance, and an unfortunate lack of empathy from those students who opted to party (obnoxiously) instead of keeping themselves and others safe. They broke the rules and these are the very, very clearly articulated consequences.

        1. @anonymoustoo you bring up a good point around alumni donations. I understand that university isn’t a daycare for high school graduates. You’re right that I overly villainized BU with my initial argument. I fully understand and believe the students should be punished for their decisions.

          What I mean to say is I’m at a point of conflict with the severity of the punishment. In light of the seriousness of the pandemic, how do we hold student accountable? Accountability isn’t black or white, it’s a scale.

          To better illustrate my point consider a few levels of punishment:

          Since partying significantly increases the likely hood of the spread of covid, should students be expelled from Boston University?

          Should they be suspended with no tuition reimbursement?

          Should they be suspended with tuition reimbursement?

          Or should they be given a deferred suspension?

          All decentivize students from partying, but are they fair? That’s the question I’m trying to get at.

          If you believe that we should prioritize lives saved over anything else:
          1) the students should be hit with the hardest punishment the university can give
          2) BU shouldn’t have in person classes as that promotes the chances of covid spreading

          If you think it’s not a big deal and that the students are “just kids” and it was a harmless mistake:
          1) the students should have little punishment or in this hypothetical a “deferred suspension”

          Those are two extremes, and the goal is to decentivize in a just and fair manner. Where you find that balance is a product of your values.

          One interesting thing to look at is Northeastern’s decision to allow students to put part of their tuition to another summer (atleast in the case of the 11 students who met at a hotel). It seems like they’ve found that to be a fair punishment.

          I appreciate your rebuttal as it gave me a chance to more thoroughly analyze fallacies & prejudices within my argument. Have a good day!

      2. The consequences fall on both the parent and student. Parents are responsible for their children and educating them to follow the rules when such large consequences have been threatened. The dean already issued a warning, and it’s the students’ responsibility to adhere to that warning. You cannot complain if you were warned beforehand and chose not to listen.

        Secondly, low-income students should be more wary about not partying and avoiding consequences if they are so worried about losing money. Partying is a conscious decision that these students make as grown adults. Let them take responsibility for their actions. The university is not enforcing this policy to get money. Everyone should be following covid protocols no matter how much money they pay to go to this school.

  5. This punishment is completely absurd. It reeks of totalitarian China or Russia. These boys have been declared guilty until proven innocent. They had no due process. The rules and regulations of the University are completely unclear and vague. The majority of boys did nothing to violate them and were certainly not aware of any violation. The sanction against the boys claimed no specific infraction only vague generalities. If the University wants to impose draconian sanctions like this it should publish SPECIFIC requirements for compliance not arbitrary up to the administrator guidelines. I believe these boys were singled out to make an example of them. For what reason one can only speculate. I’m sorry but there is something more going on here than some boys having a social gathering aka “party”.

    1. BU is not the US legal system. It is a private university and allowed to establish its own rules and guidelines. Those students had to agree to certain standards of conduct to even attend. They broke the rules and now are suffering the very, very clearly articulated consequences. There is no “deeper” game at foot. You don’t have to be sorry. You can just start using your critical thinking skills.

  6. Does BU have parity for faculty and staff? If they contract COVID from carelessness at a family or social gathering do they lose their income and tenure? Of course not.

    1. Actually, yes, faculty and staff face measures up to and including termination of employment for not complying with the University’s guidelines for COVID, etc.

      Unlike the students, though, the faculty and staff generally don’t live on campus or act like their actions have no consequences.

    1. Fred, Did BU round the students up and force them to come live on campus? No. Don’t have such a small mind that you think this is comparable to Nazi Germany, come on…

  7. Thank you to BU for finally putting actions to their words! As a resident of Boston and student of BU, I care about my city and it’s residents. Right now, Allston is not a place for parties. It’s a neighborhood where my friends and their vulnerable family live. These students knew the repercussions of their actions. I do not feel bad. I do not care if they did not have COVID– because what matters is that they could have had COVID and harmed a neighborhood as a result. Thank you, BU administration for finally acting. We do not have time for small mistakes, as any mistake could harm people and lose lives. I get tested according to BU, don’t party, etc. Sure, I too miss the “college experience” but we are in a pandemic, and I have decided not to put my own self gratification before something as asinine as a party.

  8. The same state rules should apply to BU students. The university should not have a say in off-campus housing; a Gathering of 25 is allowed; are the faculty and staff having their living taken away if they attend a neighborhood gathering? I think not. Do more to help these kids, show respect both ways and you may get it in return.

    1. The state rules do apply to BU students. As a private university, BU implemented ADDITIONAL restrictions, which those students had to agree to in order to come to the university.

      Are the faculty and staff terminated for attending a gathering of 25 people? No
      Are they required to avoid such gatherings? No
      Are faculty and staff the same as students? No

      Do faculty and staff face being fired if they fail to live up to the restrictions they are required to follow? Yes

      These students were shown respect by being trusted to follow these simple guidelines. These students weren’t demonstrating respect, and that’s why they’re facing the consequences of their actions.

    2. First of all, most faculty and staff are making smart decisions NOT to attend large gatherings because their LIVES and the lives of their family depend on that decision. DO NOT use them to justify students being irresponsible. The staff I know around campus in fact have absolute fear when they hear of any positive covid results on campus. Think twice before thinking that just because a gathering of 25 is “allowed” that it should happen under current circumstances. Be smart. Also off-campus housing students directly affect the cases of covid on campus since they also use BU facilities and classrooms. I think this is self-explanatory.

  9. Suspensions disproportionately impact lower income students. While It’s no surprise students deserve to bear some level of consequences for their actions, and punishment is undoubtedly needed to ensure accountability and safety for other students, think about how devastating this policy is for lower income families. A suspension is a $40,000 mistake, that financial weight may prevent a lower income student from ever being able to attend a university again, especially if they lose a scholarship.

    Secondly, for those who can afford the suspension, who actually ends up paying? I’d being willing to bet it’s parents in most cases. So at the end of the day, the financial burden goes to the family, not the student. From this perspective, the suspension seems to punish a student’s parents rather than the actual student. After all, many students have a lot of tuition support from their parents. Given that, the consequence the student bears is missing a semester, which seems to be heavy enough in my opinion.

    Finally, I don’t think the university should have a financial incentive to suspend students. It causes a conflict of interests and seems alarming. This university have $2.3 billion in endowment, does it really need more money? I assume the semester tuition is still being pocketed by BU.

    Its self evident there must be consequences for not following Covid-19 policies, and I’m aware of how severe the pandemic is. I want to keep a safe campus as much as anyone else; however, I’m skeptical of the current approach. Given is was BU’s decision to bring students back to campus, shouldn’t they share in the consequence if it was an unsafe decision? After all, if returning to campus is as safe as they claimed it to be, suspensions (without student tuition loss), shouldn’t be seen as risky.

    1. I’ve seen this comment repeatedly and I fail to see how the University has a financial incentive to suspend the students. The students had already paid their tuition for the semester which means the University had already received its funds at the point of suspension. That would still be the case had the students not been suspended.

  10. This decision was made with emotion, not reason. The school suspended many of these students based off of ACCUSATIONS, not evidence! Off campus housing should be judged based on City of Boston protocol, not BU housing. A party of 25 or less was MADE CLEAR to be allowed. I am DISGUSTED by how BU has treated students in this time. Absolutely no compassion whatsoever! All students are struggling to find ways to responsibly gather and mental health has been at an all time low at this university! All I can say is that I have completely lost trust in this university and all they seem to really care about at the end of the day is TAKING OUR MONEY. They do not care about students.

    1. “The school suspended many of these students based off of ACCUSATIONS, not evidence! ”
      — have you been there and have internal knowledge of what exactly happened?
      — with how popular Instagram stories, and other social media is, I find it hard to believe those suspensions were based only on hearsay

      “Off campus housing should be judged based on City of Boston protocol, not BU housing”
      — no. BU affiliates have agreed with the University’s policy for this semester before returning to campus that clearly addressed off-campus parties.

      ” A party of 25 or less was MADE CLEAR to be allowed”
      — if you are going back the 25 people rule, honestly, I dont remember its details off top of my head, but how do you know that party was <=25.

      "I am DISGUSTED by how BU has treated students in this time"
      — I also feel for students, but BU must have a strong hand in this, otherwise, these or other students will continue partying like crazy, and potentially spread the decrease on campus. Which, btw, could will to a full university closure, which will affect everybody.

      "All I can say is that I have completely lost trust in this university and all they seem to really care about at the end of the day is TAKING OUR MONEY"
      — You only look at it from the perspective of suspended students. Try to see it from the perspective of students who take social distancing guidelines seriously and came back to campus to study (and see friends, ofc). If the university has to close because of these 17 students, it would be extremely unfair to everyone else.

      Overall, while I can relate to the need for socializing, in the times of the pandemic with so many people dying, participating in large parties pushes it too far.

  11. Trying to decide if I find it interesting or a little disturbing that all of these articles mentioning the uptick of COVID cases at BU fail to adequately contextualize it. So far the ones I’ve seen all neglect to mention that there is currently a statewide and national COVID spike, so, you know, it would follow that BU is going to be affected by this spike too… but I guess that’s a fact I would want to omit too if I wanted to use rising COVID cases on campus to justify suspending 12 students without prorating tuition or housing.

    1. Thanks for your comment, we have repeatedly mentioned this in other stories, it was simply not mentioned in this one. It was mentioned here: http://www.bu.edu/articles/2020/rise-in-bu-covid-19-cases-prompts-stricter-measures/ Where we said: “Surging infections in the United States, including an uptick in Massachusetts, are part of a global tide that hit 40 million cases this week. The trends have raised concerns about the need for more business lockdowns, something Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and many public health experts are resisting for the moment.”

      1. I’m glad it was mentioned in that article. But it still seems remiss to me to not mention it here, to contextualize the situation. As written, it seems to suggest COVID spikes are more tied to parties than to the new nationwide spike.

  12. This is absolutely ridiculous. These so called “parties” were never above 15-20 kids and it clearly states 25 students MAX at one gathering. The school should’ve came to them with real rules they broke instead of kicking kids out because underage drinking. Pretty silly to make these kids go home and lose out on a semester because they are trying to make a point of someone. Dean Elmore is trying to appeal to the public’s eye before looking out for his students he brought the hammer down on for having 15 kids over. Sad

  13. It seems like BU actively wants people to not apply to the university. Raising tuition during the middle of a pandemic from an already outrageous amount while having stricter rules than 99% of universities and being completely unprepared for the semester in almost every regard just shows how much of a disaster the university has become.

    1. How were they unprepared? They are one of the only schools in the country with their own testing lab and have done an amazing job at not having an outbreak. They were more prepared then almost every college in the country. If you just hate BU and are going to make stuff up, I don’t get why…

  14. That’s intense. Comparing the US to China, Russia, or Nazi Germany? Frankly, y’all need to humble yourselves because going to a party and getting wasted to the point where you start throwing stuff is ridiculous, obnoxious, and childish. Disturbing the people around them is disrespectful. And then, coming back to campus not knowing if they contracted the virus is dangerous and putting their peers, staff, and faculty at risk.

    We follow rules every day but obliging to the COVID-19 guidelines is like putting a gun to the head for some you? And if you don’t follow rules then you’re an anarchist, so does that make you a better citizen?

    The University did its job and looked at the overall evidence. There is a process that needs to be followed otherwise lawsuits start stacking up. So stop bashing the school and involving politics because at the end of the day this is a business and no one wants to lose money.

    If I was a parent to one of these kids, I would’ve accepted the punishment and made my kid pay me back the money. You want to act big and tough? Well, better face the consequences and pay up.

  15. I thought off campus students just had to follow MA covid protocol? So under 25 should be in compliance? This is a genuine question I feel like the BU covid guidelines are unclear for off campus students.

    1. Off campus students have to comply with the same rules as on-campus students. It’s part of the agreement to be a student at BU. I was off campus for three years, and understood that if I was busted for an off-campus party where there were drugs/underage drinking/fights, I’d be politely asked to GTFO, and they’d keep my money. Universities and colleges always make their own rules!

      Also, one mentioned the fact that these were underage students, at a rowdy party (with fights and underage drinking/drugs) where the cops were called and they got busted. Regardless of COVID-19, they’d be up against the student hearing committee for underage drinking, etc.

  16. This seems extremely harsh. The school should have sent the students home but allowed them to continue taking classes online. No one wins by forcing the students to lose both tuition and school credit. Not a good look on Boston University. I hope BU is ready for the impeding lawsuits.

  17. These students had no due process. Did anyone even hear them out? They’re off-campus. If they follow state protocol there should be no issue. Incompetence on part of the administration is the reason these students are soaking a $40,000 loss. Tough look for BU. And the fact people in the comments are crucifying people who defend the students is ridiculous. You care so much about the well-being of others, but you don’t care that these people just got screwed and are stuck in a guilty until proven innocent fiasco? Did they harm anyone? Sure, one kid threw a beer, but the rest? They played music too loud and now BU is trying to hang them in the square as a fear tactic to scare other students into social isolation. Why would anyone pay to attend this school?

    1. BU is a private institution where “due process” does not apply. These students had to agree to a set of rules for their behavior before they could attend. They violated those rules.

      They didn’t get screwed.
      They don’t get a presumption of innocence, because they were caught red-handed at a gathering in excess of BU’s requirements.
      The thrown beer is not why they’re being suspended, nor are they being punished for “loud music.” They violated the standards of behavior to which they’d agreed, the consequences for which were spelled out in that same agreement.
      If someone points a gun at someone else and pulls the trigger, they don’t get to claim “No one got shot, what’s the big deal?” It’s still attempted murder. These students violated the standards and could have contributed to someone catching and dying from a disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of people already. Trying to downplay the enormity of that possibility is plain stupid. You can’t tell if someone might have COVID without testing. You can’t tell if you’ve been infected until you’ve been tested. There will always be a gap between infection and discovery. This is exactly why mask wearing and social distancing are the burdens that we all must bear to protect each other.

      If using these students as an example leads to better behavior from others, good. But they aren’t being used as an example, they’re just experiencing the consequences of agreeing to a contract and failing to live up to their portion.

      Welcome to adulthood, where people do things they don’t like, because there are more important things than just personal gratification. Many people never learn this lesson, but these students just paid a higher price than most for a first hand lesson. They could have just learned it by paying attention and following the rules.

      1. Also, the students at this party were not social distancing and were not wearing masks inside. “Less than 25” isn’t a magic fail safe- being in close contact in an enclosed space with no physical distance and no mask is dangerous no matter how many people are there. COVID doesn’t do a headcount and skip a party because it’s 15 people. Plus, considering that it takes days to build up a viral load that can be detected, a negative test yesterday doesn’t mean you’re not positive right now.

    2. Yeah, one student threw the beer, but the rest were not innocent. Why do people think it’s okay for them to attend an off campus gathering? If anything, it’s worse. Traveling to and from those residences they can be exposed right then and there, whether they take the bus, train, an Uber, or walk. Who knows where else they’ve gone? Right there is reason enough– it is an unnecessary risk that they took that they knew was against this semester’s policies.
      As mentioned above, even without COVID guidelines, they’d all be up against Judicial Affairs for attending or throwing a party where there was underage drinking and drug use.
      They more than likely did go up against Judicial Affairs in this case, as is the process in any normal semester. I don’t know why you assume that’s not what’s happening this semester.
      But regardless of that, no, off campus students are expected to adhere to the more stringent on campus policies if they expect to be allowed in on campus buildings, not the guidelines of the state of Massachusetts.
      It is not absurd that the University clearly told students these were the terms they agreed to when they arrived on campus, and that they would be punished if they broke them. They knowingly broke them. That’s not making one mistake. It takes time to plan a party. You have to clean, set up, bring in refreshments, etc. Those are all choices they made, and they had plenty of chances to make the choice not to break rules. They made the choice to do it, knowing full well the consequences. That’s not the University’s fault.
      Parties may be a part of University life, but they are never without risk, and now more than ever, the students who choose to throw them anyway have to face the consequences. Dean Elmore made it clear before move in what the punishment would be. There is no excuse.

  18. So sad and a clear reflection of our country right now. We have States demanding restaurants open while demanding lockdown.

    We all need to be responsible, social distance, wear mask and respect others of course (though our President doesn’t exactly set the right tone at the top!). However, the only laws it seems these students have potentially crossed was under-age drinking off campus. Were assault charges brought forward? Disturbance of the peace charges made – or is this BU determining its own laws? Were the off-campus residences BU owned or student rented? Lots of questions in my mind.

    All that said, discipline them for sure but to refuse them access to education while not providing any reimbursement (even haircut slightly for administrative costs) is, I believe, the most outrageous action here. Payments are made for services rendered – no services rendered then money back please.

    These young adults wanted to be on-campus to try to as best embrace their college experience as possible in these times. And yes, they should follow rules and if found to be flouting them (assuming fair due process) then discipline them for sure. But to ‘steal’ their (or mostly their parents or federal/state) funds is beyond comprehension.

    It does reek of heavy handed BU pandering to the public audience once again – appearing strong isn’t always the right answer BU. Empathy in leadership is important albeit almost lost these days. And to the students reading this – please behave better! You are causing harm / stress to others and yourselves that you may not realize until you’ve become a little wiser. So just stop for a moment and recognize that you’re fortunate to be at BU and have a civic and personal duty to be more mindful in the moment.

  19. For anyone complaining about how these students were following the Massachusetts state guidelines- they actually were not. In the official state COVID-19 guidelines for gatherings, indoor gatherings are, indeed, limited to 25 people HOWEVER, all persons attending are required to stay six feet apart from anyone out of their household and at any gathering over 10 people, everyone is required to wear a mask indoors. Further, no matter how many people you have, any gathering where people can’t stay six feet apart is a violation of the guidelines; this means that three people in a small room sitting together on a couch is just as much of an offense in the eyes of Massachusetts as 26 people in a larger space. I live in Allston and I see frequent, routine parties of 15-20 kids indoors with no masks. The Mayor encouraged citizens in Boston to call 911 on large gatherings and these kids were not only a) breaking the law by underage drinking b) disturbing the peace but c) not following the Massachusetts guidelines. Allston is not part of BU, following the BU rules doesn’t matter. They should have looked up and followed the guidelines of the city they live in.

  20. Seeing all this stuff, I’m thankful I graduated 8 years ago and didn’t have to go through college with all of these restrictions.

    I think it is obvious that if a student broke the rules, they need to suffer some type of consequence. I guess I’m having a hard time understanding what the rules are? They seem more strict than the Massachusetts <25 in a gathering. Is there a number? <10? <15?

    I'm also fine with them having a set of stricter rules. I mean I remember that you weren't allowed to have more than X ounces of beer (it was basically the equivalent of a 6 pack) or more than 2 bottles of wine on campus, even if you were over the age of 21. I remember getting in trouble for this as I was carrying a 12 pack and a bottle of wine to my room as I didn't know the rules. All I got was a written warning with a threat that if I did it again I would be suspended, and kicked out of on base housing.

    I just think the total punishment is a bit over the top. I'm even fine with suspending them for the semester, but the financial penalty is just awful, and shouldn't be automatic but maybe tied to if someone did transmit Covid-19 after attending such an event, which they can monitor via contact tracing.

    I'm honestly not surprised, however, by the financial penalty. I know someone who withdraw early from a semester due to a parent having a cancer and later passing away within the same semester and their tuition wasn't reimbursed. At the end of the day, the school's number one goal isn't to educate, but to bleed its students, their parents, and alumni dry. It's the only way I can explain the behavior above, rising tuition prices, and the expenses on new buildings rather than employing and retaining quality, tenured professors. It's why BU hasn't seen a penny of my hard earned dollars after graduation, despite their frequent calls.

  21. Response to “Student at BU”:

    Please be respectful and do not tell people to “think before replying.” This is not the first time you are using that phrase on BU Today. That said, you should apply that formula to yourself. Everyone has a right to express their opinion. Your comments, “You clearly do not have the mental capacity…” are inappropriate and offensive, indicate a lack of tolerance and disregard to other participants’ opinions and freedom of speech and have no place in civilized society. Learn to disagree while remaining civilized and mature and everything will be fine.

  22. So these young adults are getting kicked out of school for an outdoor gathering of less than 20 people? Shocking to read the Mass Covid guidelines below. Not to mention, this group could have split into two groups of ten and went to a restaurant to have dinner???
    Lots of confusion related to Covid. I am not defending this group, but it seems they should at least be given a second chance.

    COVID-19 alert
    Common questions
    How many people are allowed to gather in Massachusetts during the COVID19 pandemic?
    Indoor gatherings are limited to 8 persons per 1,000 square feet of accessible, indoor floor space and never more than 25 persons in a single enclosed, indoor space.

    Outdoor gatherings in enclosed, permitted or leased spaces are limited to 25% of the maximum permitted occupancy of the facility or 8 persons per 1,000 square feet and never more than 100 persons in a single outdoor space that is enclosed, permitted or leased. Outdoor gatherings in unenclosed spaces are not subject to capacity limitations.

  23. BU should be embarrassed by the obviously unfair way it applies its so-called COVID “rules and guidelines” for campus gatherings. BU applies these rules unfairly and in a discriminatory way. Certain students are severely penalized for allegedly gathering in small groups to “party”, while others are allowed (even encouraged) to crowd together in much larger gatherings on campus to “fight for justice”.

    The pages of BU Today itself demonstrate this rank hypocrisy. An October 7th story in BU Today reported that “[h]undreds of students, faculty and staff gathered on Marsh Plaza on Thursday afternoon [October 1st] in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement”. (See, Students Organize Black Lives Matter Protest, BU Today, October 7, 2020 – bu.edu/articles/2016/black-lives-matter-protest).

    Were any of these students, faculty and staff disciplined for this gathering? Whatever you might think about BLM, how can one type of gathering threaten to spread COVID, while the other won’t? Are we supposed to believe that protest gatherings are exempt from the spread of COVID but that it will attack at a party? What is the scientific basis for this distinction? Maybe COVID is a Red Sox fan. Can we all go to Fenway again? Truth is, viruses don’t care why you’re gathering. Either gatherings are a health threat, or they aren’t. BU seems to pick and choose whether it will discipline students at gatherings based on factors totally unrelated to whether there is a scientific risk the gathering is likely to spread COVID.

    Perhaps some animals are more equal than others. The BU administration is acting like the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s “1984”. Up is down and black is white. Don’t question what they say – it may change next week anyway. Don’t join in an unfavored gathering or you might be disciplined and disappeared. Just wear your mask and get in line (6 feet apart!) with the rest of the good little citizens on campus and let Big Brother know if you see any violators. That way you’ll be safe and happy – until the day they come for you too.

    1. One gathering, while large, was masked and distant. Ya can’t underage drink with a mask on, bud. Therein lies the difference.
      All of these arguments defending the party goers are really gross. Not only were these rules made abundantly clear to students before they came back to campus, but there is clear and present danger should they not be followed. If BU turned a blind eye and allowed these students to continue breaking rules, cases would absolutely rise on campus and lead to another campus shut down, as happened in March. As a result of another shut down, every single student on campus would have to emergency move out, incurring unexpected travel costs, unsafe exposure, and more faculty and staff would be furloughed or fired. How can you say that those risks are worth 12 students remaining on campus when they knew full well what the rules were and they knowingly chose to break them anyway? Their poor decision making will affect a lot more than themselves. It will affect people who made every proper decision and had no control over this. If these students didn’t want to be suspended, they knew what to do in order to stay on campus. While losing tuition is a steep cost, it should have been enough to deter them, and if it wasn’t, that’s not BU’s fault. If they backed out of their rules now, they’d have a campus closure on their hands in a month, as more students would take that as a sign that they could do whatever they wanted without consequence.
      The fact of the matter is, if BU were not taking strong action, faculty and staff would absolutely lose their livelihoods as a result of these students’ misconduct. How is that fair? Students will lose one semester. They can overload if they really need to in future semesters. Faculty and staff cannot so easily recover from the loss of a job, especially given how difficult it is to find them right now. If you claim you want BU to have compassion, you should be realizing that that’s exactly what they are doing. How could you say it’s not compassionate to consider the thousands of folks who would be affected by these 12 students instead of just the 12?

  24. So, did anyone happen to see pictures of the celebration in the streets of Boston after the announcement we had elected a new president? I am all for the excitement of ushering in a new administration, but based on these happenings and the punishment dished out to the 12 BU students for hosting gatherings of less than 25 people, something seems very wrong here.
    The pictures from Saturday clearly show zero social distancing, with many not wearing masks.
    I am sure there were many BU students present on the streets during the celebration. Will results of a potential uptick in COVID cases after this weekend be reported, or will they be dismissed because this gathering was deemed ok?

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