• Joel Brown

    Staff Writer

    Portrait of Joel Brown. An older white man with greying brown hair, beard, and mustache and wearing glasses, white collared shirt, and navy blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey background.

    Joel Brown is a staff writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. He’s written more than 700 stories for the Boston Globe and has also written for the Boston Herald and the Greenfield Recorder. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 29 comments on Students Could Face Suspension for Weekend Party Violating COVID Rules

      1. Students are not babies, they should not have acted this stupidly and put their peers and the whole campus at risk. BUPD has minimal stuff to do, might as well enforce the guidelines.

  1. This story makes me very sad. I am an older BU graduate student but also a Mom with a 20 year old daughter who is a Junior on campus at another college.

    What can we do – what is being done – within Boston University to support and include younger students in BU college life in safe and inclusive ways?

    Everybody makes mistakes along the way. The important thing is to not keep making the same mistakes and to have a community that supports all of our growth and learning.

    1. Dale, I agree with you. BU can & should promote crowd-controlled, safe, outdoor social activities like movie nights, group walks, comedy/talent shows, etc. I calculated that 500 people could safely sit in the BU Beach area, maintaining 6’ distances at all times, plus 18’ wide aisles.

  2. In my view, suspensions and forfeiting tuition are way too harsh. Young people will, from time-to-time, make dumb decisions. These young people, to their credit, probably didn’t make any significant dumb decisions in high school, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it into BU.

    I think a warning and campus or community volunteer work for a period of weeks would be much more appropriate and productive for all. Also, put things in perspective … around the country, certain people are getting arrested for not wearing masks … while others getting off scot free after rioting and setting buildings on fire. The ramifications and penalties associated with community violations in this disruptive environment, across the country, are inconsistent, difficult to manage, and imperfect.

    Let’s show some compassion and empathy for these students who are high achievers, made one mistake, and are very frustrated trying to negotiate an extraordinary pandemic. Don’t you recall having a few beers when you were underage in college … and maybe bending a few other rules? We are adults now … but shouldn’t forget how easy it was to make one mistake when we were young.

    1. “One mistake”? Why are you assuming these people are perfect model students? You really think someone who does something like this will never make another “mistake” in their life? They need to face consequences or they won’t learn anything…

    2. Please don’t use words like “compassion” or “empathy” when talking about letting students off the hook inappropriately. They put others at serious risk. Those who are willing to put other people’s lives in danger are the ones who need to learn compassion and empathy!

    3. I have to say, I disagree as well. I understand young people will be young people, but in light of the pandemic we are facing and how explicitly clear the school has been about their guidelines and consequences, I thk the students should be suspended. God forbid someone should spread Covid to someone from this encounter and that person dies, and we still say, “ oops, kids will be kids, they make mistakes, oops.” Frankly, I’m so tired of people who say this. We all need to take responsibility for our actions and we need to teach this to and expect this from our young people as well. In my own community, I see people blatantly disobeying Covid protocol – I have to believe that they, and these students, know what they are doing; and if challenged, they need to take responsibility for their actions. I am also a Mom of a grad student who was shut out of housing and desperately wants to be on campus. We can’t let students who don’t want to follow the rules – for whatever reason- ruin it for other students who want to be on campus and are doing things the right way.

      1. The rules for students who chose to return to campus have been messaged clearly and frequently. BU is one of the largest employers in the state. If there is a coronavirus outbreak among students and the University has to close campus, there will almost certainly be more layoffs. These seemingly small mistakes put the livelihoods of literally thousands of people at risk. I would love to cut these kids some slack but the stakes are too high for too many.

  3. What Covid guidelines did they break? There were only 20 people found at the gathering, and they were outside, meaning that they were actually being safe according to guidelines. They are going to get suspended over not wearing masks? It’s crazy to me that the underage drinking isn’t the biggest issue here…

  4. BU Today should fact check their stories and not publish salacious materials before fair proceedings have been completed. This ‘guilty until proven innocent’ mentality which is plaguing our country should not be reinforced by our higher educational establishments. I’m all for enforcing strong COVID-19 guidelines but get facts straight first and let fair judicial processes be followed. This story has now been picked up by The Boston Globe further sensationalizing the event – before the facts are clear. What is BU doing to ensure they don’t fall into the alternative truth paradigm that is so polarizing our culture. Shape up BU!!!

  5. The CDC recently released the death rate for COVID-19 for those 24 and younger. It is 0.003%. Meaning the recovery rate is 99.997%. How serious is this virus for young people? Sure, if you have underlying health issues, take precautions. These young students are social people. They need to interact with their peers. Maybe BU should find a way to help these young people interact and not isolate them so much.

    1. Covid is Pandemic and spreads quickly. It has closed down schools. Your comment states that if a thousand students at BU get COVID, only 3 will be DEAD. Of course with professors there will be more DEATHS. There will also be a significant number of longterm side effects, both known and unkown. The virus has spread in FL and GA primary to younger people first getting it and spreading it among others. It killed many others that do not have a high of a recovery percentage.

      This sounds ok with you?

    2. Putting aside your data set, there’s two major issues you’re ignoring:

      1) Spreading the virus exposes more people to it, many of whom will not be in the age range you’re discussing (Just on BU’s campus we’re talking about grad students, teachers, administration, facilities support staff, MBTA staff, retailers on Comm Ave). You’re talking about heightening the risk for them and of course greatly widening the spread throughout Boston as a result.

      2) Whether one lives or dies isn’t the only mark of recovering from COVID. Many have had lasting brain, lung, liver, and other issues and the extent to which these will continue to cause problems through life isn’t fully understood yet.

    3. The COVID-19 virus is mutating. The longer this pandemic lasts and the more times it spreads, the longer and more opportunities it has to mutate into something far worse. As already said, we also do not fully understand the longterm effects post-recovery. There is some thought currently of longterm cardiovascular damage. Death is a possible undesirable outcome. It is not the only possible undesirable outcome.

  6. I’m less mad about the party itself than I am by the sheer audacity of 20+ freshmen drinking beer from cans and blasting music in the bakery thinking they wouldn’t get caught

  7. You all have forgotten what it was to be 19-20? Students should be given a fair hearing and ask to do community service and attend COVID and and Drinking training. Next time, yes there out!

    I live in Florida where this insane governor just opened the whole state for bars, concerts and is not enforcing masks. People on the beach are literally on top of each other, bars full and no masks
    Adults and so called leaders are acting incredibly irresponsible and then we expect the kids to be perfect?

    1. Tom, I agree with your view. (see “Former BU Student” comment above). For students in the 19-20 age range who are taking a hard-line on this … I suspect their view will change, someday, when they become a parent of a teenager. Based on the rationale of zero tolerance due to the COVID death risks, the University should stay shutdown entirely … and restaurants and stores should still be completely shutdown. To conclude, I will double-down saying the suspension and keeping $25K+ tuition money is an unreasonable level of punishment and disruption for the involved students and their parents.

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