Trinity University threatens to suspend students for not social distancing

  • In preparation for the upcoming semester, the Dean of Students at Trinity University sent an email message detailing expectations for students’ behavior and sanctions for violations of the school’s protocols.
  • Students who fail to adhere to the outlined standards face consequences ranging from removal from residence halls to suspension from the university for a semester.

Students found to be in violation of Trinity University’s COVID-19 procedures may be suspended from the school, according to a recent email from the Dean of Students. 

The policies regarding consequences for student conduct were included in a summary of protocols concerning student expectations developed by Trinity for the upcoming semester. The school plans to bring students back to campus using a hybrid model for classes, where some courses will remain in-person while others transition to being fully online. 

"given the high stakes of violations, there will be strict enforcement"   

“This is the product of collaboration between many parties on campus dealing with campus reopening,” Dean of Students David Tuttle said in an email message sent last week, obtained by Campus Reform.

[RELATED: Universities ask students to play 'coronavirus police,' report peers who might have COVID-19] 

According to the guidelines listed in Tuttle’s email, students who live in campus residence halls will be permitted to have one guest in their rooms at a time, and only guests from the same residence hall are allowed to visit. Residential Life staff members will document all observed violations. 

Students who live off-campus are not to host open parties, although Trinity’s restrictions allow for small private gatherings with residents in the same building. Violations will be investigated. 

Faculty members will enforce policies in their classrooms and Residential Life staff will do the same in residence halls, the email reads, but all members of the Trinity community are encouraged to report offenses, which they can do using a provided “Covid Violation Report.” 

If found responsible for policy infractions, students who live on campus may be dismissed from residence halls, and students responsible for violations may be barred from campus whether or not they live there. Finally, students who commit “egregious violations” will immediately be suspended from the university for at least one semester. 

[RELATED: College mandates wearable device to track COVID-19. It does not go over well.]

“It appears to the Trinity University administration, the only way to ensure a 'successful' semester is to kill the social life on and around campus and to enforce this through highly authoritarian means,” junior Nathan Darsch wrote for independently-run Trinity student paper The Tower

Tuttle said in his email that he fully understands “the importance of social interactions among students” but emphasized that the university will “strive to hold students accountable for their actions while fostering a learning environment for those found responsible for violating policies.” 

“In this unusual time, given the high stakes of violations, there will be strict enforcement,” he wrote. 

Campus Reform reached out to Trinity University for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @mariatcopeland 

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Maria Copeland
Maria Copeland | Virginia Campus Correspondent

Maria Copeland is a Virginia Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. She is originally from Herndon, Virginia and received her Associates of Arts in Communications from Northern Virginia Community College this May. She will attend James Madison University in the Fall. While on campus, Maria was Gupta Family Foundation Scholar, Vice President of the Loudoun Student Government Association, Vice President of the Loudoun Writing Association, and a Student Ambassador for the Honors Program. She was also a Page for the Fairfax County Public Library. Maria was also a Campus Reform intern Summer 2020.

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