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Northeastern University expels 11 students gathered in Boston hotel room for violating Covid-19 protocols

More than 50,000 Covid-19 cases have emerged from universities and colleges
Representational Image (Getty Images)
Representational Image (Getty Images)

Northeastern University has penalized 11 first-year students for gathering in a hotel room, despite Covid-19 policies warning them from doing so. The students are "no longer part of the Northeastern community for the fall semester," the university said.

The dismissed students had to undergo Covid-19 testing before leaving. Those testing positive will be shifted to a wellness housing at the university until recovery to prevent any further spread of the disease, the university said in a press statement. The move comes as colleges are struggling to contain outbreaks. According to the New York Times, at least 51,000 cases have emerged from universities and colleges.

“Northeastern and its community of students, faculty, and staff take violations of health and safety protocols very seriously,” Madeleine Estabrook, senior vice chancellor for student affairs at Northeastern, said in a statement. “Cooperation and compliance with public health guidelines is absolutely essential. Those people who do not follow the guidelines—including wearing masks, avoiding parties and other gatherings, practicing healthy distancing, washing your hands, and getting tested—are putting everyone else at risk. Testing negative for Covid-19 is not enough. We must practice all of the public health guidelines to keep ourselves and the community healthy," she said.

The 11 students were a part of the 800 participants of the NU in a study-abroad program, which provides an international experience for first-year students. They were housed in a hotel named the Westin, which is less than a mile from Northeastern’s Boston campus. On September 2, two staff members caught the students gathering in a room.

(Getty Images)

According to the university, they have repeatedly asked students to follow public health guidelines in a variety of forms throughout the community as Northeastern opened its doors for in-person classes. On August 28, Estabrook sent a letter to all students, urging them to follow control measures implemented to limit Covid-19 transmission. “Students who host an unsafe (no masks and without healthy distancing) gathering, social or party, either on or off-campus can expect suspension,” Estabrook wrote. “Students who attend an unsafe gathering, social or party, either on or off-campus, can expect suspension.”

The university will not refund the fees paid by the dismissed students. They, however, have the right to contest their dismissal in an “expedited hearing,” the university said. To ensure the safety of its students, faculty, staff and community, Northeastern said it was providing regular testing for everyone who lives and works on campus. 

Commenting on the number of cases emerging from universities, Dr Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said students should not be sent home as much as possible. "It's the worst thing you could do," he said Wednesday on NBC's 'Today' show.

"When you send them home, particularly when you're dealing with a university where people come from multiple different locations, you could be seeding the different places with infection," said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Keep them at the university in a place that's sequestered enough from the other students so that you don't get a cluster in the university, but don't have them go home, because they could be spreading it in their home state."