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Colleges threaten students who disobey COVID-19 rules with lockouts from Wi-Fi, school services — and even dismissal


'A little extreme'

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Some American colleges are threatening students with severe sanctions if they disobey rules concerning COVID-19, including lockouts from campus Wi-Fi and school services — and even dismissal, Campus Reform reported.

What are the details?

University of Illinois students who disobey the school's recent "soft lockdown" are subject to loss of internet access and even dismissal, the Daily Illini reported.

"Please note that this semester, students who are out of compliance may also lose access to University Wi-Fi, Zoom, Compass and other technologies," Chancellor Robert Jones wrote in a recent Massmail, which was bolded and underlined, the paper said.

Campus Reform said it obtained the Jan. 20 message from Jones to students, telling them "I need to be very clear that students who do not follow all COVID-related expectations face university disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal."

The outlet noted that Boston University students who fail to get mandatory coronavirus tests after a first warning of noncompliance will have their Student ID Cards and Wi-Fi disabled. Scofflaw students also will be "prohibited from participating in any classroom or academic activity, either in person or remote, including the ability to access your courses through Blackboard or other platforms, or complete quizzes, examinations, and other course assignments," the school's website (in bold) reads.

Punishments for students at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, depend on how many COVID-19 tests they miss, Campus Reform said.

"After two instances of failing to complete a weekly test, you will not be allowed to participate in University or student organization activities (All University SING, athletic events, student organization events, campus recreation sports, access to the Student Life Center for recreation, etc.). After missing three testing appointments, your WIFI access will be disabled for the remainder of the semester," the school's website says, according to the outlet. "After four instances of failing to complete a weekly test, you will be referred to Student Conduct Administration for disciplinary action."

Baylor indicated that access to events and Wi-Fi are included in tuition, Campus Reform said — and outlet noted that the school didn't respond to questions regarding if students are eligible for refunds if their access is revoked.

Campus Reform said it also reached out to the University of Illinois and Boston University but did not hear back from them in time for publication.

What did one student have to say?

Charlie Letts, a Baylor student, told Campus Reform his school's punishments are "a little extreme."

"Honestly, I find the punishments put in place by Baylor to be a little extreme," he told the outlet. "The Wi-Fi is something students pay for, and they need in order to be successful as students. I realize that Baylor is trying to enforce the testing protocol, but taking something away that hinders being a productive student maybe isn't the best option. Especially when everyone has different views about COVID, like how compliant to be with social distancing, mask wearing, etc."

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