Northeastern University has dismissed 11 first-year students after they were allegedly caught at a party, a violation of the school's COVID-19 restrictions. The students who broke the university's social distancing rules will learn a very costly lesson because their tuition will reportedly not be refunded. That had better have been one heck of a party.
Northeastern University announced on Friday that it had dismissed 11 first-year students for violating "university and public health protocols that prohibit crowded gatherings." On Wednesday, the students threw a party at a hotel room at the Westin Hotel in Boston, which is being used as a temporary dormitory this semester. Staffers from the university claim the students were not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing.
On Friday, the students were notified that they were dismissed from Northeastern and must vacate the Westin within 24 hours. Before returning back to their homes, the students are required to take a COVID-19 test at the university. Anyone who tests positive "will be moved into wellness housing at the university until they have recovered, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus." Once they quarantine and no longer test positive for coronavirus, they will be required to leave the campus.
The students will not be allowed to return to the school this semester and will not be permitted to take online courses. They will be able to return in the spring semester, according to Northeastern University spokesperson Renata Nyul.
The 11 dismissed students were all enrolled in the N.U.in Program, "an experiential, academic program that expands students' Northeastern education into worldwide locations." The program allows students to study abroad during their first semester of college.
The dismissed students prepaid this semester's tuition, which costs $36,500. Northeastern University will not refund that money, according to The Boston Globe. "Payments by the students will not be refundable, per guidelines of the N.U.in Program," Northeastern University said.
"On multiple occasions for the past week, students in the N.U.in Program have been formally notified that they must practice physical distancing, avoid crowds, and wear masks in the presence of other people," the school said. "The students were required to acknowledge that they had reviewed the program handbook, which included details of the COVID-19 requirements that are meant to keep everyone safe."
"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, wrote in an Aug. 28 letter. "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," Estabrook continued. "We must practice all of the public health guidelines in order to keep ourselves and the community healthy. Together, we can keep each other safe, but it will require everyone's consistent cooperation."
The students are able to contest their dismissal at an expedited hearing.
Last month, Syracuse University suspended a group of students for "knowingly violating" New York state's mandatory quarantine order for out-of-state students.