STORRS, CT (WFSB) – It only took a couple of days of being back on campus before party-shaming became a thing at the University of Connecticut.
In less than a week since the Storrs campus reopened to students, videos emerged of large gatherings.
Tuesday, the university said it removed from campus housing the students who were part of one video-recorded unapproved gathering in a residence hall.
The school said it takes safety in the era of COVID-19 seriously.
In order to attend classes this semester, students need to get tested for the virus.
So far, more than 3,800 tests were performed and the positivity rate hovers around 0.1 percent. Going a step further, the contact tracing has been aggressive.
Twenty-five people were quarantined after coming in contact with the students who tested positive.
While UConn is taking it seriously, it said not all of its students are.
A pre-semester college party took place in one of the dorms. Most years, this would be the norm, but not in the coronavirus era.
On Tuesday evening, UConn sent out a letter saying students who were part of the unapproved gathering in a residence hall room were removed from the housing while the university investigated the incident.
UConn said the students "were not wearing masks, closely assembled, and endangering not only their own health and wellbeing, but that of others at a time when UConn is working to protect our community and resume classes in the context of a deadly global pandemic."
“I have heard of them, I feel people can get together maybe later on, so we know who’s negative and who’s positive,” said Ethan Cabral, a student.
“I’ve heard of them, I’ve seen posts about them, but personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to go, especially under the conditions,” said Viaivannie Vargas-Negron, also a student.
The video of the party popped up on the forum website Reddit as part of a discussion among UConn students about COVID-19 and partying. For the first time since many can remember, students were party-shaming their peers.
“There were posts floating around social media saying, ‘stay safe, your party is not worth another death.’ To me, that says a lot because of this developing culture of kids trying to deter other kids away from partying,” said Aidan Caron, a student.
The reason is because many UConn students said they are just grateful to be at school. Freshmen who spoke to Channel 3 all had their senior year of high school abruptly shut down. They don’t want that to happen again.
“I know of a couple of friends who are coming home now from UNC, so being here is kind of like we’re on a thin line, we’d hate to have to go home,” Cabral said.
UConn and state police investigated reports of other parties. While they are a concern, they said none of them violated the state guidelines of the 25-person indoor gatherings or 100-person outdoor gatherings.
However, the university said the gatherings may have violated the student code of conduct and could result in removal from student housing, probation, suspension, or expulsion. The gathering in the online video is still under investigation.
Students continued to plea for common sense from their peers.
“It’s sad, I get it. I would love to attend some parties. I’d love to get out there, but just doing what’s best for the population as a whole, you got to take a step back,” Cabral said.
UConn went on to say that it will be sending a letter to all students about limiting gatherings. They’ll also send one out to off-campus landlords as well.
State police will also be on patrol to look out for big parties.