TAMPA, Fla. - In a letter sent out to all students Friday, the University of Tampa’s dean of students laid out a simple message: Host a "large gathering" on or off campus and you’ll be ”interimly suspended” from the university.
The letter comes after one of those large gatherings was held last week in a residence hall, which violates the school’s coronavirus-safety plans.
“It is a different environment, so there are typical behaviors and things that college students do that just aren’t possible in this environment,” warned dean of students Stephanie Russell Krebs.
In other words, the big parties that are normally a staple of college life are off-limits at UT this semester. There’s a zero-tolerance policy in place.
“That sucks. Partying is fun. It’s a part of college,” said senior Zalen Lyttle. But then she added, “would you rather be dead or drunk?”
“I would appreciate if my fellow students would not do that. But I can’t control everybody,” junior Michael Bivins told FOX 13.
This sort of COVID crackdown isn’t limited to only UT. A number of other schools nationwide have had to wrestle with social-gatherings getting out of hand. Florida Gulf Coast, just a week into classes, has suspended two fraternities for throwing large parties.
“You can have a good time and do it on your own time, but take into consideration putting yourself at risk and everyone around you,” said UT junior Adriana Garcia.
And taking it a step further, students are being encouraged to report risky behavior because, as UT officials point out, “the stakes are high and the behavior of one impacts many.”
The University of Tampa’s fall semester begins on Wednesday with mainly in-person classes. Masks are mandatory.
FULL TEXT OF THE DEAN'S LETTER:
We were informed that last evening a large gathering occurred in one of our residence halls, which is a direct violation of our Spartan Shield Health and Safety plan and Student Code of Conduct. Students hosting these gatherings (on and off campus) have been and will continue to be interimly suspended from the University. Students who receive an interim suspension may no longer live in the residence halls and may not attend classes until their student conduct cases are resolved. Additionally, all students involved in this incident and those determined to be involved in any further incidents will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.
I urge you to refrain from gathering in large groups, on-campus or off-campus where physical distancing cannot be met. The stakes are high and the behavior of one impacts many. Our ability to remain safe and in-person as a UT community depends on each one of us and this requires zero tolerance for risky student behavior. We will continue to move swiftly to remove those from the community who endanger others and do not adhere to our Spartan Shield Health and Safety plan.