Columbia University Bans 70 Students From Campus for COVID Violations as NYC Deals With Case Surge

Columbia University temporarily banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies. The move comes as New York City faces a surge in COVID-19 cases.



a group of people sitting at a park: Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: People sit on the grass at Columbia University as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 28, 2020 in New York City. As of November 22, the university banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies.


© Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images/Getty
Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 28: People sit on the grass at Columbia University as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 28, 2020 in New York City. As of November 22, the university banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies.

The ban followed an unauthorized trip to Turks and Caicos by students from Columbia’s Business School.

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The trip was in direct violation of Columbia’s COVID-19 public health protocols and the Columbia Community Health Compact—which all students, faculty and staff were required to sign at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.

The compact and protocols both restricted most domestic and international travel and banned group gatherings.

“An important part of Columbia’s public health protocols is that there are consequences for community members who violate the university’s Health Compact,” a university spokesperson told The Columbia Daily Spectator.

The students in violation of the university’s travel policies will be banned from campus through December 1. However, if the students violate the policy again, they could face harsher charges said the spokesperson.

The Business School offered a hybrid model of instructions for the fall semester. This means that students had the option of “HyFlex” or complete online classes, according to The Columbia Daily Spectator.

In the HyFlex model, students had access to a combination of in-person and remote classes that alternate each day. Business students also had access to facilities in the university, including Warren Hall and Uris Hall, even if they choose to learn remotely.

The students in violation will now only be able to learn remotely without access to the university’s facilities.

Columbia’s COVID-19 positivity rate of students and faculty live both on and off-campus was 0.12 percent for the majority of the semester, according to the university’s website as of Sunday. However, during the week of November 9, the positivity rate rose to 0.22 percent with 24 students in isolation and 39 in quarantine.

New York City, like many other areas around the country, have reinstated COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the holiday season in response to a surge in cases.

New York was once an epicenter for the virus during the early stages of the pandemic, but the area since curbed its cases in the summer. However, since students returned to classrooms during the final weeks of September, New York City has seen a steady uptick in cases once again.

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On Saturday, New York reported over 5,970 new cases and 41 new deaths, according to data from The New York Times. Over the past

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Columbia University bans 70 students for Covid-19 travel violations

Columbia University says it has temporarily banned at least 70 students for violating the New York City school’s Covid-19 travel policy.



a group of people walking in front of a building: MBA students from Columbia University in New York City traveled to Turks and Caicos.


© Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
MBA students from Columbia University in New York City traveled to Turks and Caicos.

The MBA students traveled to Turks and Caicos, according to Columbia University spokesman Christopher Cashman.

That violated the school’s Covid-19 health compact, a protocol which restricts any official or organized group travel until further notice, Cashman said.

“The Turks & Caicos trip was a group event that violated this policy and thus was met with disciplinary action,” Cashman said.

Coronavirus case counts are surging, with 2.7 million new infections since the beginning of November. Friday alone saw more than 195,500, the most in a single day yet. More than 250,000 Americans have died from Covid-19.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving, and has posted updated guidelines for safely celebrating the holiday.

Cashman said the students can’t enter campus until December 1. They must complete their academic obligations by attending class virtually.

If the students violate the policy again, they are subject to harsher discipline, Cashman said.

“All of this is being done to protect the broader health of our community and, thankfully, to date our positive case rate remains low,” Cashman said.

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Duquesne University suspends Greek activities over ‘egregious’ coronavirus violations

All Greek fraternities and sororities at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh are suspended after members hosted parties that violated COVID-19 protocols and other longer-standing campus rules, while others allegedly mislead contact tracers attempting to track the spread of coronavirus.

In a letter to students Wednesday, the university’s president expressed disappointment with the way multiple Greek organizations had responded to COVID-19 guidelines prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people. Many of the gatherings in question he said had taken place before the majority of students returned to campus, according to Pittsburgh’s WPXI television news station. 

“Due to repeated and egregious violations of the Duquesne University Student Code of Conduct’s COVID-19 standards, by several organizations and numerous members of Greek organizations, all Greek Life activity at Duquesne is suspended indefinitely, effective immediately,” University President Dr. Douglas Frizzell wrote.

“Fraternities and sororities at Duquesne state in their language that they encourage leadership, service, excellence, integrity, and productive citizenship. And yet, at a time when the University and, indeed, our region needed you most to live the values you espouse, as a system you failed to do so,” Frizzell continued. “Furthermore, you deliberately persisted in behaviors known to endanger people.”

The private Catholic college has confirmed 156 cases of COVID-19 among its student body, while more than 250 students are currently quarantined at home or at a hotel, according to the campus’s coronavirus dashboard website.

College campuses around the country have struggled with outbreaks of coronavirus among their student populations due, in part, to gatherings in the Greek communities. Indiana University warned last month that it was seeing an “uncontrollable” spread of the virus among its fraternities and sororities.

A CNN tally last month found that more than 40,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported at U.S. colleges and universities since students returned to residences on and around campuses for the beginning of fall semester.

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College Basketball’s Issue of Recruiting Violations Persists

Basketball programs across the NCAA continue to be subject to sanctions and controversy in light of several different recruiting violations. Schools like Auburn, Arizona, Kansas, and LSU have coaches under employ that have been caught previously for recruiting violations. SI senior writer Pat Forde joined SI’s Robin Lundberg to share his thoughts on the recruiting violations that continue to plague basketball programs around the NCAA.

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Read more of SI’s Daily Cover stories here.

 

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