The University of Missouri has expelled two students and suspended three others for violating the school’s coronavirus rules and threatening campus safety.
In a message to students and staff on Tuesday, Bill Stackman, the university’s vice chancellor for student affairs, said the university was aware that parties and “other blatant violations” of coronavirus safety guidelines had taken place.
Two students have been expelled and three students suspended for “willful and knowing actions that threatened the safety of our campus and community,” he said.
Stackman didn’t provide details on what the students had done, but university officials said the actions came after “flagrant” violations of the school’s rules and regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the requirement that those who have tested positive for the virus isolate and comply with social distancing requirements.
Stackman added that 11 student organizations are also under investigation for violating the school’s coronavirus policies.
I just sent a message to the @Mizzou community about safety expectations. I am so proud of the many students who are doing their part, but we needed to share how we are holding those accountable who knowingly and willfully ingnore safety expectations. https://t.co/A5aojJQURM
— Bill Stackman ð·ð¯ (@StackmanBill) September 15, 2020
“Let me be clear: The university will not hesitate to hold those flouting the rules accountable,” he added in the letter. Additional investigations are pending that he expects “will result in similar outcomes,” Stackman said.
Officials said at least 470 student cases had been referred to the school’s Office of Student Conduct and Accountability for possible violations of coronavirus policies since August 16.
“From the beginning, we have stressed the importance of taking a vigorous approach to educate our students and enforcing our COVID policies and regulations,” Mun Choi, the university’s chancellor, said in a statement.
“We have seen a strong adoption of our policies and regulations. Unfortunately, a few students have violated these policies and violated the trust of their fellow community members.”
Choi added: “When we see those who willfully violate those expectations, we will take disciplinary action—up to expulsion. It is unfortunate that we had to take these actions, but we felt it was necessary. These students willfully put others at risk, and that is never acceptable.”
The university has reported 1,347 confirmed cases of coronavirus since it started tracking in mid-August. Officials said the school’s active caseload has dropped sharply in recent days, from 683 on September 5 to 332 on Monday.
But they warned students still needed to remain vigilant and follow guidelines.
According to the university’s reopening plan, students are banned from hosting gatherings with more than 20 people, even if they are held off-campus. Those who test positive for coronavirus are required to report it to the university within four hours.
“We need everyone’s help to beat this virus,” Stackman added in a statement.
“We continue to ask for and identify solutions to help our campus community make meaningful connections and develop a sense of belonging. This is a difficult time for all of us, but we all must act responsibly for the safety of our entire community.”
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