Santa Clara University threatens suspensions, fines after massive fraternity party

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Santa Clara University has threatened to suspend and fine students who attended a massive fraternity party near campus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was around 70 to 100 students and was hosted by a fraternity," said Ciara Moezidis, who is a senior at Santa Clara University.

Preston Worth is a junior at the school and saw photos from last week's party on social media.

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"There was a just a picture going around with probably close to 200 people in the backyard," said Worth.

In a statement, Santa Clara University called the recent fraternity party a "blatant disregard" for health directives.

"People tend to forget the severity of the situation. That's why a lot of students have tried to remind their peers that, 'Hey this is not a joke,'" said Moezidis.

The recent fraternity party near SCU came just days after the university canceled plans to bring students back to campus for housing and in-person classes.

RELATED: UC campuses plan to resume in-person classes for fall 2021 semester

One student told ABC7 News, with tuition above $50,000 dollars a year, there is frustration. Another student said some feel a false sense of security because free COVID-19 tests are offered to students.

"So people think, 'If I get tested and it comes out negative I'm fine, and I'm hoping everyone else is doing that so they're fine.' But you can't really look at it that way," said Worth.

ABC7 News spoke with students who said since pictures of the party surfaced, there has been a stronger sense of concern going forward.

Here is the full statement issued by Santa Clara University:

"Dear Students,

We write to you today to provide an update and clarify information regarding student behavior expectations during the pandemic. Over the past 11 months, we have reiterated the importance that all members of the SCU community follow State, Regional and County health directives. The University has partnered with student leaders, the Santa Clara Police Department, City of Santa Clara Code Enforcement, local and national Greek leadership, and property management companies and landlords for the purpose of changing student behaviors that are not consistent with health orders and University expectations.

While most students have done an excellent job abiding by the important health directives, it is disappointing that others have blatantly disregarded those directives, to the detriment of other community members. The Office of Student Life has received numerous complaints from the large gatherings this past weekend and are actively following up on each report.

To be clear -- the University expects all students to follow the health directives. Failure to do so has consequences.

Sanctions for Student Behavior
Students who are found to be responsible for hosting events on or off campus, participating in social gatherings in violation of the county order (Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited- this includes everyone present, including hosts and guests), or failing to abide by recommended isolation and quarantine recommendations are subject to a fine of $500 and suspension from the University. A student on suspension is not eligible to be enrolled at the University for a specified period of time.

To address egregious behaviors in a timely manner, students who violate the Conduct Code will be subject to an expedited conduct hearing process administered by the Office of Student Life.

A Communal Effort to Keep us Safe
What can you do to make a difference? Do not host or attend events off campus. Wear a mask, maintain social distance, only socialize with those in your immediate household. Challenge your peers to do better.

Students wishing to report observed misconduct can do so by using the General Student Misconduct Form or by sending an email to OSL@scu.edu. On the reporting form it is not required for the person submitting their report to provide their name or contact information. However, doing so is very helpful to the process. The more information provided, including contact information, the better positioned the University is to take action.

Students who have first-hand information about behaviors in the neighborhood (i.e. plans for a large gathering) should call SCPD directly to make a report. Alternatively, students can call CSS if they have questions about how to respond.

Given the emerging information about new COVID-19 variants and the overall potential risk of not following County health directives, our COVID-19 protocols are more important than ever to protect the health and safety of every member of the Santa Clara and local communities

We urge you all to do your part to stop the spread of the virus and protect our entire Santa Clara community.

Sincerely,
Jeanne Rosenberger
Vice Provost for Student Life

Lisa A. Kloppenberg
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs"


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