President Eric Barron shares message with the community

August 20, 2020

On Wednesday night, we saw reports of crowds of students congregating in large numbers outside of East Halls on the University Park campus. Many were not wearing masks, or physical distancing, in violation of the University’s requirements and expectations for doing so, as well as the State College ordinance. We intervened, and the crowds dispersed. These measures are in place to help prevent and contain the possible spread of COVID-19. Last night’s behavior is unacceptable. I ask students flouting the University’s health and safety expectations a simple question: Do you want to be the person responsible for sending everyone home?

This behavior cannot and will not be tolerated. We have said from the beginning health and safety is our priority, and if the University needs to pivot to fully remote instruction we will. As a reminder, we are using our student conduct process to identify students who are not compliant with University requirements. It’s important all students understand that the consequences for violations include possible expulsion. We also announced this morning that a fraternity was put on interim suspension for a potential violation of COVID-19 rules regarding socials.

We have implemented a multi-layered testing, monitoring, and mitigating approach to allow for a return to on campus learning and work. But, it will take all of us to do our part. In addition to the launch of Mask Up or Pack up, the University will post additional flyers in residence halls with the question stated above. I don’t think any one individual wants to be the reason we all have to Pack Up.

Ultimately, this is not about sanctioning. It is about protecting individual and community health. And, I want to end on a positive note. I personally have been traversing the University Park campus, and downtown State College. I have been impressed by the numbers of students and families who are masking up, physically distancing, and modeling good community practices. But make no mistake, it only takes a few to ruin it for the many, as we have seen at other universities across the country. So let’s remember. This is our community. It’s our responsibility.

Last Updated August 20, 2020