COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — Ohio State has opened dozens of student conduct cases after reports of unsafe gatherings and parties.
The university is warning students new safety guidelines are serious expectations, and if they break rules they could face suspension.
The exact number of students in jeopardy of suspension has not been released, but the cases could involve more than one student, according to OSU spokesperson, Ben Johnson. He said some are the result of large parties and gatherings last night.
"You have a bunch of 18 to 22-year-old's together. It’s just going to be impossible for people to be wholly together and working together. I think with the regulations, at least hopefully some people will listen and think about others," OSU Sophomore, Emma Bowers said.
That’s what the university is asking for.
"I want them to think about all of the people around the university, including many, many students who have worked really hard to make this possible, who have removed furniture and rearranged the classrooms, installed hand sanitizing stations," Ben Johnson said. "I want them to think of those people and how hard they work so that they could be here.”
He said if students don't follow the rules, they could face suspension.
"If you host or attend a gathering that’s not healthy or not safe and has more than 10 people, that doesn’t have mask-wearing or people are not six-feet apart, we will find out about it," Johnson said. "We have seen pictures. We have first-hand experience of some off-campus parties, and that can’t happen. It’s a violation of the 'Together as Buckeyes' pledge that we all signed. It’s a violation of local and state ordinances prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people.”
"I've seen through my window, High Street's always full. It’s kind of disappointing because I think we should be really here to be working, but I understand a lot of people come here to party. Freshmen come in. They expect to have this college life that they can’t get this year," Gabriel Burges said.
Gatherings affiliated with student organizations could cause the organization to lose its funding and recognition by the university.
For students, the max penalty is suspension, for now.
Some students fearful of a much harsher, campus-wide consequence could come.
"It’s kind of likely that we will be eventually sent home especially if the gatherings keep happening,"sophomore, Hannah Puckett said.
"If you violate our health and safety requirements you could ruin it for everybody, we could all have to go home, we may not be able to have a successful semester.”
Johnson said when a report is made, a city or university officer, or member of Student Life will show up, let everyone there know they have been referred to Student Conduct, and disperse the gathering.
To make a report, email firstname.lastname@example.org.