About 200 UMass Amherst students, most not wearing masks, attended a party this weekend despite policies at the university and in the town that ban it, a deeply disappointed school administrator said Monday.
Any student who hosted or attended the party will be suspended, and those living in dorms will be moved out temporarily because they pose a safety threat to others, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life Brandi Hephner LaBanc said in a note to students obtained by NBC affiliate WWLP.
"I regret this is where we have arrived, but the university must act to support the needs and wants of the greater student body and the larger community," LaBanc wrote.
UMass Amherst last month went through a coronavirus surge that prompted university administrators to suspend in-person classes and prohibit students from leaving their dorm rooms except for certain approved activities like getting food. The town of Amherst put its own restrictions in place as well to deal with the surge.
Nevertheless, about 200 students gathered on Saturday afternoon until Amherst police, called by local residents, dispersed them and gave the party's hosts citations, LaBanc said.
"It has become clear that a relatively small but highly visible subsection of the student population in the Amherst area feels entitled to break the agreed-upon policies and rules so they can party, with no regard for the health and safety of their peers," LaBanc wrote. "This selfish and disrespectful attitude contributes to the spread of the virus and puts all of us at risk."
As of early February, over 350 UMass Amherst students had been punished for coronavirus rules violations.