UPDATE: This article was updated with responses from the Corvallis Police Department.
Oregon State University has 68 reports of students not complying with code of conduct rules regarding social distancing guidelines. These reports are currently under investigation and two groups have been issued a citation.
In August, OSU instituted policies prohibiting the indoor or outdoor gathering of more than 10 university students, and asked employees to honor the policy as well. Earlier in the summer, OSU also added policies regarding facemasks and social distancing guidelines. These policies are enforceable through the student code of conduct, and there is a website for the public to report violations.
Steve Clark, OSU Vice President for University Relations and Marketing, said that there have been some students who have not complied.
“As of Thursday, Oct. 8, we had received six complaints from Corvallis community members reporting large, loud
parties, where students/student organizations were not wearing a face covering and/or physical distancing,” said Clark. “In all, this fall term, we have 68 total reported cases of students violating OSU policies.”
According to Clark, OSU is investigating 42 students reported to have violated social gathering policies, as well as 26 reports of alleged noncompliance with face covering guidelines.
“As of Oct. 8, charges against 31 students are being investigated; two student groups have been cited and the remaining reports continue to be investigated,” Clark said. “Reports of all conduct matters are taken seriously. Those cases requiring sanction will be dealt with by the university.”
The two student groups, sororities Alpha Phi and Kappa Kappa Gamma, reportedly held events exceeding the ten-person group limit in early October. OSU began investigating immediately, and the cases are currently being processed by student accountability services.
The chapter president at Alpha Phi was reached out to but did not respond. The chapter President at Kappa Kappa Gamma declined to comment.
Clark said violations of policies regarding social distancing guidelines can lead to warnings, educational sanctions, suspension, and expulsion.
Lt. Ryan Eaton, Corvallis Police Department public information officer, said CPD has had almost exactly as many calls regarding noise complaints as this past year. This year, from Sept. 1 to Oct. 21 there were 129 calls about general noise disturbances. In 2019, during the same time period there were 105 calls of the same nature.
Eaton said that the numbers weren’t different enough to mark a change, but said for both years there were 20 special response services during the same time period. This means that there was a certain amount of criminal activity, and officers dispatched either issued a warning or charged involved people with a criminal offense.
Eaton said no disciplinary actions were taken with people violating social distancing guidelines, as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is looking for “voluntary compliance.”
Oregon State University conducts weekly COVID-19 prevalence testing of up to 1,000 students, faculty, and staff on all their campuses. They also have reserved a residence hall to isolate students who test positive or need to quarantine.
By: Hannah Ramsey