Northeastern Suspends 11 Students Without Tuition Refund For COVID-19 Violations

by Leah Groth
Northeastern University
DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

The student were dismissed as a result of a hotel party violating their coronavirus health protocols

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, many colleges and universities across the country have opted to bring students back to campus. However, the school year is looking a little different this year due to public health protocols such as the required use of masks, social distancing, and no party policies. Even with the new rules, campuses and college towns have become coronavirus hotspots, as the virus continues to spread. Many schools have already been forced to take disciplinary action against students violating the rules, the latest being Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., who recently announced the expulsion of 11 students this week.

“Northeastern has dismissed 11 first-year students after they were discovered together in a room at the Westin Hotel in Boston on Wednesday night, in violation of university and public health protocols that prohibit crowded gatherings,” the school stated in a press release issued on Friday, revealing that, per guidelines of the Program, tuition will not be refundable.

According to statement, the 11 students and their parents were notified on Friday, with the students being forced to vacate the hotel within 24 hours. However, before departure, they were required to undergo COVID-19 testing at the school “with the understanding that anyone who tests positive will be moved into wellness housing at the university until they have recovered, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

“The students have been informed that they are no longer part of the Northeastern community for the fall semester,” the statement continued, adding that the students do have the option of contesting their dismissal at an expedited hearing.

The school also clarified that the 11 students who were dismissed were all part of an international program for 818 first-year students. They all stayed in two-person rooms at the Westin, less than one mile from the Boston campus.

“Northeastern and its community of students, faculty, and staff take violations of health and safety protocols very seriously,” Madeleine Estabrook, senior vice chancellor for student affairs at Northeastern, explained in the release. “Cooperation and compliance with public health guidelines is absolutely essential. Those people who do not follow the guidelines — including wearing masks, avoiding parties and other gatherings, practicing healthy distancing, washing your hands, and getting tested — are putting everyone else at risk. Testing negative for COVID-19 is not enough. We must practice all of the public health guidelines in order to keep ourselves and the community healthy. Together, we can keep each other safe, but it will require everyone’s consistent cooperation.”

The school also added that students were very much aware of the rules and associated repercussions of breaking them, outlined the program handbook that all on-campus students receive at the start of the year.

“As outlined in the Guide to Residence Hall Living, during COVID-19, per Northeastern University and Massachusetts regulations and guidelines, there will be no guests, visitors, or additional occupants allowed in residential assigned bed spaces during this time; this includes neighbors within your residential building,” reads a passage from it.

Estabrook sent a letter to all students on Aug. 28, reminding them about the importance of following the rules.

“Students who host an unsafe (no masks and without healthy distancing) gathering, social or party, either on or off-campus can expect suspension,” she wrote. “Students who attend an unsafe gathering, social or party, either on or off-campus, can expect suspension.”

Many people sounded off about the university’s decision, deeming it too harsh of a punishment for the crime.

Outbreaks at educational institutes are becoming so common that the New York Times is tracking the number of cases linked to colleges via an infographic. Currently they have reported over 51,000 cases at 1,020-plus schools across the country.

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.