Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020
Subject: Weekend Party and Halloween
A message from Denine Rocco, Vice President and Dean of Students
As we approach Halloween weekend, COVID-19 cases continue to spike in areas surrounding us and in many other areas across the country. It was great news to read last week that positive COVID-19 cases at BSU remain much lower than average. This is no doubt due to the majority of our community members living, learning and/or working on or near campus who continue to be vigilant in ensuring public health and university safety policies, processes and procedures are being followed. That’s the good news.
Now for the less than good news. It was disheartening to learn a large party was held on Summer Street over the weekend. Reports described large numbers of individuals, most described as students, who were gathered , not wearing face coverings, and not physical distancing. Both the Town of Bridgewater Police Department and the Bridgewater State University Police Department broke up the party. The landlord of the property has already received correspondence from the Town of Bridgewater, and as of this writing, the university is actively investigating the incident, with at least a dozen students already receiving correspondence from our Office of Community Standards. I anticipate that number will increase.
While all of us are tired of this virus, the hospitalization numbers and death tolls across our state and across the country are stark reminders that the virus is not done with us. We have been doing very well as a campus community mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and now is not the time to let down our guard or adopt “I’m over it” attitudes or behaviors. I have already received correspondence from concerned students who are aware of and have even been invited to Halloween parties on streets near campus including Hale Street and Grove Street. These students are concerned that those living on campus and coming to campus for classes will have that ability ruined by the relatively small number of students who choose to ignore public health orders and university policies. I share their concern.
Please know the University remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of our community, and blatant disregard for public health orders and university policies will not be tolerated. We all have too much to lose. Therefore, we will continue to monitor activities on and off campus and take action per the Student Code of Conduct. Once again, I encourage you to review section III.B.32 Violating university requirements or public health orders in place to reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease. A review of the Student Code of Conduct in its entirety will provide information on how our Community Standards process is administered. As a reminder, the Student Code of Conduct applies to behaviors both on campus and off campus. If found responsible for violating a provision(s) of the Student Code of Conduct one’s status as resident (if applicable) and/or as an enrolled student may be put in jeopardy for a period of time or permanently. Students removed from university housing will not receive a refund and likewise, students suspended or dismissed from the university (regardless if living on-campus or off-campus) will not receive a refund.
Especially now, as Halloween approaches, I implore those of you contemplating participation in Halloween celebrations to think twice about the decisions you will make as consequences may affect not only your academic year, but the health and welfare of your friends, family and our entire BSU community. This virus can and has infected people who are doing the right thing, please don’t contribute to the ease with which it can spread by those who choose to let their guard down and risk jeopardizing our entire campus and local community.
If you do choose to celebrate Halloween this year, make a plan to do so safely within your own small spooky circle, and be thoughtful of our entire community when making your costume choice.