All Indiana State University active students received an email from University Communication on Thursday, August 23 containing a video featuring Andy Morgan, Interim VP for Student Affairs.

In this video, Dr. Andy Morgan expressed the concern surrounding students who have been and continue to attend large social gatherings and crowed bars.

“Last week, President Curtis spoke to you in a video like this to stress the importance for each of us – you and me—to take personal responsibility for our actions in responding to the global pandemic of COVID-19. As Dr. Curtis said, “Students attending crowed bars and parties will spread the virus and make it unmanageable for the university. Much worse, it will threaten the lives of others,” said Morgan.

It has come to the university’s attention that students have been attending off-campus gatherings that increase the chance of COVID-19 spreading from person to person.

“The University, after months of planning, has taken very careful steps to make the ISU on-campus college experience as safe as possible amid the pandemic. A lot of hard work has gone into our planning. However, like any plan, it requires the cooperation of everyone to make it successful,” said Morgan.

Those who are continuing to engage in high-risk activities off-campus could cause the spread of COVID-19 on-campus to quickly become out of hand.

“It takes only one or two individuals engaged in the wrong behaviors, such as holding or attending parties, to spark a quick and aggressive spread of the virus throughout the entire campus community. Such a spread endangers the lives of others and will force University leaders to make very difficult decisions on whether we can continue with on-campus learning,” said Morgan.

Following this video announcement given by Morgan, the University released the “Temporary Student Directives for the Prevention of COVID-19”. These guidelines state the consequences of students attending or student organizations involved in parties or large gatherings amongst other safety precautions being implemented by ISU.

“Students attending or student organization engaged in parties or large gatherings will be held accountable to the Code of Student Conduct. Sanctions may range from interim suspension or suspension for the remainder of the semester or longer. This is a zero tolerance policy,” said Morgan.

Students are being held accountable for the safety of themselves and others during this pandemic.

“I believe that we should punish organizations for hosting and attending large parties/gatherings if we want to slow this pandemic and continue going to classes. There comes a point in a national crisis like this that we have to take responsibility for our actions and know when enough is enough. At this point, hosting parties is irresponsible and should be punished because the health/lives of students and others are at risk,” said ISU sophomore Josie Angel.

Following a couple of the safety measures being taken by the University, ISU is collaborating with the Vigo County Health Department to provide contract tracing for those at ISU.

“Students are required to cooperate and provide information to contact tracers, and those who knowingly provide false information to the Sycamore Symptom Assessment or to contact tracers are subject to disciplinary measures in the Code of Student Conduct. Personal health information provided through the Sycamore Symptom Assessment or to contact tracers will be kept confidential,” said Morgan.