Students to be disciplined for Protect Purdue violations; university urges adherence to Pledge and testing protocols

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Disciplinary action is being taken against students found to be in violation of the Protect Purdue Pledge after several large gatherings during an abnormally active weekend. 

“COVID fatigue” and warming spring weather appeared to contribute to off-campus parties, which are being looked into by the Office of the Dean of Students as well as property management and county health officials. 

This weekend’s gatherings, which drew attention online and in local media, took place off campus. 

The most concerning occurred inside an apartment in a high rise building and had an estimated 125 people inside a single 750-square-foot unit, clearly violating Protect Purdue guidelines and county event regulations. While the investigation continues, at least 12 students are facing disciplinary action, which may range from being placed on probation to expulsion. Three of those 12 had previous disciplinary action for disregard of Pledge protocols and if responsibility is found, they could face expulsion.

Another party was outdoors at an apartment complex. Photos of the gathering show apparent Pledge violations, including lack of social distancing and masking, as well as a violation of the county’s event attendance regulations. Potential disciplinary action by ODOS is pending for this event and other weekend gatherings as violations or individuals are reported.

“Nobody is saying that people should not enjoy each other’s company, especially outdoors,” said Dr. Esteban Ramirez, chief medical officer, Protect Purdue Health Center. “Our understanding of how this virus spreads has evolved over the last year, and everyone needs to remember the three C’s to protect themselves and others: Avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact environments.”

Ramirez adds that while the majority are persistently observing Pledge behaviors, PPHC is seeing some individuals failing to comply with mandatory surveillance testing, including a handful of students who have missed multiple tests. Students who flout this responsibility will be warned, tested, expected to comply with any future testing and could face additional disciplinary action up to and including expulsion for future noncompliance. Fall semester saw six students suspended for pre-arrival testing violations; similar disciplinary action for failure to follow spring surveillance testing guidelines is possible.

“Getting tested takes a few minutes and goes a long way toward protecting the campus community,” Ramirez said. “Things are trending in the right direction both nationally and locally on positivity numbers, but we are not out of the woods yet. We must continue to follow the Pledge, protecting ourselves and others to put COVID behind us.”