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Northeastern boots 11 freshmen found congregating in a room at the Westin hotel

Northeastern University reports the 11 were found in a one room Wednesday night in violation of the school's Covid-19 regulations, which ban such fraternization.

The room was on one of the floors at the Westin Hotel in Copley Square that Northeastern had rented to try to space out students who wanted to be in Boston for college this year:

The students (and their parents) were notified Friday that they must vacate the Westin within 24 hours. Before departing, they were required to undergo COVID-19 testing at Northeastern, 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. They have the right to contest their dismissal at an expedited hearing.

The students were among the 818 freshmen who had originally signed up for study abroad but whom the university agreed to provide space for in Boston after the pandemic made studying abroad impossible.

As part of its Covid-19 preparations, Northeastern enacted regulations that including banning guests in dorm rooms - even including other people on the same floor.

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Comments

The University should get really tough on these students and make it clear that they stand an excellent chance of being expelled if they continue to violate the rules against large gatherings of people, especially in relatively small rooms, and for mask-wearing and social distancing.

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I mean the only purpose of bringing students back at all was to get their cash, but this is next level. What sucks for these kids is that they were supposed to be partying in Europe for the semester not locked up in some weird dorm/hotel/prison.

Go ahead. Read it.

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80

Maybe they should sit out the college thing until they grow up.

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38

honestly, i can't really be mad at these kids. we can't expect them to be capable of running the cost/risk/benefit analysis that's needed here. their brains and their ability to this kind of thinking is not fully developed.

which is why, in my opinion, there is no safe way to have undergrad programs in person until we have cheap & fast testing, complete contact tracing, & effective treatments.

College is part of growing up. These are kids, ~18 years old, maybe the first time away from home for an extended period. There's still a lot of growing up to happen.

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Contracts mean something.

Actions have consequences.

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21

Unnecessarily harsh.

And the Dean should put the Westin on Double Secret Probation.

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26

Tell me again, BostonDog, how there's not about to be a jump due to college students...

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16

Answer that question. And even if they do, they won't spread the virus further since they'll be in quarantine.

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My point isn't whether these 11 are passing around the virus.

My point is these 11 were given a tony hotel room and all they had to do was NOT CONGREGATE. And they couldn't do it. They knew they would get kicked off campus for the semester and they still couldn't do it!

The ones living in rentals in Mission Hill...you think they're doing any better? You think none of them will get COVID any time soon?

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Freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus at NU.

These students were freshmen, who are technically still not college students at this point. Are students who have experienced two years of college at NU significantly more mature than freshmen who haven't even attended a single lecture yet? I sure hope so.

By the time you reach Junior year of college you have grown up. You become significantly more mature but in these COVID times I think we have to ramp that up to Senior year. Group interactions with people from other living environments are part of the maturing process.

Did you miss the stories about the T employees who refused to wear masks? It's not as if college students are the only ones who are ignoring the COVID directives. And unlike the T employees, the students are facing real punishment.

I don't see why people think college students should be held to a much higher standard than the general public.

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And although I don't have the knowledge or authority to say that everyone in the Boston area is free to go about in public without masks, I bet most of us who have been wearing masks the past few months do not have Covid. We do know that the spread has been minimized at least and the amount of people getting sick has decreased as well.

These students from other parts of the country have been with family and friends all summer and we have no clue what the hell they have been doing in terms of mask wearing or social distancing. We do know that many parts of the country have been hard in recent weeks/months unlike MA. Now they are coming together here and having large group interactions that we know can cause spreads quickly (see this recent wedding in Maine for one example).

That being said if the testing has been accurate and precise for these students, maybe we wont see an uptick. That would be good news anyway.

The students should quarantine for 4 days and THEN get tested. An infection is likely not to be detectable within hours of exposure.

Expulsion without refund for the whole term feels a bit harsh for that.

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The state limit is 8 per 1,000 sq feet indoors.

The university has set limits on occupancy of dorm rooms (these hotel rooms are being used as dorm rooms) to the number of occupants living in the room (which is a max of 2 right now) so they were over significantly over the internal limit. The university has also enacted a policy that gatherings that do not allow for 6 foot distancing, as well as any gathering that is without masks, is prohibited.

I've certainly heard opinions on whether or not specific policies are reasonable or over the top, but the students agreed to the new rules as a condition of coming to campus this year. And the consequences were also laid out very plainly.

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COVID kills people.

Not harsh. Necessary.

Especially for those of us living next-door to all of these incoming students.

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They signed forms that said that they would not do certain things, like party in groups greater than x people.

Those forms also likely said something about the penalties for doing so including the penalty they received.

I would bet that their housing contracts noted something about alcohol use with underage persons, although that wasn't mentioned here.

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Northeastern is free within very broad limits to create and enforce its own rules of conduct.

The students have been informed that they are no longer part of the Northeastern community for the fall semester. They have the right to contest their dismissal at an expedited hearing.

They are tentatively suspended for the semester, but they can contest it?

Is the "expedited hearing" normal for a suspension for rest of semester?

What I'm wondering is whether NEU wants to send a message to students and the public that they are handling this, but without losing 11 tuitions and getting a few lawsuits from parents.

Discipline the kids, fine. The real problem is that public health plans which rely on college kids, particularly freshman and sophomores, making responsible decisions are doomed to fail.

Schools can’t/won’t give up/reduce their tuition so here we are. Northeastern should be fined 2x the cost of violators tuition whenever violations occur rather than profiting on putting the community in danger as they effectively are here.

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18, 19 and 20 year olds are legally adults, who are old enough to sign legal/binding contracts, to vote, to be drafted to serve in the military, to be tried in an adult court (as opposed to a juvenile court), and charged with whatever they've been arrested for, and to understand why these rules against having large, close gatherings in one room, with no mask wearing, and why the rules for mask-wearing and social distancing were put in place, and to obey these rules, or suffer the consequences of not doing so. These students had to be disciplined harshly, because they'd be putting others at risk (i. e. friends, family, etc) and themselves at risk.

I've never seen an entity exercise their right to refuse service to anyone as vigorously as Northeastern University.

So when does shelter get decoupled from college attendance the same way health services should be decoupled from employment?

They don't fool around. In the late 80s my neighbor's kid got a full ride to NE. Dorm, meals, the whole thing. What does the kid do? Goes crazy overboard in the party scene. What didn't he do? Go to class. Not once. The party was over about a month or so later. Nothing like wasting the opportunity of a lifetime.

He was in the top 1-2% of his class, coming to NU on a total full ride, a possible summa cum laude in five years, job almost guaranteed after graduation, not having to worry about a single student loan, and then he killed all that potential by hearty partying and not showing up to class?

Your friend probably ended up either (a) kicked out of NU or (b) allowed to stay at NU, but was put under academic probation. If (a), he would have had to enroll in another school, pay full tuition, get a job, and face the wrath of his parents. If (b), he would have had to attend classes every day and maintain a minimum GPA, and still face the wrath of his parents.

"If (a), he would have had to..." get a job (if he were my kid, and didn't somehow go to school).

Yes, nearly forgot about that...I've updated my post.

I went to NU. You had to be something special to get kicked out. In five years there I never knew of anyone being kicked out aside from those freshmen who couldn't handle taking Intro to Business and Macroeconomics at the same time.

Also, tuition was $11,500 per year so it was no surprise that many of my classmates hung out at Maxwell Jumps or The Beast instead of the library. Only the meatheads went to Punter's. And now being in the top 100 most expensive colleges in America at $53,506 per annum, not including room and board, one would expect a parent to be sure their adult child is really worth the investment before they send them off to a school that specializes mainly in co-operative education.

Well---things are way different nowadays, especially since the United States, as a whole, is right in the middle of an out-of-control Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to the idiot at the top in Washington who declared the Covid-19 virus pandemic a hoax and lied to the American people about how it was under control, when it really wasn't. The fact remains that Donald Trump knew about the Covid-19 virus pandemic in December 2019 and January of this year, when it was still relatively easy to contain and control, and he fired the anti-pandemic group that would've made that possible.

Northeastern University, imho, did the right thing by getting really tough on these 11 students who violated the rules for mask wearing and social distancing and against having large gatherings of people in one room and not wearing masks or social distancing. The 11 students who violated the rules, got kicked out of Northeastern University, and didn't get the parents' tuition refunded were not kids in pre-school, elementary school, middle school, or high school. They're college age adults who are old enough to vote, sign legal/binding contracts, be drafted to serve in our military, and to be tried and charged in an adult court when arrested, and if found guilty of what they were arrested for.

These 11 students were old enough to understand why the rules were put in place, and to realize the consequences of violating them: Putting friends, family, shop owners, and other people, as well as themselves at risk, as well as the hotel workers, and being kicked out of school for violating those rules. Those 11 students got exactly what was coming to them, and I have no sympathy for them whatsoever.

Northeastern policy at the time was to put a student on academic probation for either failing to maintan an adequate GPA (note that acceptable minimum GPAs for given majors were set by the individual schools), or for failing a required course.

My understanding is that the grace period for a student to get their GPA up to snuff and/or retake the required course after being put on AP was two quarters (exculding co-op quarters) before being booted out. So you didn't necessarily to be somebody specical to get kicked out of NU, you just had to be lazy or uncaring.

A couple of my high school classmates fell into that category - they were bounced out of NU before the end of their sophmore year.