MUNCIE, Ind. — A warning to Ball State students from your University President, follow strict COVID-19 protocols this coming weekend or your fall semester could be in jeopardy.
“I kind of figured that it was going to happen,” said Ball State Freshman Mitchell Smith, “We just do our best with what we are given. You can’t really control anyone else. I try to be responsible, but I know others don’t necessarily take it seriously.”
As of August 28, the university had 33 students test positive for the virus. In a letter to the school, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns blamed the spike on the actions students are taking away from campus.
“I write to you today because I am concerned about the increase in the number of students who have tested positive for the coronavirus. It is clear from a review of the data that I have been monitoring on a daily basis that the steady increase in positive cases is not linked to academic classrooms or spaces, or the residence halls.
Instead, this concerning trend is apparently the result of poor personal choices some students are making, primarily off campus. The actions of these students are putting our planned on-campus instruction and activities at risk. Simply put, if these students do not change their behavior, I may be compelled to temporarily suspend all on-campus courses or convert to remote instruction almost all on-campus courses for the remainder of the Fall semester.”
The letter went on to say that decisions by students this weekend may be a determining factor for the school staying open for on-campus learning and activity. Students we spoke with say they are disappointed in their peers.
“I would have thought people would have the common sense to be like don’t party at all,” explains Ball State freshman Zach Ragon, “I’ve spent my hard earned money to come here, and I don’t want to stay here for one week. It’s not like a hotel stay.”
“I am from out of state, like 4,500 miles away. I’m from O‘ahu, Hawaii. I can’t go home,” pleads another Ball State freshman Kris Kaneshiro, “I have to stay on campus, and I would prefer for people to be here too.”
University Police have been instructed to respond to calls for large gatherings without social distancing or mask wearing. Ball State says students caught having parties or large gatherings could face suspension or expulsion.