I just discovered via Ms Megan Turner, a student journalist at my university, that the president of the university, without any prior notice or meaningful discussion, recently adopted an emergency “student behavior expectations policy.” (Here is a link to the nine-page emergency policy.) Putting aside its Orwellian-sounding title, this new policy purports to apply to student conduct off campus. Among other things, and I quote, “students must avoid hosting or attending gatherings or events of more than 12 people, either on or off campus, that a reasonable person would conclude demonstrate a woeful or willful disregard for university policy or expectations as it pertains to COVID-19 precautions ….” For my part, this utterly misguided and poorly-worded policy creates more problems than it solves. Why 12, for example, instead of 50? What is reasonable? What about public protests or campaign rallies? What about sporting events, including college football games? What about faculty? Etc., etc. Furthermore, emergency or no emergency, this policy is not only of doubtful legality; it is also deeply un-American. (Also, the supreme irony of prohibiting student gatherings of 12 or more and at the same time allowing 11,000 spectators to attend college football games at our university stadium is not lost on me!)
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