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Dartmouth College Dean: Students Not Social Distancing Could Face 'Serious Disciplinary Action'

HANOVER, N.H. (CBS) -- A Dartmouth College dean sent a letter to undergraduate students Tuesday asking them to do a better job social distancing after receiving several complaints.

The letter mentioned social events at privately owned fraternity facilities, gatherings at the college and in town "in full view of vulnerable community members," and students who were going back into dorms and college buildings.

"Some of you have berated and yelled at College hourly employees who are simply trying to do their jobs," Dean Kathryn Lively said. "At the end of last week, a senior officer at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center reported to Hanover town leaders and to College officials that more than 200 of you are planning to return to Hanover this spring."

The complaints were from "from your fellow students, from parents, from faculty and staff, and from Town officials and community members."

One local physician and alumni wrote to the school to say he was "disgusted" and had "never been so disappointed in being associated with the see these kids not giving a crap about their fellow humans."

The school also said it was within the college's handbook that students must abide by local, state, and federal law, and not engage in behavior that threatens the safety of others.

Students who violate the handbook will be subject to strict disciplinary action, the school warned, including suspension.

"As individuals, you are accountable for your choices and their consequences. And, as members of student organizations, your behavior may have consequences for your organization. In the context of the pandemic and public health crisis, you should expect that both individual and organizational disciplinary consequences will be swift and severe as circumstances warrant," according to the letter.

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