UConn, Syracuse University Students Admonished For Not Following Coronavirus Safety Protocols
STORRS, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- College classes haven't even started yet and already there are problems with students partying on campus in violation of coronavirus protocols.
Cellphone video captured a disturbing scene Wednesday night at Syracuse University, reportedly a large group of freshmen gathered in the quad. The university described it as "selfish and reckless behavior."
"The people who I know who went last night are, like, talking about it now, and they're like, oh my god, I regret it so much, like, why did I do that, this was so stupid," student Myra Wong told CBS2's Ali Bauman.
"I hope there are no consequences from this just because it was outside and people were wearing masks, but you know, I'm hoping that there's no, like, outbreak of COVID from this," one student said.
Twenty-three students have no been suspended for this and other social distancing violations.
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The university says hundreds of freshmen gathered on the Quad before 10 p.m. and dispersed when school safety officers showed up at 10:30 p.m.
Less than 24 hours later, the university sent a letter to students, writing the gathering "... may have done damage enough to shut down campus, including residence halls and in-person learning, before the academic semester even begins."
Two of those students, who asked to remain anonymous, said most people were at least wearing masks.
"A lot of students went to the Quad because they wanted to meet other people, and it was just, like, an open space where you could go," one student said.
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The violation of coronavirus rules is not limited to Syracuse.
As CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported Thursday, University of Connecticut students also made headlines this week for having a party -- with no masks -- in one of the dorms.
"We all want to have fun and we want to socialize, but to post it out on social media, it was like a little crazy," student Alexa Dileone said.
"The party was out of hand and like that shouldn't have happened obviously, so like I think the school handled that well," student Josh Mills added.
The school said the students involved in the party were "removed" from campus housing. It's unclear if they were sent home.
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Meanwhile, UConn just announced it's temporarily pausing its football program because six players tested positive for COVID-19.
UConn said the cluster does not stem from that dorm party, but instead from the athletes living in close proximity.
"They've tested thousands and have a positivity rate of less than 1%. I'm cautiously optimistic that we're going to be able to get our colleges open safely," Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said.
The positivity rate is also less than 1% statewide in Connecticut and New York.
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UConn, like several schools, has numerous protocols in place to try and keep everyone healthy as they welcome students back to campus.
Despite this, college consultant Christopher Rim, CEO of Command Education, said universities should expect parties.
"Socialization is part of the college experience. If colleges didn't want that or agree to limit that, I don't understand why college administrators would try to bring students back on campus," Rim said.
"The only way it's gonna work is if the students follow the protocols in place. And if that happens, I think we'll be fine," student Ben Pulsifer said.
Watch Andrea Grymes' report --
UConn said it's partnering with local officials to also support safety efforts off campus. That includes working with the governor's office to help the town of Mansfield ban gatherings of more than 25 people.
A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found children up to 22 years old are much more likely to be "silent spreaders" than previously believed.
COVID has now spread to college campuses in at least 17 states.
"No matter how responsible I am or my friends are, we can do nothing if other people are not responsible," Syracuse University student Maggie Peng said.
But even when students try to be responsible, it can backfire.
At NYU, students from out of state who are required to quarantine in their dorms for two weeks are exposing the shoddy, substandard meals provided by the school.
NYU is now apologizing to students and offering $100 e-cards so they can order in food.
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