FORT MYERS, Fla. (News Service of Florida) - A week after resuming in-person classes, Florida Gulf Coast University has suspended two fraternities for hosting large parties over the weekend that appear to have violated the school’s coronavirus-related guidelines.
“After what seemed to be a good start to the fall semester under modified conditions, some of our students reportedly have chosen to ignore their responsibility to the university community and our neighbors,” Florida Gulf Coast President Mike Martin said in a prepared statement Monday.
Martin said the fraternities were suspended after university officials received reports of large parties on Friday night.
Martin said the party organizers and participants put the university “at risk of having to close the campus and convert to fully online class delivery” if they are found responsible for violating guidelines involving social distancing, crowd sizes and face coverings.
“At this stage, we cannot determine whether closure will be needed for safety reasons,” Martin said. “Be assured, however, that there will be serious consequences for those who choose to exercise very poor, dangerous judgement.”
The university resumed in-person instruction on Aug. 17, after sending students home in March to halt the spread of the coronavirus on campus. Since Thursday, seven students have tested positive for COVID-19, a deadly respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. No employees were known to be infected with the virus as of Monday. In his statement, Martin stressed that everyone must join in efforts to combat the coronavirus to continue with “modified ‘normal’ campus programs” and activities.
“We remain committed, as a first priority, to the health, well-being and safety of our campus community and all others in the larger community,” he said. The statement did not name the fraternities.