BOULDER, Colo. -- CU Boulder officials say they've identified a number of students who took part in the gatherings over the weekend, and school administrators are now threatening students with suspension if the conduct continues in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
While campus at CU looks a little different this fall semester with students in masks and outdoor study tents to create proper social distancing, it's what hasn’t changed that’s causing concern now.
“A lot of these students went to parties and large gatherings on the University Hill neighborhood,” CU senior Miles Levin said.
“We did a lot of work over the summer to prepare for this,” CU Dean of Students, JB Banks, added.
But the weekend drew a number of large gatherings, on and off campus.
“I’m just looking for some accountability honestly,” Levin said.
The senior is upset after seeing what happened in just the first weekend of school.
“We see that off-campus, things can contribute to spread on campus and vice versa,” Levin added.
“I’ve been spending a good amount of time over the Hill and visiting with residents there and just trying to come up with strategies,” Banks said.
Those strategies include prevention — which didn't exactly work last weekend — and also changing the Code of Conduct and the consequences of violating it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I asked them in a very polite way to change the behavior, then it gets increasingly progressive. Meaning (that) if we have repeat offenders, it can lead to suspension,” Banks said.
And the Boulder County Health Department doesn't like what it saw either.
“These gatherings will no doubt increase illness, hospitalizations and even death among Boulder County residents, so it's incredibly disappointing and it's really difficult to address,” Boulder Country Health’s Chana Goussetis told Denver7 Tuesday.
They're coming up with new ways to try to reach the students and provide other socialization options. But most students are looking for the rules to be followed so they don't see another spike.
“Right now I just think it is so important that we have a responsibility to protect our communities,” Levin said.
The Boulder County Health Department said it will take more steps if this happens. It’s confident the school is doing everything it can, but if it keeps happening, CU and the county will need to find new solutions.