MU expels 2 and suspends 3 students for violating COVID guidelines

MU administration hopes this shows that the university is not taking their COVID response lightly.

MU officials reported Tuesday afternoon that two students had been expelled and three students were suspended due to their “willful and knowing actions that threatened the safety of the campus.”

Specifically, MU spokesman Christian Basi said that the students in question were gathered together off campus, violating MU COVID guidelines

“The actions these students took directly put others at risk,” Basi said. “Once we found out what they had done, that they had done it willingly and knowingly, we felt we had no other course of action to take than to expel them.”

Columbia police reported their actions to the MU police department (MUPD) after they received a nuisance complaint off campus. MUPD then reported that information to the university’s accountability office who then took action.

Basi couldn’t provide personal information on the students or tell whether or not they were COVID-19 carriers. However, he did note that their expulsions and suspensions are not in any way connected to the 11 student organizations under investigation right now.

The two expelled students have been completely severed from the university and the suspended students’ length of suspension is still being decided upon. All five students have the possibility to appeal.

“[Expulsion] is not a regular action that we take,” Basi said. “For us to take this action, it’s extremely serious.”

Basi hopes that the ensuing investigation into the 11 organizations and these expulsions and suspensions show the student body how seriously MU is taking the COVID pandemic.

“We told students at the beginning of the semester that we would be holding students accountable. We are holding students accountable,” Basi said.

Others, however, believe that the disciplinary action unfairly deflects blame from MU’s heavily-criticized COVID-19 response plan onto students.

MU reported at least 332 active cases among students on Tuesday. More than 1,347 students have tested positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 19.

Edited by Lucy Caile|

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