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Cutler Hall on Ohio University's campus in Athens, Ohio.

Dean of students warns student leaders, Greek life about COVID-19 complaints

Ohio University Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones sent a letter to students in Greek life and other student organizations about complaints the university has received about students not following COVID-19 guidelines.

Hall-Jones and Gillian Ice, special assistant to the president for public health operations, said in a letter to student organization leaders and members that “several complaints” were sent over the last week about groups of more than 10 students seen Uptown and outside of homes with no masks and no social distancing.

Some of the fear stems from the perception that students don’t care about the health of others, according to the letter. People are also scared Athens’ economy will suffer if more students are unable to return.

Another letter, which was also from Ice and Hall-Jones, was sent to students in Greek Life. That letter said there were specific complaints from community members and other students about large gatherings of more than 10 people outside sorority and fraternity houses and annex houses.

There were also reports of video productions on College Green without physical distancing or masks, which is a “direct violation of Public Health Orders,” according to the letter.

“No-one wants the actions of a few to disrupt the rights, academic progress and most certainly the health of others,” the letter read.

The letter references UNC Chapel Hill and the University of Notre Dame, which started the semester in-person and have now moved to online because of “clusters of activities linked to off-campus parties, residence halls and SFL houses.”

“If we have a spike in cases in relation to student activity on or off-campus, we will become a cautionary tale like the universities above,” the letter read.

The letter asks for student leaders’ help in following the city’s mask ordinance and university policies.

“We want you to know the challenges we are facing and the complaints that we are receiving so that you can make change now,” Hall-Jones and Ice wrote in the letter.


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