In a campus-wide email sent Friday around noon, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns spoke on his concern over the rise of COVID-19 cases on campus.
The increase is not from academic activities or residence halls, Mearns said in the email, but from "poor personal choices some students are making, primarily off campus."
"The actions of these students are putting our planned on-campus instruction and activities at risk. Simply put, if these students do not change their behavior, I may be compelled to temporarily suspend all on-campus courses or convert to remote instruction almost all on-campus courses for the remainder of the Fall semester," he said.
The choices students will make this weekend will have an impact on whether or not Ball State can continue "to provide the on-campus experience that students have told us they value," Mearns said.
To continue to provide the on-campus experience , he said, everyone on campus must act responsibly by:
- When you are inside any building, wear a mask and practice physical distancing.
- When you are outside, wear a mask unless you can comfortably maintain at least six feet from another person.
- Avoid all large gatherings, including crowded restaurants.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not go to class and avoid close contact with other people. Use the symptom checker, and seek medical guidance.
- If you have been advised to isolate or quarantine, strictly follow the directions given to you by your health care provider.
"I have been encouraging compliance with our safety protocols. But since encouragement has not been enough, we are now enforcing it," Mearns said.
The Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities "prohibits conduct that causes or threatens harm to the health or safety of another person, both on and off campus," he said.
He added that the Division of Students Affairs and Office of Student Conduct have received complaints, and they are currently "taking appropriate disciplinary action against several students and three fraternities." Failure to comply with Ball State protocol include suspension and expulsion, according to the email.
"Again this weekend, our University Police Department (UPD) officers will respond to calls about large gatherings with close contact and no face masks. Our UPD officers will take appropriate enforcement actions if students are violating Indiana laws. If our UPD officers observe student behavior that violates our Student Code, the officers will refer the students to the Office of Student Conduct for investigation, adjudication, and sanctioning."