September 8, 2020 12:00 PM
Office of Communications

Obies, we want you to stay on campus for the entire semester. Please work with us to make that possible, because having to ask you to leave campus for failure to adhere to the Community Agreement is a sad and disappointing outcome for all involved—students, families, friends, faculty, administrators. But out of our shared commitment to community health, we have asked students to leave, and will continue to do so. We cannot afford to be lax in this moment if we are to succeed in our shared goals.

As of today, we have asked 16 students to leave campus for violations of the Community Agreement. None of these violations were malicious; most involved coming together socially without masks. I understand the impulse—your friendships are precious and have undergone stresses that college students of recent generations have not experienced. However, when you come together in ways that risk the amplification of COVID-19 transmission on campus, your choices leave the college with none of its own. As President Ambar has said, our in-person community is very fragile. We cannot allow our early successes to be compromised by impulsive decisions that put everyone at risk. The students who violated the Community Agreement are valued members of our community who made mistakes. I look forward to welcoming them back to campus, but in the interests of our shared wellbeing, they cannot remain in residence this semester.

Something I want you to know is that a majority of these violations involved alcohol and other drugs. My urgent concern about these substances is that you must unmask to consume them— typically inside to avoid scrutiny, and thus in close proximity—and they impact your ability to make thoughtful choices about public health.

I hope these first days on campus have confirmed for you the value of coming together, even with the changes we have had to make to our behavior and to our facilities. Because you value this experience, I hope that you understand that the college must be firm in holding to our expectations about adherence to the Community Agreement. Students who do not abide and create conditions that may lead to COVID-19 transmission will be asked to leave campus and study remotely this semester. My hope is that I have no more conversations about such departures. I know you value the importance of the residential experience, of coming together in community to grow and learn and achieve and connect. Please make choices that allow our community to flourish even in these challenging times.

Meredith Raimondo
Vice President and Dean of Students