A top Syracuse University official laid into the more than 100 reportedly first-year students who were part of a 'large gathering' in an area called the Quad on the SU campus on Wednesday night.

Videos of that gathering show few students wearing masks and even fewer social distancing. It's unclear exactly why the group had gathered.

Regardless, they ''jeopardized the very thing that so many of you claim to want from Syracuse University—that is, a chance at a residential college experience,'' Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation, Michael Haynie wrote in a letter posted on the school's official website. Haynie repeatedly called the collective selfish and did not hold back in noting the risk taken by those students impacts more than just their own on-campus learning experience:

 

Make no mistake, there was not a single student who gathered on the Quad last night who did not know and understand that it was wrong to do so. Instead, those students knowingly ignored New York State public health law and the provisions of the Syracuse University Stay Safe Pledge. Even more selfish and unsettling is how the actions of those students willfully undercut the efforts of those who have worked tirelessly over the summer to set the conditions for the continuation of residential learning. Even more selfish and unsettling is how the actions of those students may prevent our seniors from claiming their final year of college on our residential campus. Even more selfish and unsettling is how the actions of those students could force a situation where some of their classmates may have to vacate the most safe and stable and supportive living situation they have ever known.

 

Haynie also wrote that students who can be identified in the now-viral videos and photos shot during the gathering will be ''immediately referred to the student conduct process,'' for violating the New York State public health law and the University's Stay Safe Pledge. SU's campus paper, the Daily Orange, reported the most severe punishment could include expulsion:

 

Students who violate the guidelines, regardless of whether they have signed the pledge, can be referred to SU’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for violations of the Code of Student Conduct. Penalties range from disciplinary probation to suspension and expulsion.

 

It is unclear what impact the gathering will have on the scheduled start of classes at SU, which is set for Monday.

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